Weaning! When Ev turned the magic six months, I was so excited to start his weaning journey. I LOVE food (can’t you tell!) and I wanted him to love it too. But actually, weaning can feel like a bit of a minefield. There are books upon books all claiming to include the best recipes for babies, there are shelves full of baby food, and there are gadgets galore.
With both Ev and Harmie I’ve struggled to match my weaning reality with the perfection I’ve seen in books or online. So here are my top 5 tips to help you navigate this milestone:
- Mix and Match: it’s ok to mix and match! By which I mean; you don’t have to pigeon hole yourself into one ‘approach’. Harmie loves picking up finger food, prodding it around and exploring different textures. I love knowing that she’s eaten more than one mouthful of melon that’s been gummed around and spat out. So we compromise. At lunchtimes we take a baby led weaning approach, so she can explore and poke around to her heart’s content. At dinner time, it’s spoon feeding all the way so that I know exactly how much she’s eaten. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your baby.
- I’m no Annabel, you don’t need to be either: she’s fabulous, right? But you don’t need to be Annabel Karmel to be a good mother. Your baby isn’t silently judging you for not preparing every recipe from the latest baby cookbook. Nor for not having whatever gadget is currently on the market for the smoothest purée. A blender does the job well enough for me, with a bit of sieving if needs be. I’ve tried baby specific recipes for both Ev and Harmie but I’ve also just blitzed whatever we’ve had for dinner, tweaking recipes as needs be.
- Mess: prepare for mess! However you approach weaning, you’ll be lucky to escape without experiencing the joy of a soggy biscotti smeared onto a clean outfit, or copious amounts of food launched onto the floor. Preparation is key. I love these messy mats from JoJo which can be placed beneath a high chair which help save your floor and are machine washable! We also have a long sleeve bib for Harmie to reduce the chance of an outfit change being required after every meal, and a plastic bib to catch dropped food. She loves having a poke around for her leftovers that have collected there!
- Keep a few tricks up your sleeve: Use little tricks to help make your life easier. Freezing portions of blitzed food in ice cube trays makes for a really handy dinner. For lunch, I often don’t have time to fuss over food with Harmie and Ev to keep happy too. Babyled Food spreads are super ideal to have in the cupboard for a speedy lunch. Their inspired flavours are tasty (I always try anything that I feed to Ev or Harmie) and they don’t contain any added salt or nasties. Harmie loved the Ricotta & Bean on toast, and we made pizzas by spreading the Avocado, Red Pepper & Tomato on wholemeal thins, sprinkled with cheese and finely chopped veg. Ev loved the pizzas too so these were a perfect lunch for us all to share together!
- Last but not least: remember that every baby will develop at their own pace. They won’t like everything that you offer them, and their preferences will change over time. Ev hated egg the first time I offered it to him. He refused to eat it for months. Then one day he was in a good mood and tried it again. Now, he thinks he’s having a breakfast treat when I make him a boiled egg!
Enjoy this new adventure with your little one as you muddle through it together! For more tips, recipes and safety advice head over to the NHS website which has tons of weaning advice.
We were kindly gifted Babyled Food spreads for Harmie to try. However, all opinions expressed are my own. I’ll only endorse a product that I’ll spend my pennies on too!