Weaning can be so confusing.
Even NHS seem confused.
First they recommend weaning at five months, then at six months and now they suggest that four months is the ideal time to introduce your baby to solids to avoid possible food intolerances later in life.
The food intolerance reason does make sense to me, but I had to go with my own motherly instincts here and follow baby led weaning (which I was soon to learn is an actual thing, though I’m yet to read the book)…
I let Lake lick fruits and my green smoothies here and there when she was four months. I added probiotics to her breastmilk when she was just a week old (via my own diet and by coating nipple in it). I added spirulina to her bottle once a week when she was about two months. When I finally decided to try out with her first ‘meal’, it was a banana and she only had 1 or 2 tiny spoonfuls. I was so excited to see how she likes it, that I blended up an entire banana, only to realise that this is not something to rush.
For her next few ‘meals’ instead of trying out different foods in a blender, only to see them wasted, I would chew them up in my own mouth like mama-bird and feed her from a spoon. We started this process at five months with just one solid ‘meal’ per day, which quickly escalated to two ‘meals’, that also became a little bigger each day. Then instead of fitting in food in-between her milk feeds, I took one milk feed away and then another and replaced them with watered-down ‘solid meals’.
Now at 7 months, instead of five milk feeds over the course of 24 hours, she has three milk feeds and two to three solid feeds, which are usually a decent bowl-full. Hungry growing girl.
I try not to offer any snacks, so she understands her routine. Only water, which she happily accepts especially after rolling around all over the grass in the park.
I think it’s always best to introduce little ones to solids with a mono diet and slowly add extra ingredients.
Here are the foods Lake enjoyed immediately when they were blended up till smooth for her to swallow:
1. Avocado, flesh only
2. Peas, slightly softened in hot water
3. Apples or pears, cored and peeled
4. Banana, peeled
5. Sweet potato, boiled
6. Watermelon, so juicy, no need to blend, just let them suck
When it comes to recipes, I’ve tried sooooo many varieties, many not even worth mentioning, because the little lady just turned up her nose to them, no matter how hungry she was. There’s been lots of trial and error, but the below recipes are absolute winners in our household.
There are no quantities, because only you will know how much your baby eats. If you find that there’s way too much waste, store it in the fridge and try giving it the next day warmed only by some boiling water.
Usual milk (try seed milk!)
-Peel, core and chop up the apple into the blender, add milk and blend. Experiment with millet, sunflower seed, buckwheat, hemp and pumpkin seed milks or even a mix.
LAKE’S FAVOURITE DINNER
Tomato, organic and canned without anything added
-Blend cooked amaranth and cooked tomatoes till smooth. I use a ratio of 3:1 of amaranth to tomatoes.
Cinnamon, a pinch
-Blend all the ingredients till smooth. As your baby grows and starts to chew, you can grate the apples instead of blending.
-I also buy ready sprouted gluten-free oats from Planet Organic and Rude Health. They are a bit tougher than porridge or smoothie oats, so need longer soaking time in water.
LAKE’S FAVOURITE LUNCH
Ripe Mango, peeled and chopped
-As both fruits are soft, I just mash them together with a fork.
-Mash up all the ingredients together with a fork.
Mixed berries, organic
-Mash up the ingredients with a fork and that’s it.
-Cook quinoa according to packet instruction. I usually soak 1/2 cup overnight, rinse, add 1 cup water, bring to boil, then lower heat and cook for approx 10 minutes or until soft and fluffy. Transfer 4:1 quinoa to yogurt ration into a blender, add a little water if needed and blend till smooth. I kept trying to feed Lake quinoa without blending it up but she really didn’t like the texture and refused it till I tried to smooth it out.
Usual milk (try millet milk!)
-Blend the cooked sweet potato with expressed breastmilk or a seed milk from millet, buckwheat, hemp or sunflower seeds. (You can make your own by blending and straining seeds and water or you can buy a ready milk in Health Food stores, Planet Organic or Wholefoods Market).
-When your baby starts to chew, you may like to just mash everything up with a fork instead of blending.
-I was enjoying a Medicinal Mushroom Latte at work (Tanya’s) when Lake opened her mouth asking for a taste, I gave her a spoonful and she wanted more. It was almost her feeding time and I already had a mashed up avocado ready to go, so I stirred in some of the latte. She gobbled it up like nothing I’ve seen before. Can only be a good thing especially since Cordyceps is amazing for energy, reishi for relaxation and chaga for immunity. Plus all those essential fats for growth and protein for strength, both in the avocado and almonds, only add to the goodness.
Ripe Apricot, de-stoned
– Cook buckwheat to the instructions on the packet. I usually soak 1 cup of groats for 4 hours, rinse them really well (takes me 4-5 go’s to get rid of the gooeyness), sprout for 1 day and then cook in 2 cups of water. After about 10 minutes, they should be nice and soft and you can pour out excess water. Add the buckwheat and chopped apricot to a blender, blend to a smooth paste.
GREEN & GROOVY
Broccoli or spinach, lightly steamed
-Blend everything or if your baby is chewing already, then mash the ingredients with a fork.
MY ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS FOR WEANING
This small personal blender from Tribest! It is small enough to produce perfectly sized baby meals so there is never any waste. It’s also super light and compact, that we travel with it and even make our own smoothies on the road (bonus!).
This bamboo bowl and spoon set! I’ve got a few spoon variations and this is the one that’s most ergonomic and enjoyable for my little one. It also looks and feels lovely for mama (or dada) to use. And the bowl! The bowl! It has the most clever suction base, so it always remains in place no matter how much Lake wants to smack the bowl full of dangerously staining foods.
These easy-to-clean bibs! At first, I was using Lake’s milky fabric bibs, but they are now entirely stained in berry spills and even banana stains which I never realised could be so intense. Now I know. Hope it’s not too late for you. These bibs have sleeves too, so even clothing stays protected.