Posts Tagged ‘feeding’

Weaning & Feeding Hacks

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Weaning, the process of moving your baby onto solid food, is something I missed a lot of first time round. Work and its attendant commute cut out the mealtimes, leaving me the occasional weekend feed. By the time I dropped to working four days a week my daughter was on mostly normal, if babified, food.

So, second time round it’s different. I’ve been off on additional parental leave since my son was six months old, so the bulk of the weaning has actually fallen to me. This means I get to experience the fun of vomited up butternut squash and half choked on rice cakes… More seriously, the joy of watching a baby experience new food is great! The keen-ness and excited waving of hands when a baby when it wants more of a new taste is wonderful to behold.

So there’s certain things that are useful in weaning, especially at the early stage it’s baby rice and pureed vegetables all the way. Kit-wise, get some silicone ice-cube trays. These are ideal for storing frozen pureed vegetables and much, much easier to get stuff out of than the solid plastic ones. Get cheap ones in multiples, Wilkinson’s or a pound shop for real value, if you buy the official “Annabel Karmel Weaning Tray” you’ll get ripped off. A cheap hand blender is pretty essential too.

Freezing pureed veg or fruit allows you to break out a few cubes and microwave them for any meal (make sure it’s cool before feeding it to the baby!) in varying combos. Half a butternut squash will fill a tray, so it works out as a very cheap way to feed and an easy way to store the food. A weaning guide of some sort is useful, if nothing else than for inspiration and knowing which foods to avoid early on. You can borrow those from a library though and a good for tips on quick mixing recipes (it’s where I picked up butternut squash, apple and cinnamon as a good combo).

Feeding wise, my most useful tip is when trying something new, mix in a little of something the baby has already tried. This can lead to odd combos (banana and mashed potato!), but avoids too many looks of utter disgust when a new taste is encountered.

With all this pureeing, we’ve steered away from shop bought pastes and baby food; too many of those would bankrupt you anyway. The only real exception to this are Ella’s Kitchen (warning, sound) or Plum pouches, which are pretty ideal for stuffing into a change bag when heading out for the day. One thing we did do, is sign up for every baby club in sight when our son was born, this meant that just before weaning we got a vast number of vouchers for free or cheaper baby food. Bananas though, being easy to carry and easily mashable are similarly useful on outings and a lot cheaper.

Overall weaning is going well so far. My son is now moving on to yoghurts and other tastes. Hopefully his good mix of early foods will stop him being too picky when older…

So, what did you use and find useful when introducing your baby to solids? Post your tipes in the comments!

Oh, yeah. And its always worth reading the government guidelines.

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The First Night at Home…

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Sleep deprivation is not your friend.

Even though I made sure I got a decent night’s sleep the night before the baby came back home, it still shocked me how utterly draining the first night at home was. It’s the combination of your own and your partner’s lack of sleep, with a baby that is more active at night because that’s when the milk comes. Add to this a baby’s stomach that can only hold a thimble of milk at a time, so needs more every hour, and you can probably see why new parents look so haggard.

Combine this with the “baby blues” that commonly kick in for your partner in the first few days and you have a recipe for a whole new brand of fun. Oh yes, and you no longer have a collection of qualified midwives just the other side of the room if you need them.

Suddenly, you’re the key support structure. You’d better be ready for it!

Now this situation is made even more problematic by the fact that breast feeding is the way to go health wise and as your partner can’t express milk in the first few weeks, meaning only she can do the feeding. So what can you do?

Everything else. Seriously, the more weight you can take off your partner’s shoulders the better.

Of these, the biggest help I found I could be was as a distracting soother. Dad’s presence can provide a sleep window for your other half. It’s amazing how some swaying, rocking and a few half-remembered song lyrics can keep a baby from griping for a couple of hours even if they won’t sleep when left alone. Those few hours of sleep for your partner will be valuable.

Plus, those moments of soothing are a great opportunity for bonding. The first time you rock baby to sleep in your arms is a memory to treasure.

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