There is sooo much information available now for weaning little ones – it can all feel pretty daunting and overwhelming…
Here are our 10 tips for stress free weaning – based on my experiences weaning 3 little ones and chatting to friends and experts over the years:
Try to stay relaxed and don’t put yourself under too much pressure.
Some days your little one will eat whatever you serve, some days they may eat very little. In the early days, babies continue to get most of the nutrients from milk so don’t worry if they refuse to eat much one day. As long as this doesn’t persist for too long, things are usually ok. It’s worth looking at eating patterns over a few days rather than analysing each day in turn. If your baby does stop eating for a number of days, please consult a doctor if you are worried. All babies are different – just as they learn to crawl, walk and talk at different times, so the way they move from a milk based diet to textured food can differ.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Not all meals need to be lovingly homemade. There are some great pouches and ready made purees available nowadays, which are nutritionally balanced and free from any nasties. When out and about, it is often much easier to have a ready made pouch to hand. Being a new mum is hard and often exhausting – sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to prepare food from scratch – that’s ok and you shouldn’t feel guilty about this.
Serve a variety of tastes and textures
This can really help prevent fussy eating. Whilst your little one may grimace at a new taste or texture, it is often just a case of them getting used to the new flavour or sensation in their mouth – rather than an outright rejection of the new food. Persevering with new foods is well worth it – research shows little ones may need to try a food up to 15 times before developing a taste for it.
Protect the area around the high chair and your / their clothes – weaning can be hugely messy
Our whole business was inspired by the mess my little ones made at mealtimes. A good coverall bib for your little one as well as a mat to protect the floor can make weaning and all the mealtime mess feel less stressful. Our splash mats are great for protecting your floor – but equally an old sheet, newspaper or piece of plastic could help with all the mess.
Make sure your little one is comfortable for mealtimes
They are more likely to be relaxed, happy to try new foods and enjoy their mealtimes if they are feeling comfortable and safe in their highchair. Our soft and comfy high chair cushions can help little ones feel more comfortable and well supported in the early days.
Introduce new foods one at a time
This is strongly recommended, particularly in the first few weeks of weaning. It helps your little one get used to the new texture or flavour and also allows you to see any bad reactions to new foods, so these can be addressed quickly and easily. Mixing foods can be introduced afterwards – ideally once your baby has tried each food separately.
Have some tips and tricks for times when you need a quick mealtime
There will be occasions, when you don’t have much time and need a quick mealtime – giving little ones a wipe clean book or toy or feeding in front of the TV can help distract them so you can feed them quickly. This only really works with spoon feeding, and we wouldn’t recommend you feed your little one in front of the TV on a regular basis!
Try to eat as a family at least some of the time
Little ones learn a lot from watching other people eat. Involving them in your mealtimes can help them develop a healthy approach to eating and show them that mealtimes can be a fun and pleasurable family time. As they get older, they can try pieces of your food – helping them develop a broad and varied diet.
If you are not eating as a family, please stay with your child at all times so you are close to hand in case of any gagging or choking.
Always have some quick and easy meal options or snacks to hand
Little ones can get hungry very suddenly and not having something healthy to hand to ease their hunger can lead to tears and tantrums. Having some healthy snacks close to hand – particularly when out and about can help avoid mealtime meltdowns.
Make extra for baby
Once Stage 1 weaning is over, babies can eat many of the foods eaten by adults – assuming there is no added salt and sugar. Making a bit extra when you are cooking and saving some for your little one can be a quick and easy way to get them eating new and different foods, without you needing to slave over the stove for even longer.
If you have any weaning questions or comments about the post, please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
Wishing you a happy, relaxed and fun weaning journey with your little ones