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Weaning: Beyond first tastes

Food Milestones In Children
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Beyond First Tastes

Weaning can be a stressful time for parents, are you feeding your baby enough, are you feeding them too much?  What sort of foods should they eat?  Smooth purées or lumpy mashed up concoctions?  It’s a bit of a minefield and it doesn’t matter what book you read or which website you refer to, you will always find conflicting info and will often come away more confused.  I should know, I have gone through the weaning process twice and the second time was no easier!

As you will have heard time and time again, every baby is different.  What your first child loved may not be a hit with the newest addition to the family and just because your neighbour 3 doors down has successfully got her baby eating peas off a fork at 9 months, doesn’t mean yours will or should.  Trust your own judgement, you know your baby best, but a little helpful info and the odd recipe from various sources can be a godsend.

Is your baby ready?

Firstly, is your baby ready for weaning?  Tell tale signs include not being satisfied by their milk feeds, waking up in the night for a bottle when they previously slept through the night and showing an interest in your food.  As a rule of thumb most health professionals will advise you not to wean your baby before 6 months as they don’t need anything but their milk until then and their teeny tummy will be to immature to digest the food properly.  My advice?  Talk to your Health Visitor but ultimately go with what you think, it is your baby and you really do know him or her better than anyone.  You can try baby on a little baby rice and if he/she has tummy ache you can stop and try again in a few weeks, no harm done.

Weaning baby

Starting out

To start with weaning can be a little boring, it’s lovely to watch baby’s face when he or she tries something for the first time but a week or so of baby rice and you’ll soon be Googling the best baby purées and reaching for your Annabel Karmel recipe books.

I have lots of recipes, in fact, I have hundreds of recipes.  I collect them from websites and magazines and I have a huge collection of cook books so I have tried and tested a fair few things on my 6 year old and my 6 month old and I’m going to share a few of these recipes with you.

Purees

First things first, after baby has gotten used to the baby rice you might want to experiment a bit with purées.  Your baby will love the sweet vegetable and fruit purées but you might find it a little harder to get the green veggies down them.  The trick is to make recipes a little more interesting for them whilst still being nutritious so don’t reach for the ketchup and whatever you do never give your baby salt.  Certain ingredients really compliment each other and as you get to know what your baby likes, you can try various combinations but I have a few tasty and healthy recipes to get you started.

I can’t claim to have thought up all of these, though some of them are my own handy work.  All of these recipes can be puréed or mashed for a lumpier consistency depending on what stage your baby is at, there’s really no point giving your baby smooth purées when they’re ready to chew and you should encourage your baby to eat proper solid foods so don’t be afraid to try different textures.

Apricot, Apple and Pear (2 portions)

50g finely chopped dried apricots

weaning: Beyond first tastes

3 small pears (peeled, cored and chopped)

1 red apple (peeled, cored and chopped)

Pop All of your ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a gentle heat for around 4 minutes, or until fruit has softened.  This is very sweet tasting dish, nice and juicy for baby and with the added benefit of fibre from the dried apricot.

Mango and Yoghurt (1 servings)

1 mango (peeled and stoned)

2 tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt

Blend your mango and yoghurt together for a sweet and creamy yoghurt desert minus all the flavourings of an actual fruit yoghurt.  You can use as much or as little yoghurt as you like, this is just a guide and gives you an idea of portion size but you might like to dilute the fruit taste by adding more yoghurt. You can substitute the mango with just about any fruit, blueberries, banana and papaya work well. Whatever you do make sure you don’t use low fat yoghurt, your baby doesn’t need to eat foods low in fat and these often have unnatural sweeteners in to add flavour so steer clear.

Carrot and Pea Purée (2 portions)

200g carrots (peeled and sliced)

40g frozen peas

Add carrots to boiling water and cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the frozen peas and cook for another 5 minutes then mash or purée.  Both carrots and peas are naturally sweet so are usually a hit with babies, especially those who are not so keen on savoury tastes.  A teeny tiny knob of butter can give this dish a slightly creamier finish.  I believe this creation is courtesy of the lovely Annabel Karmel, I have never known a child refuse this and even I eat it and I can’t stand peas! 

Cauliflower Cheese (2/3 portions)

175g cauliflower

15g of butter

1 tablespoon plain flour

150mls whole milk

50g grated cheese (cheddar or edam)

Chop your cauli into small florets then boil or steam until tender.  Steaming prevents the loss of nutrients so is preferable if you can, there’s really nothing wrong in boiling veg as long as you don’t overdo it.  Melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in flour until you get a smooth paste, you can then whisk in the milk and stir until the sauce thickens.  Take the sauce of the cooker top stir in the cheese until it melts into the sauce and you have a lovely creamy cheese sauce.  Drain the cauliflower and pour over the sauce, you can purée this dish or mash up to the desired consistency.

Chicken in Tomato Sauce (2/3 portions)

25g chopped onion

100g carrot (peeled and sliced)

1 small chicken breast (chopped into small chunks)

200g chopped tomatoes or passata

150mls chicken stock (you can buy baby-friendly stock cubes by Heinz in most supermarkets)

Sauté the chicken, carrot and onion in a tiny bit of vegetable oil until the chicken is cooked through.  Pour over the chopped tomatoes/passata and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  You can blend this recipe, or for babies 6 months+ a mouli creates a nice smooth-ish texture and for babies 9 months+ finely chopping the finished recipe should be fine.

Cheesy Vegetables (2 portions)

125g carrots (peeled and sliced)weaning: Beyond first tastes

100g cauliflower (cut into florets)

25g butter

200g ripe tomatoes (skinned, de-seeded and chopped)

50g grated chedder cheese

Put the carrots in boiling water then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. You can then add the cauliflower and cover and cook for another 7 minutes, you might need to add a little extra water at this point.  Whilst the veg is cooking melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the tomatoes until soft, then stir in the cheese.  You can then purée all of the ingredients or mash up to the desired consistency and serve.  Delicious!

Tuna and Avocado Paste (1 portion)

½ an avocado

½ a tin of tuna

Blend or mash up a ripe avocado with half a tin of tuna for a delicious paste to put in sandwiches, on toast or  in soft warps.  Baby will love the taste and the avocado  makes a lovely creamy companion for the tuna, which can be dry.  I love this one so much I make it up with a whole avocado and the whole tin of tuna and spread over a bagel for my lunch.  Avocado is jam packed with vitamins and minerals and is one of the best fruits you can give your baby, yet it’s not so popular on it’s own.  You can also try mashing with a banana for a surprisingly delicious and creamy pudding.

Chicken, Parsnip, Carrot and Apple (2 portions)

1 small chicken breast (chopped)

150g carrots (peeled and chopped)

150g parsnips (peeled and chopped)

1 apple (peeled, cored and chopped)

Cook your chicken in a little oil in a pan, once cooked add the parsnip and carrot  and a little boiling water and cover and cook for 15 minutes then drain and blend/mash.  You can add a little of baby’s milk or whole milk to make this a little creamy.

Get started!

Ok, so there’s nothing too adventurous there.  I think you’ll agree each of the recipes is fairly quick and easy, the only problem you may have is portion size.  I have put portions next to the title but you may take one look at the finished article and think there’s more or less than you expected.  Your baby might be a big eater or they may only eat small portions, what is written is a guide for the average 6 – 8 month old so trust your own judgement – it’s your baby and you know him/her best.

You can always give them a little more if you don’t think they’ve had enough to eat and you can tweek the recipe next time to make more.  The majority of these recipes can frozen with the exception of the tuna and avocado paste which needs to be eaten right away and the yogurt dish which can be kept in the fridge for 24 hours.  You can defrost frozen meals in the fridge in a  few hours but these must be used within 24 hours.  Heat thoroughly in the microwave or in a saucepan and stir through to avoid hot spots.

Enjoy it!

Weaning can be scary and it’s often challenging but you will find your feet in no time and baby will give you a good idea of their likes and dislikes so let them guide you too.  There’s a wealth of information and recipes in books and on net but be careful to check your baby is allowed all of the ingredients in the recipes. This is a really exciting time and can be lots of fun so enjoy yourself!

 

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About Dani Lee

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About Dani Lee

Dani enjoys turning her hand to writing when she gets a chance. Dani works full time and has 2 children, Sophie, 7 and Harry, 15 months and if anyone knows what it is to be a working parent, she does!

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