Saturday, 10 December 2016

Part 2 - Weaning Foods for babies 6 months and above - General Tips and Ideas


You can start giving water a couple of weeks before you intend to introduce solids. I did that purely because i wanted to start my lo at meal times with a cup instead of a sippy cup or bottle. So we had some training with a cup prior to the actual start of weaning, so we are not struggling with too many new things at the same time.
For the actual food, start with one meal a day and gradually work up to 3, within a month or 2. You are essentially substituting a solid meal for a usual breast feed or formular. Fruit, Veggies or cereal doesn't really matter.

Start with smooth mash/pureed and after a  couple of  months graduate to mashed with soft lumps before going for chopped-up soft pieces by the time baby is about a year.

Single flavours of fruit or veg are preferable at the start as it is easier to spot and identify any allergies to any foods as opposed to offering a mix of food and not knowing what they are reacting to. 

Also focus more on the veggies as it may take a while for babies to get used to the new taste. The fruits are naturally sweet so babies tend to take these easier.

Begin with a time that works best for you. I am not a morning person so i couldn't start weaning in my morning zombie mode! So we did it at lunchtime which was anytime between 12:00 and 15:00

If you want to also do baby led weaning later on and give finger foods, i would say do it just before they have their evening bath as it can be quite messy.

Just a few teaspoons at the start is considered a success. Then offer baby's usual milk afterwards. This way as they eat more solids, they drink less milk.

Also don't do it when the babies are super hungry or cranky as you will be wasting your time.

If the baby is already whimpering or crying offer breast or milk first, and then solids afterwards.
As a rough guide the timetable below was when we had established 3 meals a day:
6:00 - 7:30 Wake up/ early morning milk feed
8:30 - 9:30: breakfast - cereal/ fruit puree
11:00 - 11:30: milk feed
13:00 - 13:30 : lunch - usually containing meat or fish with a puree afterwards some times.
15:00 - 15:30 : milk feed
17:30 - 18:00: dinner - depending on my lazyness factor but mainly veg based.
18:30 -19:30 : milk feed after bath
20:30 - 21:30 : final milk feed before bed

You can tweak to suit yourself. I try to give fruit at least once a day. If we dont have it with our breakfast cereal, we have it as second course at lunch or we use it at dinner time with some baby rice.
At about 7 months i introduced formula especially for our last night feed as i noticed my little madam usually sleeps off on the breast. So i wanted to break that habit. She has her bottle of formula, burp and i put her down to sleep. After loads of rolling about she finally sleeps.

Then I gradually substituting one of the breast milk feeds to formula or expressed milk from a bottle. So in the first 2 weeks for instance, her 11:00 ish pre nap feed was substituted with formular, after about 2 -3 weeks, i will substitute another of her breast feeds at another time.... say afternoon nap feed. And so on and so forth
By 8 months we were down to breast feeding only 3 times a day, early morning, lunch time and after evening bath. I started giving bottle for her last feed as well as i wanted to break the habit to nursing to sleep.

At 9 months it was down to 2 feeds a day, and it wasnt a set feed. If she work up late, we skipped the morning feed and did it at lunch time for instance, and at other times we gave formular instead at lunch time or after her bath.
By 10 months the feed were pretty much random, sometimes once a day, sometimes twice. And when we decided to stop i started taking a small bottle of dry formular to bed, with hot water in a flask. If she wakes very early and is fussy, she has this. If not, we have normal breakfast.

We also have beaker of water so if she wakes at night, i give her some water and pat her back to sleep, she has to cry, tears, catarrh and saliva cry to get a night milk feed. ( Brutal I hear you say but it has worked for me, as we say in Naija-speak "I cannot come and go and die")

Some cooking tips:
For meat or poultry, i just pick a piece out of my usual pot when it is boiled. Remove skins, and any fatty bits before blending/ grinding. For fish i just steam a piece when i need to.

for other foods I take my baby's food out of the main pot before i add salt, stork cubes (maggi, knorr, ajino and the likes), pepper and  palm oil if the  recipe calls for it. So things like, beans, yam, spinach, amala, poundo, okra were introduced. 

This is so that she gets used to the household food. ( as i dont want her to go and get used to cauliflower cheese from hipp and the like meanwhile amala and yam  is the  menu  for the rest of the  household. I cant set myself up for future food drama. My policy is one house - one pot) so far it has  worked. 

To blend any food, you probably need to add a few spoons of water to blend.  if it gets  to waterry, dont  worry you could  thicken it back up with some baby rice or mashed  potato.  it  wont  change the taste. 

After mashing or blending i store in small individual serving quantities, so i can mix and match on the day as i feel.  For younger  babies  this  can be  the size of  ice cube,  for an older baby a  small bowl with a  tight cover  will do for  complete meals.  
If you are  making  frozen ingredients   to be  mixed later for example  potato only,  mixed  peppers or  carrots only  you may want to stick to an ice tray for freezing . Remember to wrap your  ice tray  in cling film, before  freezing, and make sure it is at the top shelf of the freezer, and not  with any raw meat or fish  products. (we don't want contamination and food  poisoning)

To prepare the food i just pop what i want onto a container, cover it and steam until heated through.( trying to reduce my use of microwave for baby food)

Also i got a few glass jar baby foods ( heinz and cow& gate  or orders), so i reuse the glass jars and covers to steam the food in when i can, so i also reduce my use of plastic to heat food in as much as i can. As glass is inert and doesn't leach out any nasties when subjected to heat as some plastics do!.

Then also some cow and gate  or  other brand food jars. Just a few for out and about days or when food inspiration fails me.

Please do not leave babies alone un-supervised with food at any time. Choking is a real hazard and a  quick response can  save  lives.  

Part 3 will discuss some recipes and combinations and how to manage some baby sized portions.

Thanks for reading!

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