Tag Archives: baby food

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.

Baby Food: Why it’s better to make your own.

A Glasgow team have tested 479 shop bought baby foods and found that most of them had fewer nutrients than homemade versions. They also found that the majority of the foods (65%) were sweet in taste, sweetened with fruit sugar rather than sugar itself. Finger foods expecially were found to be sweet.

baby-food-jars-15118476

A quote from the researchers “UK infant mainly supplies sweet, soft, spoonable foods targeted from age 4 months”

Babies have an innate preference for sweet foods and breast milk itself has a sweet taste to it, however when it comes to weaning we want to be encouraging our small ones to extend their palate. Offering a range of tastes, textures and flavours will do this, by sticking to sweeter tastes babies will be more likely to want sweet foods later in life which could lead to less healthy choices.

The nutritional composition of the baby foods was looked at and the researchers found that babies would  need to eat twice as much shop bought foods to get the same energy and protein as a homecooked meal. This makes it pretty hard work for a baby to meet their nutritional needs.

So is there a role for shop bought baby foods and should manufacturers be changing their meals?

I would say there still is a role for these foods. We all need a balance of foods in our diets and being a mum I know full well that there are occasions when a pouch or jar of baby food can be so much easier. Try to stick to homemade meals as often as you can and keep the bought versions for those emergency occasions. I’ve certainly used bought baby meals when abroad on holiday for example and when out and about with no other options. 

My top tip would be to aim for 80% of the diet to be homemade, be realistic about your time, plan meals, cook in bulk and freeze and don’t beat yourself up if you resort to shop bought food now and again.

Why not check out some of my weaning recipes or check out my Baby Weaning Ebooks. 

Read the abstract of the study here.

Baby Lunch Ideas

Keeping the variety going for babies is so important yet can be quite a demanding thing to do amidst juggling the piles of washing, the milk feeds and all that mummy-hood brings. So here are a few ideas to help you out….

All meals need to be well-balanced, so based on starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice, potatoes, crackers, rice-cakes, pasta, cous cous. There should be some protein – meat, fish, cheese, eggs, lentil, beans or pulses. I always try to include 1 portion of veggies and 1 portion of fruit. Below I’ve just outlined the carbohydrate and protein element of the meal, they can of course all be mixed and matched 🙂

We tend to keep lunch as a snack meal, and dinner is our cooked meal but it doesn’t matter which way round you do things, whatever works best! We are often out and about at lunchtime so it’s easier to take cold food that doesn’t need heating and isn’t too messy to eat. I have a baby who likes to share my lunch so we often eat the same.

  • Rice-cakes with cottage cheese or cream cheese and grapes.
  • Cream cheese and grated apple sandwich.
  • Pitta bread with avocardo and grated carrot.
  • Rye bread with avocardo and tomato.
  • Bagel with hummous, try different flavours.
  • Scrambled egg cooked with peppers on toast.
  • Brioche roll with ham.
  • Sardines/pilchards on toast.
  • Jacket potato with cheese/beans.
  • Cous cous with chicken, sultanas, peas and sweetcorn.
  • Tuna rice salad – mix cooked rice with tuna in spring water, chopped cooked. peppers, grated carrot and cucumber, dress with red wine vinegar and olive oil.Our favourite this week is a spiced cauliflower hummous. Yum yum. Here’s my little one enjoying it!