Whenever I chat to mums who are weaning, they always ask me for tips to make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible. There are simple ways parents can guarantee a successful weaning journey, so I have gathered my most useful tips to save you stress and worry throughout every stage. Here are my top tips and tricks to make weaning your baby a positive and stress-free experience!
Tip 1: Love your Freezer
With hectic family life, the freezer can (and will!) be your best friend. From batch cooking meals to freezing excess veggies and meat, making the most of your freezer can take the stress out of meal times. This will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen, and more time with your family.
Top Tip: When batch cooking make sure to portion your baby's and family's meals by using the correct portion pot size.
Tip 2: Sharing is Caring
When weaning your baby, it is important to make them feel part of the family meal time. Positive encouragement through sharing your food (only if it is baby-friendly), or simply offering the same meal to the whole family can really help to encourage your little one to explore their food.
If out and about at a restaurant or a family dinner, don’t be afraid to offer your weaning baby parts of your dinner that are suitable for them. This will get them used to trying and exploring new flavours and textures, no matter where they are!
Top Tip: Our Baby & Family recipe book has all the recipes you need to include your baby in family meals.
Tip 3: Don’t offer solids too soon
Solids should not be offered before 4 months of age as your baby’s digestive system isn’t ready for them.
Top Tip: At Mummy Cooks we advise starting the weaning process from around 5 or 5 ½ months of age. This early introduction will make the transition onto foods such as meat, pulses and grains easier from 6 months.
Tip 4: Embrace the Mess
Weaning, especially during the first few months, is all about exploring new tastes and textures. The exploring side should be fun and stress-free for both parent and baby, so try not to focus on cleaning every piece of food from your child’s face or feeding area. Try to offer finger foods at every weaning meal. This will encourage your baby to really explore their food, which can really help to avoid a fussy eater later on. Embrace the mess made as this shows that your baby is having a positive feeding experience. It is the only time making a mess at mealtimes will be a positive thing, so enjoy it!
Top Tip: If you are worried about the mess, it is a good idea to place a protective mat or sheet on the floor around your baby’s feeding area.
Tip 5: Beat the Boredom
Your baby can become distracted or bored easily once they are full or finished their meal. When this happens, they may be more likely to become upset or start dropping or spilling any leftover food. To prevent your child getting bored during or after a feed, try to keep meal times to 15-20 minutes. This will allow them to enjoy their feeding time without getting restless or tired!
Tip 6: Keep Trying
It can be hard when your baby rejects the tasty home cooked foods you are preparing for their weaning journey. However, don’t give up on offering new tastes and textures. It can take up to 14 times until your baby actually accepts a certain food!
Top Tip: Try to stay positive even if your baby rejects what you offer. By keeping a positive attitude, they will associate meal times with a positive experience and might be more willing to try something new next time.
Tip 7: Routine is Key
Routines are very important with young children and equally their feeding schedule. Make sure to have a routine with your baby and stick to this routine as much as possible. I often get asked about the best feeding routine but I think it can vary from baby to baby. So I always suggest that you should have about an hour between a milk feed and your baby's food. Remember day time naps are also key to your baby accepting their food as they may be too tired to feed if they have not had their nap.
Top Tip: Try to introduce a new taste or texture every day at the time that your baby is at their happiest. This may be after their nap or at the time of day when they are hungriest.