Weaning is a stressful business for many parents. With warnings about allergy detection and foods that can be dangerous, it can be a daunting prospect and many worry about getting it wrong. However, by following these tips you can make weaning a doddle!
Take it slow! Many parents feel they need to rush through weaning to get their toddler from a milk-based diet to a solids-only diet within the shortest possible time-span. While it is important to keep on moving forward, you’ll want to start slow especially if there is a family history of food allergies and intolerances. Start with the most inert of substances; rice cereal mixed up with breastmilk or formula is the best option.
Ask your health visitor for advice as to when you should start solids. It’s important not to start too soon, as that could increase the risk of a poorly tummy, but you don’t want to start too late, either. Babies need to start getting used to different textures by a certain age, as it will otherwise be difficult to get them to accept solid foods.
When your baby is definitely not allergic to rice cereal – give it a few days to ensure there is no reaction – you can start slowly expanding on their culinary repertoire. Root vegetables are an excellent place to start, and if you want to make your own baby food that contains plenty of nutrients for your baby, you can blend boiled baby carrots with some rice cereal and some breastmilk or formula. You can use the milk to obtain whatever texture your baby is ready to eat, so that you can gradually thicken the food. By blending for a shorter period of time, you can also ensure small chunks stay in the food so that your baby can practice chewing and swallowing.
Boots sell sets of ice cube trays that allow you to make large batches of baby food and freeze them. By defrosting a cube or two at a time, you can feed your baby the right portion sizes and combine different foods. The trays are made of silicon rubber, allowing you to easily remove cubes of frozen baby food without having to empty the entire tray. Do remember to label things so you remember which is which!
Finger foods are very tempting, but you do need to give your baby plenty of time to get used to solids before you start giving finger foods. Soft foods such as bread and fruit are a good idea, but make sure you cut them up small enough to avoid choking. Grapes especially seem baby-sized already, but you need to cut them into pieces as they can become lodged in the throat.
By following these easy tips, you can take the stress out of weaning and know you’re doing right by your baby in the safest ways. Do remember that any questions can be addressed to your health visitor or doctor, who are trained to deal with your concerns and will be able to give you advice tailored to your baby. And don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself; your baby will be grown all too soon!