By Kayley From Friendly First Foods
A 30 year old Mummy to Harry (2yrs) and Megan (6 months) and creator of Friendly First Foods. If you’re looking for lazy, healthy meal ideas and a little taste of reality then you’ve come to the right place. Kayley self describes as herself as ‘not an expert -just a mum feeding her family as healthily as she can on as tight a budget as she can.’
A few random bits of advice I wish someone had told me before I started weaning:
- The first time baby eats banana it will look like they have little brown worms in their nappy after. This is totally normal. They aren’t worms. Don’t panic.
- While we’re on the subject of nappies it’s worth knowing, some foods will come out looking almost identical to when they went in!
- It’s ok to give treats every now and then. It’s all part of teaching kids about a balanced diet!
- Baked bean juice, beetroot and blackberry juice stain walls, furniture and clothes. Wipe it off as soon as you can and don’t let baby eat them in their best clothes.
- Cereal sticks to furniture like cement. Wipe it off immediately or you’ll be crying while chiselling it off later.
- Enjoy! Weaning can be so much fun. Forget the mess, embrace the moment and enjoy every second because before you know it they will be weaned and all of the above will be a distant memory.
Top Weaning Tips
Here’s a few of my top tips to make weaning that bit easier:
1. Plan ahead
Making a meal plan then shopping for it means that you don’t have to think after a night of little sleep and you can make sure you have all the ingredients in ready. There’s nothing worse than coming to make dinner with a hungry baby waiting and realising you don’t have half of the ingredients. Planning your meals is a great way of saving money as you can plan to use the same ingredients several times in a week and avoid waste. It’s also great for baby to have lots of exposure to new tastes so they get used to them. Win win!
2. Make too much
Making double portions of your favourite meals is a great idea to save time and effort in the future. Pop the leftovers in a freezer bag and you’ve got yourself a healthy ready meal for those moments when life gets in the way and there just isn’t time to cook! (Or when things are tight at the end of the month. Let’s face it, living on maternity pay can be tough sometimes.)
Another tip would be to bag up leftovers into different sized portions and label them with who they’ll feed. Having baby sized portions frozen separately is really handy for when baby isn’t eating at the same time as you.
3. Buy frozen
Frozen fruit and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh. Freezing helps to seal in the nutrients so baby gets as much goodness as possible. Buying frozen also means less waste. When you’re cooking baby sized portions you don’t use much at a time so having fruit and vegetables frozen means you can take as much or as little as you need without wasting the rest.
4. Use the right tools
With our daughter we did baby led weaning. She fed herself from day one and refused to be spoon fed. Most baby spoons were too big for Megan to feed herself with and she ended up jabbing herself in the face clumsily while she tried to eat yoghurt. We started using the MAM dippers which we absolutely loved. They were the perfect size for Meg’s little hands, the design meant the yoghurt wouldn’t fall off and she couldn’t push the dippers too far in her mouth. Finding what works for your baby is so important when weaning. Follow their lead and find what works for them.
5. Ignore the background noise
There will be lots of people trying to tell you how you ‘should’ wean. Listen to the bits that are useful but tune out the negativity. Do your own research and make your own informed decisions. If you do what’s right for your family then you can be proud that you’ve made the right choices.
If baby doesn’t eat something straight away then don’t panic. It can take a long time for babies to get used to new flavours and textures. If they won’t eat something straight away, don’t worry about it. Take it away and try offering it again another day. In time, they’ll get there. Harry refused to try peppers for the first year of weaning! Eventually he tried them but to be honest, they still aren’t his favourite!
Quick and easy meal ideas
All of these can be made in under 10 minutes, using ingredients you probably have in the cupboard!
1. Tuna pasta
This one is so quick and easy. Simply cook the pasta of your choice and 5 minutes before its ready throw in some frozen mixed veg. Drain, then return to the pan with some tinned tuna and a blob of mayonnaise or natural yoghurt. Mix well and serve.
2. Veggie Omelette
Cut up whatever veggies you have in, I like to use red onion, peppers and courgette. Pop them in a frying pan with a little oil and cook until soft. Whisk an egg per person and pour into the pan. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top then cook until the egg is cooked through.
3. Avocado and egg on toast
This is so easy to make. Make some toast, mash some avocado on top and top with a poached egg! Yum!
4. Hidden veggie pasta sauce
This is great for using up any leftover vegetables. Again, I like to use red onion, peppers and courgette. Cook the vegetables. Add some passata, garlic and mixed herbs. Blitz in a food processor until smooth and pour over pasta for a filling, nutritious pasta sauce.
5. Stuffed jackets
Bake a potato using your usual method. Halve the potato and scoop out the middle. Put the skins under the grill to crisp up and mash the potato up with cream cheese, peas, sweetcorn and chives. Return the filling to the potato skins and serve.
6. Tortilla Pizza
Pop a tortilla wrap under the grill for 3 minutes. Turn over and top with passata, grated cheese and toppings of your choice. Chicken and sweetcorn, ham and pineapple, peppers, literally anything goes! Return under the grill for another 3 minutes until the cheese has melted, serve and enjoy!
For more quick and easy recipe ideas check out my recipe page at: ‘Friendly First Foods‘
The MAM Baby Dipper
Perfect for little hands to hold.
- The Dipper helps promote babies development, and provides early successful experience of learning motivation.
- Supports natural mimicking behaviour and increases babies self confidence.
- Food sticks well – picking up food is easy, even before babies can scoop up. The Dipper’s ribbed design is ideal for little ones who are eager to feed themselves, but not yet able to scoop up food with utensils on their own.
- Safety shield prevents dippers from going too far into the mouth.
- The handles ergonomic size & straight shape make it easy for little hands to grab and hold.