Weaning provides the perfect opportunity for developing a healthy and balanced diet for your baby and laying the foundations for a great relationship with food, says a survey of mums across the UK, launched in conjunction with ‘The Organix Little Book of Weaning’. It be might be messy and challenging, but weaning can also be exciting and full of fun and laughter.
Whilst 94% of mums believe you need to introduce a new food again and again to help your baby become familiar with the look, feel and taste of it, the reality is when it comes to mealtimes, and children are hungry it is easier to give them known favourites. Only a fifth of parents will try a new food five times, and only 13% try more than 15 times.
Try our nutritionist’s 10 top tips:
- Have fun and play with food: Encourage your baby to experiment – to mash, lick, squash and squeeze, to examine, to play, to try and to taste their food and its flavours.
- Sit and eat with your baby and let them share from your plate: Meal times are all about being sociable, sharing good food, talking about it and catching up.
- Don't give up – try, try and try again! It can take up to 14 attempts before a baby learns to like a new food, especially the more challenging ones, so don’t worry if your little one grimaces or refuses certain foods at first.
- Offer two courses: A savoury food followed by a sweet one is a great way to offer a wide range of tastes and provides variety and interest for your little one.
- Let baby enjoy the real taste of vegetables: Don’t mask challenging tastes with easier ones, let your baby enjoy the real taste of veggies without the sweetness of fruit, or they may find them difficult to accept later on. For example, don’t mix broccoli with apple purée.
- Experiment with different tastes: Babies often enjoy bitter or sour tastes such as lemon, kiwi, oranges, peppers and spinach.
- Be adventurous with what you serve: It can be too easy to keep serving the same things.
- How much to eat: Let your baby decide when they’ve had enough, rather than encouraging them to clear their plates. You can offer an extra course of a yogurt or fruit-based pudding to get in a greater range of foods and nutrients.
- How much milk: Whichever way you decide to wean, either breast milk or formula milk continues alongside solid food as it still provides most of the nutrients your baby needs - as the amount of food your baby eats increases, the amount of milk they take will decrease.
- Trust Mother Nature if you’re worried about choking: The gag reflex is further forwards in babies’ mouths than in adults’ mouths. So, if their food slips towards the back of their mouths, they cough it up – they’ll do this frequently while learning to manage new textures.
The Organix Little Book of Weaning can be downloaded free of charge at www.organix.com/littlebookofweaning
. Weaning is about having an adventure and helping to build your baby’s confidence and enjoyment with food. As well as the Organix Little Book of Weaning at www.organix.com/discover
you’ll find more advice and creative resources to help your baby enjoy the shape, texture and taste of new foods, as well as activity sheets and videos.