By Sheena McStravick.
It seems like no time since you brought your precious little bundle home from the hospital, all tiny and new and just a short six months down the line, it's time to give them their first solids.
Weaning is a time that fills many parents with dread as they venture into a whole new world of taste, texture and new fears with their little ones.
With parents spending nearly a working day a week (7 hours) preparing their little one’s meals, nearly a quarter (22%) said they find the weaning journey super stressful and 26% admit it has made them feel anxious.
Less than a third (29%) of parents said they felt excited about introducing new foods to their little ones, with 15% admitting the whole weaning process brought them to tears.
With more focus than ever being placed on the importance of healthy eating habits for children, parents embarking on the weaning journey are feeling the pressure even from before their little one’s very first taste of broccoli.
Top weaning worries included:
- Fear of choking (39%),
- Knowing if their child was getting enough of the nutrients they need (30%),
Food refusal (24%)
Confusion about where to start and what foods to try first (17%)
Here are Claire's top weaning tips for a stress free experience:
- Go at your own pace + be led by your baby - try not to worry + compare yourself to others as every baby is different + will be ready for new experiences at different times.
Be kind with your time - try to plan your meals, shop online + try recipe hacks so you have more time to enjoy the experience with your baby.
Pick a time to start when your baby isn’t too hungry – the best time to introduce your baby to the wonderful world of food is when they aren’t too hungry or sleepy. Just after a lunchtime milk feed might be a good time to try.
Try a puree first - start with a perfectly smooth puree that has the same texture as double cream or runny honey. For now, one or two spoonfuls at a time is probably enough – it’s just to get your little one used to food that isn’t milk and to help them experience new tastes
A veggie a day - for the first few days of weaning try offering a different veggie a day, so you can get tiny taste buds used to a range of flavours. Try soft cooking veg in a steamer and blend with a little of baby's usual milk.
Don’t give up - if your little one pulls a funny face, it doesn't mean they don't like something…it's just reeeally new! It can actually take up to 8 tastes for your little one to learn to love a new food, so keep trying.
Have fun with it - if you eat the same foods as your little one at the same time, they will love to copy you! Show them how yummy you think your food is, so they feel happy trying what’s in their bowl or on their plate.
Engage the senses - we believe that little ones who explore food with all their senses are more likely to grow up as happy little eaters! Let them feel fruit + veg, from a bumpy avocado to a furry kiwi. Their eyes will show them that what they eat comes in a rainbow of colours and their noses can sniff new + exciting smells.
By Sheena McStravick, 10 Nov 2020 (https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/whats-on/be/weaning-advice-expert-ensure-its-19218527).