Some notes on weaning...

The first months of becoming a parent are ones filled with a depth of love that you could never have comprehended but also a level of chaos that you can never prepare for as you attempt to understand your new tiny companion and get into a whole new rhythm and way of life. As the four month mark approaches and you think you might be able to relax you suddenly realise that this little baby will not be surviving on milk alone for the rest of their lives and the weaning journey must begin.

Its yet another minefield of the unknown- when should you start? What should you start with? And how? Purees or baby-led? As a chef so many of my friends expected me to be all over it but instead I felt a definite sense of fear and, possibly, a greater need to make sure that my children grow to love food as much as I do. 

When.. What... How?

The advice on when to start weaning is variable and dependant on what method you want to use but  I started  both my daughters at 5 and half months because by then it was virtually impossible to stop them grabbing my food and they could sit up straight and with no assistance in a highchair so it made sense to me that they were ready to go. 

Before I began to wean my first daughter I did a little reading up on both spoon-fed and baby led weaning and felt that both have their advantages so decided on a combination - offering up soft fruits and veggies but also feeding a small (or not so small) portion of purée. This combination has really worked for both me and my two daughters as they both just got too frustrated only having finger food which clearly sometimes didn't make it into their mouths at 6 months-so the puree filled their bellies leaving them to happily play wth the finger food and when this did make it into their mouths- the achievement and pure delight on their faces was, and still is, 100% worth the mess!   

With my first, my doctor advised me to start off with porridge which seemed to me a gentle, creamy introduction into the world of food however with my second daughter, and feeling far more experienced and sure in my own decisions, I decided  simple fruit and veggies were a better option to begin both in terms of offering a wider array of tastes, textures and nutrients. Most people advise offering vegetables before fruits (and even holding back fruits for a few weeks to avoid your child developing a sweet tooth) but I'm not sure on the reality of this as I've offered both from the beginning and my oldest daughter still adores both and will often choose savoury over sweet when given the option. (Plus- there really isn't an easier first food than banana!)

My most important piece of advise though is to relax and enjoy feeding your child- you don’t need to follow a proscriptive list of first foods just give them what is available (and seasonal if possible) and they will let you know what works for them and, in turn, this will work for you.