Solids. For many moms, the thought of starting baby on solids is equally exciting and terrifying. What do you feed when? How much? And how on earth do you find the time to prepare nutritious food for your baby, who is still so pure and perfect?
It’s funny. With my first baby, I leapt into the weaning game with joy and enthusiasm. But for my second, I just couldn’t get it together. This poor kid ate pumpkin or sweet potato once a day at best (some days I didn’t even get round to it) for about a month! It took a severe reprimanding from the nurse I go to for vaccinations to actually wake up and start weaning properly. “What do you mean he’s five months and he’s only had pumpkin?? Don’t you know he needs to have been exposed to all the allergens by the time he’s 6 months?!”
I think I know why I seemed to fail with number 2. I was trying to follow a weaning guide (which I didn’t do with number 1), and because I was struggling to stick to the recommended schedule, I just didn’t give solids! But that’s just me…for many moms, having a guide and a schedule is key to success with solids.
So for those of you, who, like me, need a bit more freedom and flexibility, here’s some advice.
Start solids earlier rather than later
I know. Everyone is giving you a different story, right? But as far as I understand, the general consensus (at this very moment in time) is to start early (around 4 months). What’s the worst that can happen? Your baby doesn’t respond well? Just try again in a week or so.
Don’t be scared of Textures
Don’t spend too long feeding your baby ultra-pureed foods. You can ease in with textures but the sooner you do it, the more readily your baby will take it. This can be as simple as mashing your pumpkin instead of pureeing it with a blender, or puree some, mash some and mix together. You can start increasing texture by adding a tiny grain like couscous or quinoa to some meals, and then introduce larger grains like rice or bulgur wheat. Grate an apple on the very fine side of the grater. Micro-chop a piece of cucumber. The list goes on.
Cook and freeze, mix and match
Cook in bulk, mash or puree, and freeze in ice-cube trays (you can get ones with lids at places like West Pack).
You will probably need to dedicate an entire freezer drawer to your cubes, but it’s worth it. When meal times roll around, it’s time to get a little creative! I generally make sure I have some protein, some veg and some starch (preferably a whole grain) in each meal.
Here’s some examples of the things I often together:
- Mince, peas, pumpkin and rice
- Finely shredded chicken, baby gem squash, sweet potato and bulgur wheat
- Beetroot, apple, hummus, cucumber and whole wheat couscous
- Hake, sweet potato, broccoli, green beans and sweetcorn
- Pumpkin, apple, oats, double cream plain yoghurt and cinnamon (this one always goes down like a dream)
Tip: you can freeze your grains and starches in ice cubes too! Anything from pasta to cooked oats porridge.
Contributed by Zoe Sevitz of Clamber Club Babies Wendywood
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