Carrots to Courgette: Weaning SOS

Lost in limbo

Your baby is rapidly approaching 6 months. On one hand you’re excited about your baby finally trying food, on the other side is… complete…fear – like you’re walking into a cave blindfolded. A very messy cave, full of broccoli, carrot sticks and unidentifiable purees. Fear not.

Here are 5 easy steps to follow so you can hold your own with the best of them in any high-brow weaning chat.

  1. Prepare. This will help you feel more confident about what approach you want to take and what food you need to buy. Get your baby used to sitting in the high chair and joining you at the table. A bib or full tabard, bowls (try bamboo, silicon or wooden) and a free flow cup and you’re good to go. Some like to protect the floor. Weaning is about to be a very messy affair.
  2. Know your purees from your baby-led weaning. Both have pros and cons. The key difference is how the food is prepared for your baby. Do you want to be spoon feeding purees or prepping sticks of food that baby can try and explore themselves? Why not try doing a bit of both?.
  3. Start green. Ideas around weaning have developed significantly in the last few years. It is now thought that offering bitter greens as first tastes allows baby to ‘learn’ these flavours. In the first 2 weeks try offering broccoli, spinach, green beans, cabbage, courgette and cauliflower. These work either as well-cooked finger food or purees. Save the fruit for a bit later.
  4. ID your allergens. The NHS now recommends introducing the main allergens at 6 months. Try a small amount and have a few days between different allergens so you can spot any reaction. Allergens include cows’ milk (mixed into food), eggs, gluten, nuts and peanuts (serve crushed or ground),seeds (serve crushed or ground), soya, shellfish and fish. This is not an exclusive list.
  5. Relax and enjoy. As with anything, baby can sense your tension. See it as something exciting, and if you can, try not to have high expectations. There will be food waste. That’s ok. Even if baby doesn’t eat anything rest assured this is normal.  Babies often need over 10 exposures to a certain food before they will accept it.

Oh and don’t forget vitamin D. The NHS recommends that breastfed babies are supplemented 8.5 to 10 micrograms (µg) of Vitamin D a day. Now you’re weaning this can be added straight to food. Pop in to your local health food store to get advice on the best vitamin D drops for your baby.

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