Oh the wonders of hindsight! The things we wish we knew back when our first borns were babies; how we could have coped better with weaning, without stressing over recipes or pulling our hair out in frustration cos our little ones would just NOT EAT the mashed carrot or spinach, which we had lovingly prepared for them!!
Now that we both have two new little bouncing babies to feed, and with a toddler each, we know better! We learned the hard way, that it is useless to stress about your baby not eating in the beginning. And no point making all these fancy separate mashed up foods, which he or she will just spit out or throw on the floor… The best advice we can give is: don’t worry about it. Eating food is a new and stimulating experience for your little one, it should be fun and interesting. Also, eating is hard work for a baby! Especially when he has been used to breast or bottle milk for the first 4-6 months.
Your little one will still be getting his main source of food from milk, so food is just there as a supplement to begin with. Offer him simple food when you are eating and try to sit with him and eat together, so he can observe you and learn how to do it. Make it fun, with lots of smiles and encouraging words for when he smushes food in his mouth. And do not stress if he doesn’t eat the whole portion, it doesn’t matter. Remember, they only have little stomachs! You will soon learn how much your baby wants to eat and when, just go with the flow and let him guide you.
Be prepared for mess! Your baby will want to experience food through touching and smelling, so it will end up all over his hands and face I’m afraid… Invest in a plastic mat to put under the high chair, which will make it easy to clean up the mess from the floor. Sit on the floor on the mat with your baby (put the tv on if you like) whilst you have a snack and offer it to him, so it is less stressful. Let him see you eating and let him come to you if he is interested in the food. He will let you know if the wants to try it (my baby usually climbs all over me with her mouth wide open, so that is a definite clue that she is interested in the food!)
Long sleeved bibs are also excellent for keeping most of the food of your little one’s clothes (I say “most of the food” cos our babies seem to be able to still get themselves rather mucky and covered in food, no matter how much we cover them up in protective layers!). And you will be spending lots more money on baby wipes too!
We also suggest you buy some ready made pouches and jars. It is great to try to make everything from scratch, but there is no harm in having quick meals at hand for when you have no time to cook, or let’s face it, are too darn tired!
We advise to invest in a hand held blender, to make your baby’s food nice and smooth to begin with.
So, with all that in mind, we have devised a list of some food suggestions to offer when you think your baby is ready to eat. With further easy recipes to make once your baby is a bit more used to chewing and swallowing.
See our Weaning Recipes section for ideas on initial foods and recipes for your little one.