Weaning & Feeding Hacks
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.