We've collated the top ten #heavenlyweaning tips from our lovely Facebook followers! If you have any more, we would love to hear from you!
1. Food is fun, until they’re one – baby’s tummies are tiny and just a few spoonfuls of solids can be filling. Start small, with one or two spoonfuls of food and increase gradually over time, and endeavour to make mealtimes fun! Try letting your baby play with their food or with another spoon or bowl and encourage them to excited about mealtimes. Try making up stories or sing about the food!
2. Stress less – babies can sense stress and anxiety, therefore if you relax then so will they! Start with a smile, enjoy the funny faces they’ll pull when trying a new taste, take pictures of them covered top to toe in lumpy, dried in puree and look back and laugh about the fun feeding experience you had that day!
3. Offer variety – baby should try a wide range of foods. Experiment with taste, colour, flavours and textures and never restrict your baby to only foods that you like! Whether you want to spoonfeed, try baby-led weaning or combine spoonfeeding and finger foods, go for it! So long as your baby is trying a variety of new tastes, the rest is up to you.
4. Try and try again - babies have four times the amount of taste buds as adults and are very sensitive to flavour. Breastmilk tastes sweet so the savoury flavours of their first veggies will be strange and your baby might spit them out, but they will get used to them! It can take 6-16 tries before a baby learns to like a new food, so if at first you don’t succeed, try again another day!
5. Eat together – eating with your baby, letting them be a part of sociable family meal times is very beneficial. Babies copy parents and older siblings and learn from the dinner table experience.
6. Be prepared - make meals in batches and have lots of freezer pots on hand. Have your weaning equipment handy for feeding time such as soft tipped weaning spoons and bowls with suction on the bottom
7. Embrace the mess – have plenty of bibs on hand, put the highchair on a big wipeable mat (plastic table clothes, shower curtains and even newspaper are great). Let baby play with their food and try not to wipe their face in between spoonfuls!
8. Expect waste – more often than not, more food will go on baby than in baby! Don't stress, they have substantial nutrition in their milk feeds and weaning is all about learning how to eat solids and getting used to the new flavours.
9. Trust your instinct – it’s true what they say that mummy (and daddy) know best and you know your baby better than anyone! There is no right time to begin weaning or move onto different food combinations and textures because every baby is different. Go with your gut feeling and follow your babies lead! Just because Mrs Jones and little Jonny down the road started solids at 20 weeks, doesn’t mean that your baby is ready at 20 weeks too! You don’t need to keep up with the Jones’!!
10. What goes in must come out – prepare for a big change in baby’s nappy when they're eating solids! It’s normal for foods to reappear undigested in the nappy and you might notice some strange colours too (especially after carrots or beetroot), but don’t worry, this is normal!
Good Luck, I hope these tips are helpful!