Feeding time is so calm and lovely…said no mum ever! Well, sometimes it can be fun, but most of the time, there are some pretty big hurdles. The first time we gave Lily ‘proper’ food, I didn’t anticipate just how much mess a baby could make. I found bits up her nose, down her top, everywhere!
The recommended age to start weaning is at around 6 months, though you can from 4 months (17 weeks) if you want to, it’s etirely up to you. I started weaning Lily at around 17 weeks as I felt it would improve her weight. I went to Boots and bought one of the small baby food jars and gave her the first taste of it that night. Safe to say she learnt how to spit that night.
Weaning is a long process when you have a child. It takes a lot of time and energy to really get through it. A lot of mums I have spoken to have said that the whole experience really does depend on the child as they are developing their own tastes. I know one friend had such a hard time with her eldest who refused to eat a lot of things, then her second child would eat practically anything!
Here are a few tips that I have found useful when weaning:
Pick the right high chair for your child
Most people don’t realise how important this is. It’s all very well buying one as it matches you kitchen or current decor, but it needs to suit your child. As I started weaning Lily quite early, I purchased the Joie Mimzy Snacker high chair as it has a really good recline feature so that she wasn’t sat upright for a long period of time. It also has removable covers and tray so it can be cleaned thoroughly as she is a child that can be messy if she wants too. It also has a flash fold system so that it can be taken with you if going away for the weekend. I also liked the price (£54.99 at Mothercare) as I have a tight budget and didn’t really want to spend more than £60.
At first, your baby will only need around half the small jar of baby food as it’s more about discovering the new texture and learning to coordinate their mouth movements more. With Lily, I found giving her half her milk first, then giving her some of the baby food really helped compared to just going straight in with the food. I would then giver her the rest of her bottle. If your baby moves away from the spoon and doesn’t want it, then don’t force it. With older children, leaving the plate/ bowl in front of them does sometimes work and they will pick at it.
Age boundaries are there for a reason
If you decide to buy your baby food, then pay attention to the age range on the jars/ packets. This guideline is usually there as there are some foods that doctors suggest your child shouldn’t have until they reach a certain age. For example, food with fish in, is usually for babies above the age of 7 months. This in case of any allergic reaction. If you decide to make your own baby food, I found typing in the age of your child into google would bring up a lot of different recipes which are really easy to make. You can also buy some really good cookbooks designed for cooking for babies. I would highly recommend any of the books written by Annabel Karmel.
I have a cream carpet in my dining room and I became so paranoid about Lily chucking food everywhere once she reached the stage of wanting to feed herself. So walking around town one day, I saw in pound land (good old pound land again!) that they sold shower curtains. I bought a few packs of these and I now lay these underneath her high chair so that if she now spills any food, it’s a lot easier to wipe up instead of scrubbing the carpet. This works well for messy play too.
Eat with your child.
Once they get to the stage of being able to feed themselves, either with their fingers or cutlery, try to eat your meals at the same time. It really helps you child to see how to use cutlery as they can observe you and copy you. It also helps if you eat the same meal as them so they can see it’s safe for them to eat and may also encourage them a bit more. Stick with good old family recipes to start with like pasta bake as this can keep for a couple of days and can be used again by you all.
Hope this is of some help. As i said, each child really is different in this case so you will also find your own little tricks for getting through it!
Until next time…