Ready, steady, wean: Eight tips on weaning every parent should be armed with
Weaning can be an anxious time for new parents.
When to start, what to feed, self-lead or spoon-fed – there can be so many questions.
In honour of National Weaning Week here in Ireland, which runs from 3rd- 9th May, we caught up with parenting expert, Laura Erskine, to pick her brain about some of the advice and tips she has gleaned from working with child development, nutrition and feeding experts, not to mention her own experience with three little ones.
1. First foods
The HSE recommend that you start to introduce your baby to their first foods between 20 weeks and 6 months. Signs that they are ready include interest in your food and starting to wake during the night for additional milk feeds.
2. Root vegetables
Start your weaning journey with pureed root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and parsnip which are all rich in vitamins and easy to digest. Try to stick with vegetables first rather than fruit. This will help your baby to develop a broader taste for food and help create healthier eating habits.
3. Batch cook and store
Batch cooking is a great way to save time when preparing both your little one's meals. Simply cook a little extra, puree and freeze in some handy portion pots so that you can defrost for an easy weaning meal on busier days. The BPA free, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe Mummycooks portion pots come in a variety of sizes, so you’ll still be using them right up to primary school age to store fruit and veg in lunchboxes.
4. Finger foods
From six months, always try to offer some sort of finger food with each mealtime. Soft chunks of roasted vegetables or pieces of soft fruit like raspberry and banana are great finger foods. Try a Feeding Plate like the one from Accessories4Babies to separate different foods or their Feeding Pal when out and about as the silicone teat allows just small amounts of food to pass through.
It is recommended to introduce an open-top drinking cup from 6-months, as it is better for your baby’s oral health. The Cognikids Sip natural drinking cup has a textured surface with extensive holes to easily aid grip. While the unique design of the inner vessel helps to prevent spills.
From 6-months, try the Cognikids Dip weaning spoon, which has been specially designed to encourage independent feeding. The textured surface with extensive holes acts as a net to catch purées and baby foods without the need for scooping, meaning little ones can do it themselves with ease.
Do not delay moving on with textures and flavours when weaning. Your baby has a natural gag reflex and will regurgitate any lumps they're not able for. You can always revisit a food if your baby is not ready for a certain food or texture.
8. Get messy
Do not be afraid to let your child really explore and enjoy their food. The BabyBoo waterproof cotton feeding bib feels like an extra layer of clothing so babies don’t pull it off and clothes stay fully protected. By allowing baby to enjoy the full sensory food experience, you will raise a happier healthy eater.
If you are about to get started with weaning, we love this new starter Weaning Bundle put together by Cork mum-run baby retailer BabyBoo. It includes everything you might need – and all from Irish brands too! The weaning bundle is priced at €75 from BabyBoo.ie and includes: BabyBoo Feeding Bib x 2, Cognikids Sip Cup x 2, Accessories4Babies Feeding Plate & Pal, and a Mummycooks Portion Pots Starter Set.