Introducing solids is an exciting time for you and your little one. Ensure the milestone is a success with these handy essentials, top tips and inspiring recipes.
This month marks the National Weaning Week (May 7-13) #weaningweek2018. The goals of Weaning Week is to give families a supportive network with help, advice and recipes to make weaning as easy as possible.
As a new parent, or even one who’s been around the block a few times, you’re constantly bombarded with information. Milestones, checks, opinions and information (whether you asked for it or not), and advice on most subjects available with just a click of a button. As the rules for weaning have changed over the years, you can find lots of conflicting advice online and even if you ask experienced mums you are likely to get a variety of answers. Scroll down to find the top tips on weaning from infant nutrition specialist and co-founder of Piccolo, Alice Fotheringham.
No More Mess
We all like to keep babies clean when they eat (we do enough laundry), so managing to wear the same clothes through a mealtime is a win. The award-winning Bibetta neoprene Sleeved UltraBibs™ have a springy, pelican-style pocket that folds out, making them ideal for baby led weaning as babies can easily retrieve their valuable dropped food. Children love these stretchy, flexible bibs as they are so comfortable to wear.
They have soft, high quality, waterproof sleeves and a neoprene body for excellent comfort and all-over protection. From £6.99 bibetta.com
Food On The Go
Having food ready to go when needed at home or on the go is important. DoddleBags are the reusable food pouch that allow you to store fresh homemade food in easily measured packs. Suitable for the freezer, the microwave and the dishwasher these packs are convenient and help save the planet. Most single use food pouches cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. DoddleBags can be used again and again and are made from recyclable materials. The weaning spoon attachment means you can feed anywhere with less mess and lots of smiles from both mum and baby. From £7.99 doddlebags.com
Twistshake stormed onto the scene with their fabulous anti-colic baby bottles and have now expanded into all things baby for weaning and eating. We especially love the new Twistshake plates in fun colours. The clever anti-slip bottom ensures this plate stays on the table! The smart lid, included with all plates, conveniently transforms the plate into a lunch box for days out. Fab weaning spoons and first cutlery sets too. From £10.99 hippychick.com
Easy To Hold
CogniKids, developed by a leading neurological development therapist and mum of two, uses the latest technology, clever designs and a fun-loving attitude to create baby products that encourage babies to develop through movement and activity. The collection includes easy-to-hold super grips for bottles and sippy cups as well as weaning spoons that make is easy for babies to hold and develop confidence in self-led weaning. Prices from €9.99 cognikids.com
Meals On The Move
The Lobster from Phil and Teds is a great portable chair, which can attach to any table. Seriously compact and easy to transport. £70 peppermint.co.uk
The Sippy Cup’s valve is designed to be easy for liquid to flow when your little one is drinking, but is sealed tight when the cup is tipped, making it leakproof when it needs to be. The soft spout helps for a smooth transitioning from bottle to beaker. £10.50 johnlewis.com
The Bowl That Stays Put
These all-natural bamboo bowls look fab and stay put with their clever suction bases. All bowls come with a spoon to match. £14.99 bamboobamboo.co
These soft spoons are kind to your little one's gums. Love the bright colours. Munchkin £3 for pack of 6 kidly.co.uk
The Bumbo Multi Seat is a 3 in 1 seat that supports your baby as they grow into a toddler. It can be used as a floor seat, feeding seat or a booster seat. Great for babies who aren't ready to sit in a highchair quite yet. £39.99 buggybaby.co.uk
Let your baby explore new flavours with this fantastic self-feeder. Small perforations allow tiny amounts of food to be dispensed as your baby chews on the silicone. Suitable from 6 months £11 oxouk.com
Ready, Steady, Cook
This fantastic five-in-one family cooker will keep the whole household satisfied. Both the blender and steamer can be used in-tandem or detached for use individually, plus the two cooking baskets allow you to prepare a variety of foods separately. Puree food for baby, cook a family feast and make yourself a pick-me-up smoothie all with the same system. The generous sized capacity means you can fill up the freezer with home-cooked meals in one go. Nutribaby Plus £139 naturalbabyshower.co.uk
If you're looking for something which doesn't take up too much space this is a great option. With the Beaba Babycook you can steam and blend in one to make food preparation easier. £84.99 pramcentre.co.uk
Take the hassle out of attempting to invent your own baby-friendly meals and get inspired with recipes from this fantastic book from Annabel Karmel. A firm favourite with the a&u team. This is her 25th anniversary edition and is packed full recipes for each weaning stage. You’ll find 200 recipes that will keep you busy and your baby interested. £14.99 annabelkarmel.com
To Your Door
This fantastic company delivers fresh ingredients for every stage of weaning right to your door. Cooking homemade food for your little one couldn't be simpler with these boxes of fresh produce. The boxes take the stress out of meal planning and ensure your child explores lots of interesting flavours. Suitable for the most reluctant cooks. Boxes for Stage 1 up to Stage 4 available. little-eats.com
High chairs allows your little one to eat at the table like their siblings and start learning about food culture. We're huge fans of the Tripp Trapp chair from Stokke which cleverly adapts with your child as they grow. This is a timeless chair they will have for their whole childhood. We recommend buying their Mini Cushion (pictured here) to keep your baby as comfortable as possible during meal times. The Tripp Trapp is available in a range of lovely different colourways to suit your kitchen. From £174 stokke.com
Tips from Alice Fotheringham, infant nutrition specialist and co-founder of Piccolo.
- At 6 months, your baby is still getting the majority of their nutrients from their breast or formula milk, so it is less important to worry about quantity and more about giving your baby a wide variety of foods and textures.
- Guidelines recommend introducing solids around 6 months, when a baby’s digestive system should have developed fully and can cope with solid foods.
- Signs of being ready include being able to sit up and hold their head steady, and being able to swallow their food.
- What you start introducing isn’t a fixed set of rules: try a range of vegetables, fruit or baby rice
- Try starting at lunch time after they have had their milk and are not starving.
- Be responsive to your baby’s hunger: sometimes your baby will be hungrier than other times, don’t worry if they sometimes not interested in solids.
- Never force your baby to eat, they are very good at recognising when they are hungry or not. Try feeding them another time if they show no interest.
- Try not to worry about the mess and let your baby enjoy touching and holding food; it is wonderful developmental play.
- Never leave your baby alone when they are eating in case they start to choke.
- Don't add salt, sugar or stock cubes to your baby's food or cooking water.
- Patience! Easier said than done, but don’t be put off when a food is rejected, it could be for a number of reasons. It can take up to 12 times for a new food to be accepted. Just take it away and try again another time.
- Their milk (breast or formula) is still giving them the majority of nutrients at this stage; food is really about introducing a range of tastes and textures. A spoonful of milk is far more nutrients dense than say a spoonful of carrot. When someone says ‘top them up’ with food to help them sleep, sorry to say, this has been shown to make no difference whatsoever.
- Don’t worry if one day they don’t seem interested in food. Look at what they have eaten over the whole week. Some day’s babies are hungrier than others. Be guided by your baby’s appetite and remember that milk is giving them a lot of what they need, so don’t worry if some days they are not interested in food.