So last week we started introducing Leo to solids and I thought it might be useful to share some of the things that have helped us so far. There seems to be two types of weaning approaches, pureeing everything and baby led weaning. After reading about both approaches for some time now, I decided to start with a combined approach which I think is what most parents do. I really love the ethos of baby led weaning and the thought that eventually Leo will more or less eat the same meal as me sounds really appealing. Baby led weaning is also good for babies as it improves their physical coordination, they learn about the shapes and textures of different foods through messy play (most of the food ends up on the floor to start with!) and it’s supposed to ensure your little one is less fussy and manages their own appetite rather than lunchtime battles trying to get them to eat their greens by bribing them to ‘take one more mouthful if they want to get a biscuit’ type approach.
The two books I read and would recommend are:
Our Health Visitor also recommended books by Annabel Karmel.
Before we started giving Leo food we let him sit in his high chair whilst we had dinner and would give him toys to play with. We wanted him to get used to meal times and to associate them with fun and play. This worked really well and soon enough he was starting to watch what mummy and daddy were eating and when he made a swipe for my raspberries and ice cream I knew it was time to get started on solids! (We just waited for the all clear from the Dietician that Leo was referred to as he’s likely to have a few allergies just like his Mummy and Daddy). I also started to collect all the bits and bobs needed for weaning about a month before we started and would recommend the following bits of kit:
High chair (we got the basic one from Ikea with the cushion. It took a bit of practice to get used to (the tray is really stiff so we don’t use it))
Plastic spoons (lots of them because they end up on the floor!)
Small bowls for puree - these were ideal
Steriliser to make sure everything is hygienic (we got a basic Tommee Tippee microwave steriliser from Argos)
Small tubs and freezer bags for left over puree (you could use ice cube trays, but I found these in Boots and they’ve been really useful for freezing leftovers)
Lots of bibs, the plastic scoop ones are best to catch all the bits of food
A lunch bag and freezer blocks in case you want to feed your little one when out and about. I bought this space themed bag from M&S for Leo.
Puree pouches for days when you don’t have time, if you’re out for the day or going travelling. I really like Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes because they are pouches of just 1 food, they’re 100% organic and they don’t include hidden ingredients like lemon juice.
On the advice of our dietician we started Leo on pureed root vegetables. I’m not sure why you start with root vegetables but I guess they’re easy to digest and I read that it’s important to start your baby with savoury flavours so they don’t develop a sweet tooth. We’ve also offered finger foods alongside the puree and little bits of fruit. With the pureed veg we would put some on a spoon and let Leo try to feed himself. He loves sucking the puree off the spoon and even though most of it ends up all round his mouth, on his clothes and the floor, I still think it’s important to let him do it himself. So far, Leo loves to eat:
Sprouts! (playing nappy roulette with that one!)
Chunks of cucumber (really soothing for his gums)
Slices of apple with Daddy
We haven’t had much success with pureed peas (not sure why?), aubergine seemed to give him a rash around his mouth and bananas have been surprisingly difficult as if you cut them they go slimy, they don’t puree well and they’re just a bit too soft for Leo to grip.
So far we’ve loved watching Leo eat (despite our worries around allergies and choking) and can’t wait to develop his repertoire of favourites. I hope you found this useful if you’re about to start weaning and if you have any top tips on weaning, particularly introductory baby led weaning foods I’d love to hear from you in the comments.