Baby Weaning: My Top Tips
Every time I show anything to do with weaning or when I share what I am feeding Anabelle Ivy on Snapchat I seem to get a crazy amount of screenshots and so many questions, so for ages now I have been meaning to get around to writing a quick blog post on our weaning journey. (My Snapchat username is: thestylefairy if you fancy following me)
Now, let me start by saying Anabelle Ivy has/ had severe silent reflux (she is doing really well at the moment thank god) so weaning was not easy for us, to put it mildly!! So this blog post in ways is aimed at mums who may have babies with reflux and are unsure where to start or are looking for ideas or even just to hear from someone else who has gone through it too.
Although in saying that there are some generic tips too which hopefully other mammies will find useful. I didn’t opt for baby led weaning – we do a little here and there now that her reflux is under control, but off course so many choose to do full BLW and that’s a brilliant option too, just whatever suits you.
Also, just want to say – this is just our personal journey – this is not by any means medical/ professional advice of any kind, this is just how I did things and what worked for us, so please, please don’t take this as gospel. It’s just one first time mamma’s journey!
A brief word on our journey
Anabelle Ivy had really, really bad silent reflux – we tried everything to help her; from chiropractors to osteopaths, religious cures, you name it, we did it, in the end it was medication and time that healed things for us. I think this is a blog post for another day though… Anyway, long story short, we were advised to wean early as many reflux babies thrive on solids.
Please note: the recommended guidelines to begin weaning is 6 months. We were advised however to start sooner, so at 19 weeks I started and it DID NOT go well… at all. I was really stressing out over it, some foods caused her reflux (which had been reasonably controlled) to flare up.. badly!! And I felt like we were back to square one with her.
Foods that were a major no no for us included; baby rice, carrot, apples, pears, (basically all fruit as it was too acidic for her system). So I stopped solids totally, I was so nervous about stopping, but in fact it was the best thing I could have ever done for her. I gave it a break of about 4 weeks or so before trying again. The break gave her time to let the reflux settle and get her system back to base.
The best advice I got through to the whole process was ‘there is no rush’ (from a fellow reflux mammy – Thanks Annie). I think I had myself so obsessed about weaning and doing it ‘by the book’ that I lost sight of everything and that, as we are always told… every baby is different. The reality is, well in my humble opinion, there is NO rush, you won’t create bad habits in those early days and lastly, I learned the importance of following my babies lead.
When you start to wean is up to you – Follow your babies lead, and keep in mind, there is no major rush, all in good time 🙂 Pouches/ ready made baby food are really handy, especially if you are on holidays or away from home, I just prefer to make up everything fresh and freeze it for her. Another main reason for not using jars/ pouches was they all seemed to contain foods she couldn’t eat, which was very frustrating at the time. For babies with Reflux and/or CMPI it can be tricky so your nearly as well just making you own. (now she is doing better we have more flexibility to use pouches etc when we need to)
I like to set aside some time, usually on a Sunday evening and do up big batches of food, when you are in the groove just go with it and make up loads so you can then freeze them. I make up several portions of each food at a time. That I then just mix and match with each other. As we progress more, I’ll start making up more “dinners”. This week so far we’ve done savoury mince (which was a big hit). But by doing up big batches like this I feel it takes out all the hassle and work then for the week(s) ahead.
This kinda comes under this section too and because I get asked so often which highchair we went for, I thought it best to include again. We went for the Stoke Tripp Trapp in wheat yellow with the sweet butterflies cushion. I have to say I love it, it is certainly a pricey option but I love that it will last for years, and extends as baby grows. It’s also just so neat for small spaces which is great.
Beaba Baby Cook
This has been an absolute god send – Definitely one of my best buys. It is so neat and small, it’s easy to clean, doesn’t have loads of parts (thank god) and the best bit – It steams the food (steaming is best way to cook babies food as it keeps in all the nutrients as opposed to boiling) and it then blends/ pureés the food. Amazing machine!!
I know I said before I was a bit too fixated with manuals and books, and I was… So I’ve ditched the “how to” type stuff i.e. you must do this on day 1, and on day 3 give this and bla bla bla; all too regimented for us (particularly with reflux) and didn’t suit my baba. BUT in saying that I do love my book for recipie ideas and general advice/ tips. So, I have the Anabelle Karmal Meal Planner and it is brilliant for giving you some inspo and ideas. I always have it handy so I can have a peak through.
For those who like a more regimented approach that my “makey uppy’ shenanigans then you should have a look at the Gina Forde weaning book – it is very structured much like her other books, but it certainly has some great advice and tips too.
I have showed these so much on Snapchat and honestly I think I get asked nearly every day where I got them. Lol… And actually it was a lovely reader who told me about these to begin with. First off, it is best to use ice cube trays to freeze your food as it’s a good guide as to how much to give your baby, so start one one cube and build it up.
I like these ones because they are a good size plus I like that you can cover them over with a lid in the freezer plus they stack great on top of each other. There are loads of places that stock great ice cube trays such as Heatons, Dunnes Home, Tesco etc. I just like these particular ones..
So, I steam my food, let’s say cauliflower (Tip use the cooking juice to make more moist when you want to blend) then I put them in the oxo trays (above), let it cool, then into the freezer, the next day then I remove from the trays and put in labelled (food name and date) freezer bags. I know to lots of mums this sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but I was so clueless when I started that I would have loved to read something like this…
Clevamama Freezer/ Storage Pots
These are handy for powder formula when out and about and also I used at the beginning for defrosting one/two cubes (she is now obviously on way more). They are also handy for making up complete dinners – then you can just pop them straight into the microwave to defrost.
Bowls & spoons
I am not overly fussy with bowls – I have a few sets from Tommee Tippee and they are perfect – All the big shops have good selections. Spoons I tend to be a bit more picky, I hate those really lightweight ones or plasticky ones or ones that are too flat. I use the Tomme Tippee heat sensitive ones (they turn yellow if food is too hot). I also have these Dreambaby heat sensing spoons and like them.
Sippy cup – Ah dear lord the sip cup, to say she is FASCINATED with her cup is an understatement, she loves it. Again, not fussy here and opted for a simple Tomme Tippee one.
As all us mums know, weaning is a messy business. I find wipeable bibs the best – I have a few from Nuby. The likes of this one is ideal.
FOODS TO START WITH
The mainstream foods to begin with would be apple, pear, carrot, and/or baby rice, but unfortunately they were all the things that caused us serious problems with reflux so it was a case of trial and error for us.
To begin with potatoes ended up being our champion and after that avocado. I didn’t rush things at all, and just gave her a small bit in the mornings and really slowly built it up. If you have a baby with reflux or silent reflux – try opting for root veggies and more bland tasting options, these worked for us;
- sweet potatoe
- butternut squash
- baby porridge (ready break though worked well for us)
For non reflux babies then you are able to be much more adventurous with various fruits, rice etc etc. Always give a new food in the morning so you can watch for any potential adverse reactions through the day. Give one food for a 3 day period at least before moving on to a new food.
I took things even more slowly than this, after the first weaning experience was so bad and caused her such a reflux flare up (and such pain), I dint want to rush her.
For other reflux mammies, I found this traffic light food guide really helpful. But use with caution and your own instinct, e.g. pear maybe in the green zone but it was a total no no for us, avocado was in the amber yet it was a key safe food for us for a long time.
As I’ve said I took things very slowly and didn’t even begin mixing foods until I had a substantial list of “safe” foods. So after the above list, I introduced things like pumpkin, parsnip, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, peas, leek, courgette, and then moved on to things like eggs, bread, cous cos, pasta, lentils, chicken, fish (cod), and mince. We still have to be very careful when it comes to fruit and it is only in the last couple of weeks she has been able to tolerate any fruit (she is now happily and without pain able to take peaches, pears and bananas… hooray)
After a food had been tolerated, pain free for a few days, I then would give that food in the evening. So I started with one spoon feed a day early in the morning, then a second spoon feed (after maybe 3 weeks) in the evenings and then eventually introduced a third “lunch” feed in the early afternoon. Now her feeding times for solids are circa 8am brekkie/ 12pm lunch/ 5pm dinner.
It is only recently we began getting a little more adventurous. But to begin with, with my expanding list of safe foods, I began mixing flavours. Once I have everything frozen, it’s so easy to just defrost a few cubes & mix and match the flavours. So popular combinations here were;
- Butternut squash & sweet potatoe (also nice with peas)
- Leek & Potatoe
- Broccoli & Cauliflower
- Sweet potatoe and spinach (with peas too)
- Potatoe & pretty much anything
- Banana & Avocado
More recently we are having lots more fun and experimenting with new tastes and combinations. Popular dishes at the moment are;
- Pasta with cauliflower and cheese
- Chicken, peas, potatoes & carrot with gravy (made from baby stock cubes I bought in Boots)
- Savoury mince (Round steak minced, celery, carrots, peas, leek, beek stock, tomato puree and dash of Worcestershire sauce and allow stew for hour – so yummy). Serve with mashed potatoes
TASTY & SIMPLE RECIPIES IDEAS
* Click on the recipes below for full details*
- Chicken, Squash & Spinach Pureé
- Cheesey Leek, Sweet Potatoe & Cauliflower
- Baby’s First Bologanise
- Braised beef with sweet potatoe purée
- Baby’s First Chicken Curry (Suitable from 9 months on – I haven’t tried this yet)
- Chicken, Parsnip, Carrot & Swede
- Pasta Shells with Salmon & Broccoli (haven’t tried yet)
- Macaroni Cheese (i just made up my own version here)
- Popeye Pasta (This is yummy)
Where she states to use her own pasta (in the recipes above) I just use wither baby pasta (bought on Boots online) OR spagettit cut up into little piece or those tiny small shells.
For loads more recipes check out Anabelle Karmal’s website here, it’s very handy as you can filter it by the age of your baby and it brings up so many recipe ideas.
A sample day with us at the moment would be;
Breakfast: 1/2 a Weetabix (mixed with banana or another fruit purée), Readybreak (I add cinnamon) and I mix in various fruit purées (well for us we are still only getting used to fruits because of her reflux)
Lunch: cheese omelette or scrambled egg & soldiers or any of the above mentioned combinations. Today we had cod with butternut squash, peas and sweet potato.
Dinner: Again, a variation on any of the above mentioned ones, but toady will be savoury mince with mashed potatoes and carrot purée
Hope you found this useful 🙂
And if you are on the horrible reflux journey – Stay strong, chin up, this too will pass. Although I know, having gone through it, when you hear that you just keep asking, when, when will this pass? But it will and it does. We have good days, some great days and some down right awful days. But we’ll get there.
‘Til next time
Naomi & Anabelle Ivy xxx