Isabelle will be 25 weeks old tomorrow. She is growing so quickly and as she is starting to move about more (we’re at the getting around the room by rolling around or pushing off with her feet stage!) she needs more than just Mummy’s milk to nourish her.
Before I had Danny (over nine years ago) the “Department of Health’s” advice on weaning was to start from four months old. Once Danny was born, the Department and Health Visitors advice was to hang on until six months old because your babies digestive system is still developing. Personally, I think that every baby is different and you need to listen to your own baby, who will tell you when he/she is ready and needs to start, and of course, if you’re not sure – take advice.
As Isabelle was nearing six months old, I started noticing the signs. She was getting hungrier and waking for extra feeds during the night. This can just be a “growth spurt” and she may have just needed extra breast milk, but even with extra feeds she still seemed hungrier.
So, how did I know Isabelle was ready to have her first taste of baby rice?
She can sit up and hold her head up independently to be spoon fed.
She is always chewing her toys, blanket, her fingers, my fingers, anything she can get her hands on!
She can reach and grab any of the toys she wants accurately, I’d also started letting her “play” (under supervision) with her plastic bowl and spoon and she could hold a spoon and put it to her mouth, and her cheeks, and her forehead…
So, I decided she was giving me all the signs and it was definitely time to put some food into that bowl!
I started off as I have with all my children with some baby rice for breakfast. I waited until the other three were off at school, so the house was quiet and Isabelle could have all my attention.
I made it up with a little expressed milk and begin to feed it to her. She gave me a startled look as the spoon and food entered her mouth, then she made a face and looked very unsure, then she looked at me with such trust in her eyes and started to chew the mixture in her toothless mouth.
Then, once she’d had that initial taste, she wanted more! Excitement in her eyes, doing her mad bouncing up and down dance, now it gets harder (and messier!) to feed her. This time as I went to feed her, I wasn’t fast enough and she grabbed the spoon herself from me, she did try to aim it for her mouth but in her haste, she had splattered baby rice all over her cheek, I laughed and so did she. I gave her a clean unused spoon so she would not take the feeding spoon from me again, and we were off. She polished off her first bowl of baby rice so I knew she was ready to start her weaning to solid foods.
It doesn’t always go like that, if they’re not ready, they will spit the food out, cry, demand milk etc. If they’re not ready, stop trying, and try days or weeks later when you feel they are.
I gave her just baby rice for breakfast for the next three days, then it was time to introduce something new. I cooked and pureed a couple of apples and a couple of pears. The next day she had pear puree with baby rice, she loved it. The following day we tried apple puree with baby rice, again it was a big success. I then also introduced pureed banana (made fresh) to her baby rice. So, breakfasts were sorted. She started to have a fulfilled mid morning sleep again now that her belly was full.
After a week of baby rice, I tried her with Plum “Babies First Four Grain Porridge”, it’s still easily digested, but is more nutritious than baby rice. She truly does enjoy every “taste, splat and dribble”!
I have bought the other two pouches to bring with me in her changing bag in case we ever get caught out and I’m not home in time to make her dinner.
She also loves to feed herself wedges of fruit, such as banana and pear.
So, next I started in introduce “dinner” to her. I pureed sweet potato, carrots and parsnip and froze these for her to have for purees for dinner time.
I feel it’s important to feed Isabelle at the same time each day, where I can as Isabelle now “asks” and expects her solids for breakfast and dinner. The only thing we have changed is she has her breakfast feed earlier now that she doesn’t get distracted from the other kids when eating.
Now she is used to eating fruit and vegetables, our next stage, is to introduce other foods to her, such as meat, fish and chicken; rice, noodles or pasta; lentils and pulses and yogurt and fromage frais.
Even though, I have been through this stage before, I still worry about it. It’s so important, and every mum wants to give their babies the best nutritious start in life and not end up later with fussy eaters!
So, I was so excited when I found out that Plum have started a Plum Cookery School!
Here’s what they say about it:
To take the worry out of weaning, Plum is launching the first ever Plum Cookery School. The new cookery school opens its doors in June to offer mums exciting recipe development classes and informal chats with child food experts. Meanwhile, their babies will get to taste-test a range of new recipes designed especially to give little ones the best possible introduction to the wonderful world of food. The selected cookery school attendees will also be the stars of Plum’s all new weaning videos, a guide to help parents across the country with their weaning worries.
Celebrity chef, Rachel Allen is working with Plum as part of the Cookery School. She’ll be on hand to give her recipe suggestions, answer any cooking-related questions and tell her own anecdotes about weaning her little ones. Together with Rachel, parents will even get the chance to work together to help to create the next range of Plum recipes. Hosting the Plum Cookery School will be child food expert, Beverley Glock, the author of successful book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods. Beverley has 11 years’ experience of cooking with mums and babies.
Wow, how lucky these mums will be to have these experts alongside them as they go through this stage in their children’s lives! It would also be a lovely opportunity to make more Mummy and baby friends!
I feel I could really benefit with time with Rachel Allen and Beverley Glock. I’m a vegetarian mum, who encourages her children to eat meat if they want to, but I would like advice on making yummy meat recipes for Isabelle during her Stage 2 of weaning. I know my veggie baby meals are yummy as I can taste them myself!
I would also like to help make a super nutritious, veggie baby meal for weaning babies.
Right, I’m off to feed Isabelle some sweet potato puree then head off to Folly Farm for the day!
Disclaimer: For writing these Blog Post I can enter into a competition at Tots 100 to win my own place at Plum Cookery School, along with lots of other prizes, including a video camera so I can take lots of videos of Isabelle’s weaning journey including tips for other mums!