It seems like such a long time ago that we started weaning Eliza. With the older two children we went down the more traditional weaning route, using a mixture of baby food and home made purees, and spoon feeding them until they could hold a spoon themselves. We didn’t use a lot of finger food until they were about a year old.
When we weaned Max and Eliza,baby led weaning was a lot more popular, and this was something I read up about before weaning commenced. I loved the idea behind it – being led by your baby’s individual appetite and tastes, and allowing them to explore food – touching and smelling as well as eating. This is the approach we took with Eliza, offering her family foods right from the beginning, and allowing her to choose what she wanted to try from a wide selection. It really seemed to work for us, and Eliza is a really adventurous eater, trying everything we put in front of her – last night she enjoyed a pretty spicy curry!
So what have we learnt from the weaning process?
- Don’t be tempted to start too soon. As both a parent and a healthcare professional, I cannot stress this enough. Early weaning is not only unnecessary, it can also be dangerous. There is a higher risk of choking and obesity, and research has shown that weaning too soon can be linked to digestive problems and intolerances as an adult. For more information on this, Google The Virgin Gut. There is so much research out there, and it makes for really interesting reading.
- Don’t stress! Your baby will wean themselves off of milk when they are ready. Remember that milk is still the main source of nutrition until 12 months of age – food is fun before one. The 6-12 month age range is just for exploring – trying some new tastes and textures and introducing the idea of meals.
- Share family mealtimes. I know this isn’t always possible, with working parents and shift patters to contend with. But when you can, sit down and eat as a family. Not only is it a great chance for social interaction, but babies learn from watching you. If they see you enjoying food and tying new things they are likely to do the same.
- Do things your own way. Every baby is different, so don’t be tempted to compare with others.
- Stock up on some pre-made baby food for days out. The new jars from HiPP Organic have a wider opening to make feeding easier, and the new HiPP Organic savoury jars have no hidden fruit, making them perfect for every stage of weaning. It is recommended that babies should be introduced to soft lumps from seven months as this helps encourage healthy feeding patterns later in life, and HiPP Organic jars are great for encouraging different textures and giving little ones the best start in promoting good oral motor function. For more information on the new recipes and products from HiPP Organic, as well as weaning advice, head to the HiPP UK website.
Where are you on your weaning journey? I would love to hear how you have approached it, and what has (and hasn’t) worked for you!
*This post is written in collaboration with HiPP Organic*