Tag Archives: baby led weaning

How to prepare yourself for weaning.

I love the adventure of weaning. The excitement of seeing your baby try something for the first time. Their facial expressions when they taste. The determination they have in picking up a food. The mess they make as they feel the texture. Taking photos of them, it’s all rewarding and funny in my eyes. 

Dietitian UK: How to start weaning

However there can be a level of stress in it too. What do I feed them? How do I start them off? How do I minimise the mess? What do I do when out and about? Which foods are best to give them?

So here are my “mum of 3” tips of what you need to get started. 

What you need to start with:

Bibs: I like to have the ones that cover as much of their bodies as possible! Long sleeved as great. It saves a clothing change after eating. You need at least 5 if you can. 1 per meal and 1 in the wash plus 1 in the change bag. It saves hassle to have more bibs around. Although a muslin folded into a triangle can be tied around your little ones neck as a make shift bib. Be warned the food stains may not come out! 

A high chair with a table: I’ve started 2 of mine off in a Bumbo with the tray attached. I like it as they have sat on the table and there is less chance of throwing food onto the floor. However it didn’t work for my boy as he wasn’t safe in the Bumbo. 

Dietitian UK: How to prepare for weaning 2

I don’t think that is any need for an expensive high chair. The Ikea Antilop white one is our fav. Wipe clean with hardly any nooks or crannies for food to get stuck in it is also portable in the car as the legs come off. This highchair fits out table well, however I like it away from the table for the start of weaning so I can prevent baby throwing food in my dinner! It is also found in lots of cafe’s so when you eat out baby feels like it’s a home from home.

A mat: having a plastic sheet, shower curtain or washable mat under the highchair saves a whole heap of clearing up. You can then pick it up, shake the bits of food off outside and put the mat in the washing machine when wanted. I have this one which I take to people’s houses as well (saves apologising constantly about their cream carpets!).

Plastic Spoons: These can be picked up cheaply from any supermarket. These are specifically designed for fit a babies mouth and are shallower than other teaspoons. Metal spoons are not suitable as if baby bites on them or pushes them further into the back of their mouths they could harm themselves. 

Plastic Bowls: Again easily picked up in a supermarket or online. Safe in a dishwasher, microwave and unbreakable as they will get dropped on the floor.  Having some with lids is useful for storing and transporting foods.

weaning-bits

Cups: If you can use an open beaker then that is the best way to encourage baby to drink. It is messy however as they can pour it everywhere! I like to use a combination of different cups. My favourite open cup is the baby cup as it is so small it is easy to hold and there is not much liquid to be thrown around!  Safe, easy to clean and approved by dentists. I also like doidy cups.

 Wipes: We use washable wipes, they just get thrown in with the normal washing. I have a tub that sits on my table with damp wipes in it. Everyone ends up using them for messy hands and faces. I’ve found cheeky wipes really good as they trap all the bits and wash well. 

Patience: baby may not be that interested and eat that much initially, which can be stressful. It is almost best to ignore them and let them get on with it, whilst keeping a quiet eye out for safety. Let them play, let them eat with the family, let them make mess, let them try and feed themselves. 

A plan: Not necessarily a spreadsheet of foods to try out, but some vague plan of what you are cooking and how you can therefore adapt it for baby. I often find it easiest to save leftover from the day before and give that to baby for lunch the following day. You don’t need to cook different meals for baby, but it can also be useful to have bits of food saved up to offer them or spare meals in the freezer.

Good books: If you want to do some reading up then the Baby led weaning book and cookbook by Gill Rapley are good and for some great evidence based information try ”Easy Weaning” by Sara Patience.

Foods to have ready: As babies are used to sweetness in milk I find it good to start with a mixture of a few sweeter foods such as fruit but also plenty of vegetables and starchy foods. 

Examples:

Breakfast : 

Porridge fingers (porridge cooked and left to go hard! I often some to last several days. It is sticky but easy for little fingers to pick up.

Toast fingers with butter, scrambled egg or hummus.

Eggy bread with vegetable sticks.

Weetabix with mashed banana.

Lunch:

Pitta bread in fingers with cream cheese and avocado.

Large Pasta shapes with roasted carrot and courgette strips.

Savoury muffins with cheese and cucumber.

Pancakes with steamed green beans, mushrooms and trips of chicken.

Tea

Risotto with a no/low salt stock

Roast dinner with no gravy

Potato wedges with broccoli florets steamed, sweetcorn and fingers of fish.

 

If you want to stock up online here is a little list of my recommendations:

 

Review: Baby Cup is a hit!

Its official…I’ve a real cheeky chappy. One of those boys who likes to climb, empty cupboards, get messy, and pour. Let’s just say weaning has been fun but VERY messy. Give him a drink and he will find a way to somehow get the water out. Even if it is the type of cup that has a lid firmly on and is meant to be “no-spill”, he finds a way to get water out!

Anyway I digress. The experts now tell us that it’s best not to give your little ones sippy cups but to use an open cup so they can learn to sip and not suck their drinks. Using an open cup is thought to be better for dental development, potentiall preventing dental work and orthotics later in life. I had train tracks and a brace as a child… it’s not that fun. 

Now my boy was in hospital right back in the early days due to concerns over his weight. He is now a chunk of a lad, no worries anymore. I was given a small feeding cup to give him his milk top ups and it was amazing to see that at 7 days old he was able to lap milk from it. So when it came to drinking I knew he would have no problems using an open cup. As a result he drinks out of whatever is to hand – my water glass, his sisters bottle, a sippy cup or his favourite doidy cup.

I was more than happy when BabyCup sent the J-boy some of their cute cups to try out. So why are these cups different to any other open cup? It’s their size. They fit nicely into J’s hand, he can happily pick it up with one or two hands. The bonus here for me is they don’t hold a lot of fluid so when he tips out his drink there is less to clear up 😉 An instant hit with mummy and toddler. ]

 Disclaimer: These cups were sent to me to review, no other payment passed hands but I did get to keep the product. All views are my own.

How to really have a more contented baby ;)

This being our second baby I’ve been a teeny, tiny bit wiser to a few things… and a bit slacker on other things! I’ve thrown out all the normal baby books for one and let baby lead the way, so much easier, he naturally showed me his routine. I also bypassed the puree route and went straight for baby led weaning – which I would highly recommend, much less stress and cooking.

Something I noticed with Miss K is how frustrated she would get when trying to communicate. Around a year I started using some basic signs with her and it made a big difference. So with J-boy I’ve put signing in from the instant we started weaning (5.5 months). It is lovely to see him now happily signing away. He does also use words with some of the signs too, however More, Milk and Moo are all very similar sounding so the signs are of big advantage. 

At age 2 toddles apparently recognise around 200 words but can only say about 50. I would be frustrated if I wanted something and couldn’t communicate it. Many times the reasons tantrums occur is due to frustration, so using signing can help with alleviating this.

Now I’m no signing expert, but hubby knows a fair bit of Makaton, so I’ve stolen signs from him and from groups I’ve been to. We use…

Eat

Drink

More

Finished

Please and Thankyou

Book

Milk

I like this free chart of signs: 

 baby-sign-language-chart

 

 

So at 15 months J-boy was using eat and drink and at 16 months he was using more and toothbrush. He doesn’t sign milk but says it. Now I plan to build in “nappy” and “sleep”. If he is potty trained and sleeping by 2 I’ll be a lucky mummy, ha ha!

Butternut and lentil curry.

Curry, on chilly days there is nothing like it to warm your bones. This is a mild, family friendly version that my kids loved.

DSC_3141

We have a jar of chilli that sits on our table so the adults can zing it up if they want to. Being half Sri-Lankan, curry has to feature in our diet, but I’ve not really cooked it much over the summer. So with autumn drawing in, I’m back on the curry wagon. My hubby will be doing a happy dance right now.

DSC_3140

In fact, this is how much my boy loved it! I think he managed to eat some 😉

Dietitian UK: Butternut and Lentil Curry 3

Butternut and Lentil Curry
Yields 4
A mild, family friendly, vegetarian curry that will warm you and make you smile.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
378 calories
59 g
0 g
7 g
21 g
2 g
276 g
18 g
11 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
276g
Yields
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 378
Calories from Fat 60
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 18mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 59g
20%
Dietary Fiber 24g
98%
Sugars 11g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
15%
Calcium
7%
Iron
36%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  2. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  3. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. Peel and chop 1 medium butternut squash
  6. 2 medium onions
  7. 3 cloves garlic
  8. 1 tsp fresh ginger
  9. 1/2 tsp tumeric
  10. 300g dried lentils
  11. 100g mushrooms
  12. 50g grated cream of coconut
  13. 400ml water
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1cm chunks. Chop the onions, garlic and mushrooms.
  2. Heat the oil and add the seeds, cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the onions. Cook until softened.
  3. Add the butternut squash along with the ginger, garlic and tumeric.
  4. Now add the lentils, mushrooms and water, stir.
  5. Add in the coconut and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed and cook until the lentils are soft.
Notes
  1. Substitute the water and grated coconut for coconut milk if wanted.
beta
calories
378
fat
7g
protein
21g
carbs
59g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

It’s ok to play with your food

I was brought up to eat with my knife and fork, not to sing at the table, to keep my elbows well away and to definitely not play with my food.

My how things have changed! I’ve followed baby led weaning with my littlies so both have learnt to eat with their fingers…. Miss K (almost 4) still prefers fingers over cutlery and I can’t always argue as I eat some meals with my fingers too, for example rice and curry… It’s the only way.

I now often find myself slipping into song at the table. Part of that is having kids and part of that is just me… I sing a lot around the house.

Playing with food is part of what I do as a dietitian. I like my kids to feel the texture of foods and to get involved in cooking and preparing foods. So we keep mealtimes fun. It can be messy but the result is they eat almost anything and love learning about food.

So here are my little foodies in action.

Who wants manners when you have cuteness?

P.S – Very bad sound I know…. I NEED a new phone 😉

5 reasons why I prefer baby led weaning

Weaning. As soon as you have conquered bottle/breast feeding and are vaguely in the swing of things it comes to time for food. I love the fun of weaning. Letting babies explore tastes and textures with their hands and mouths. My first baby had to be weaned at 17 weeks so was on purée but quickly decided to only want to feed herself. My second we waited until he literally pulled food off my plate into his mouth at almost 6 months. We’ve been letting him feed himself unless he is too tired or not feeling well in which case he asks to be fed.

Dietitian UK Baby led Weaning 1

Lots of people seem worried about the idea of baby led weaning. Personally I’ve found it easier than the purée route and here is why:

1. There is no real preparation or precooking needed. As long as you eat healthily, baby can just eat what you eat. So roast dinners, fish with steamed vegetables, pasta dishes, sandwiches are all fab.

Dietitian UK: Salmon Foil Parcels with Potato Wedges.

2. Eating out is easy peasy. Baby can just eat of your plate. Mine loves jacket potatoes, risotto, picking at a salad or sharing my toddlers meal.

Baby led Weaning - 8 months

3. It doubles up as messy play. Feeling all those textures is a great learning experience. Let baby explore and practice picking up different sized pieces of food.

weaning 3

4. I don’t have to plan a separate menu. In our family we all eat the same meal. One meal fits all.

Dietitian UK: Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto: toddler portion.

5. It helps baby feel independent. My baby loves feeding himself. On the odd occasion I have tried to feed him to speed things up as we were running late he has shut his mouth firmly. “No mummy I am doing this myself”. That told me.

Weaning 2

Have you tried baby led weaning? How do you find it. Look out for my top tips on weaning and my meal ideas which I will be posting soon.

Peanut and prawn 10 minute Noodles

We love noodles in our house. I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years as a child and the food there was amazing. It has definitely influenced my cooking. These could also be seen as a total cheats way to make Pad Thai, which I love. These noodles are a super quick meal and can be made from storecupboard ingredients plus whatever veggies you have to hand. I’ve adapted these from a Nigella recipe.

I’ve found they are great (but messy) food for a baby, mine loved getting his hands into the sticky noodles! Miss K loves anything with noodles and emptied her plate and asked for the same meal the next day and the hubby (who doesn’t like peanut butter – sssssh) loves them too. I really must make these more often.

Dietitian UK: Baby led weaning, noodles

We tend to keep this as a summery meal as it is better eaten warm or cold. Why not make extra and keep it for lunch the next day.

Dietitian UK: Peanut and Prawn Noodles

Peanut and Prawn Noodles
Serves 4
Super quick noodle recipe that will satisy a hungry family fast.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
325 calories
25 g
132 g
16 g
21 g
2 g
191 g
1004 g
6 g
0 g
12 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
191g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 325
Calories from Fat 138
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 132mg
44%
Sodium 1004mg
42%
Total Carbohydrates 25g
8%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 6g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A
164%
Vitamin C
32%
Calcium
9%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Dressing
  1. 2 tbsp peanut butter
  2. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  3. 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  4. 2 tbsp sesame oil
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
Noodles
  1. 160-200g noodles (rice, egg or soba noodles)
  2. 3 medium carrots peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  3. 150g green beans/mangetout/sugarsnap peas sliced
  4. 100g sweetcorn
  5. 250g frozen prawns
Instructions
  1. Slice and prepare the vegetables. Peppers and bean sprouts also work well in this recipe. Use whatever you have to hand. Put into a saucepan with the noodles.
  2. Boil the kettle then pour over the noodles and vegetables, bring to the boil and simmer until the noodles are cooked. Add the prawns towards the end of cooking to defrost them.
  3. Strain the noodles and vegetables and leave to cook a little whilst you make the dressing.
  4. Mix up the dressing and pour over the noodles, stir well to combine and serve.
Notes
  1. Use rice noodles and wheat/gluten free soy sauce to make this wheat/gluten free.
beta
calories
325
fat
16g
protein
21g
carbs
25g
more
Adapted from Nigella's Sesame Peanut Noodles
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Pizza Pinwheels

My family love pizza and so I usually make extra and we have leftovers for lunches. However being picnic weather I don’t always find cold pizza transports well. So this weekend I played around with making pizza pinwheels which have promptly been names pizza rolls by Miss K.  Her initial comment was “Mummy what’s this” followed by “Can I have another”.  My 9 month old baby also found these easy to eat and quickly demolished one.

The fiddly bit about these is rolling them up, and that really isn’t too tricky. What is tricky is keeping enough back for the freezer stash too! What I love about these is how versatile they can be, you could fill them with all sorts of things. I pretty much emptied my leftovers out of the fridge for these ones. 

Dietitian UK: Pizza Pinwheels being rolled up DSC_2453

Dietitian UK: Pizza Pinwheels, gluten free

These transported very well, in fact probably better than sandwiches would have done. They survived Miss K shaking the picnic box, turning it upside down and a trip in the bottom of the buggy. 

Healthier than sausage rolls, pies and pasties…. A definite must for the picnic season and the buffet table too. 

Pizza Pinwheels (glutenfree, wheat free)
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
274 calories
44 g
13 g
5 g
11 g
1 g
123 g
46 g
1 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
123g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 274
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 13mg
4%
Sodium 46mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 44g
15%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 1g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
3%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Pizza Dough
  1. 450g gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm plain)
  2. 310ml water
  3. 2 tbsp oil
  4. 1/2 tsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp yeast
For the toppings
  1. 2 tbsp tomato puree
  2. 4 tbsp lentil soup (optional, it was leftover in my fridge, you could use pesto!)
  3. 100g shredded cooked chicken breast
  4. 200g sweetcorn
  5. 20g cheddar
Instructions
  1. Make the dough by hand or in a bread machine.
  2. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/200C.
  3. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick, aim for a rectangle.
  4. Spread the tomato puree and lentil soup/pesto on the top.
  5. Cover in the toppings.
  6. Now start to roll it up lengthways. start at one end and work all the way along, just turning the edge over, then continue this process rolling it a bit at a time working lengthways along the dough each time. Try to roll it fairly tight.
  7. Now slice it into 1 inch rounds.
  8. Place onto a greased, floured baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Leave to cool and store in an airtight container.
beta
calories
274
fat
5g
protein
11g
carbs
44g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Baby Led Weaning at 8 months.

It’s been just over 2 months since the baby  started on food, he has completely taken to it. I’m taking quite a relaxed approach to weaning him, just offering him 3 meals and a snack if he asks for one or grabs a bit of mine.

So far I don’t think we’ve come across anything that he has refused to eat. Some days I find he isn’t that bothered with his evening meal and will just wait for yoghurt, but other days he eats loads. There doesn’t always seem to be much rhyme or reason to it, I find the key is to just go with it and not worry as right now he is just learning and getting his main nutrition from milk.

Baby led Weaning - 8 months

I offer fruit/vegetables, carbohydrate, protein and dairy foods at each lunch and dinner. This is usually a variation on what the rest of the family are eating. 

Dietitian UK: Baby Eats Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto

Breakfasts:

ReadyBrek mixed with some porridge oats and fruit – mashed banana, cooked apple, banana or pear.
Weetabix with milk and fruit

Lunches:

Lentil and Vegetable soup with bread, pear slices and cheese.
Cheese on toast with avocado, tomato, banana chunks and sweetcorn hoops.
Mackerel pate with rice cakes, cucumber sticks, steamed pepper strips and yoghurt.
Soft cheese with breadsticks, roasted courgette and carrot chunks (leftover from dinner) and peeled grapes.

Dinners:

Pasta Bologanise
Salmon and vegetable risotto
Roast chicken with roasted vegetables and potatoes
Mushroom Stroganoff
 

Top Tips:

1. Offer a variety of foods across the week.
2. Don’t force a baby to eat, if they aren’t interested then that is fine, try again another time.
3. Try not to get anxious or frustrated around mealtimes. It’s all a learning experience.
4. Keep it fun, we have toys ready for before and after food to keep baby amused.
5. Chat to baby over mealtimes and interact.

Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto.

Risotto, it’s a staple in our house. I love the way you can reinvent it each time you make it. Weaning baby 2 has also remined me how it’s completely suitable for everyone in the family. He has been loving risotto from his first taste of it at 6 months old. So if you want a meal you can cook that everyone will enjoy, try this out. This is real food and tasty food.

Dietitian UK: Baby Eats Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto

Today’s variation includes salmon for extra omega 3 goodness and monounsaturated fat. I always pack whatever we cook with plenty of veggies. The courgette was grated as my toddler “is not keen on courgettes mummy”…. but it also adds extra vegetables without you really noticing they are there.

Here is the 3 1/2 year olds portion… she like risotto alot.

Dietitian UK: Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto: toddler portion.

And the husbands portion – hence all the cheese, the man is a cheese monster…

Dietitian UK: Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto

 

Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto
Serves 4
Packed with vegetables and omega 3's, a super healthy, tasty dinner suitable for the whole family.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
414 calories
31 g
75 g
15 g
36 g
4 g
455 g
537 g
8 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
455g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 414
Calories from Fat 134
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
23%
Saturated Fat 4g
20%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 75mg
25%
Sodium 537mg
22%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 36g
Vitamin A
306%
Vitamin C
48%
Calcium
27%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 carrots
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
  4. 200g risotto rice
  5. 50ml white wine
  6. 300ml chicken stock
  7. 400g salmon fillets
  8. 1 courgette, grated
  9. 50ml semi skimmed milk
  10. 50g parmesan
  11. 40g quark
  12. 200g spinach
  13. pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the carrots and onions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and sweat the onions and carrots for a few minutes.
  3. Now add the rice and stir to coat in the oil, leave for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, and stir, bring to a simmer on a medium heat.
  5. When most of the wine has been cooked out add the stock, about 100ml at a time. Stir frequently whilst it cooks as this helps release the starch from the rice and stops it burning on the bottom, plus it gives you a good arm workout 😉
  6. About half way through the stock additions add in the cubed salmon and grated courgette.
  7. When you have added all the stock, it's time to add the milk and let it cook out too.
  8. Now add the quark and grated parmesan.
  9. Finally stir through the spinach and allow it to wilt, and season.
beta
calories
414
fat
15g
protein
36g
carbs
31g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/