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Friday, 7 March 2014

Weaning

I've sort lost track where I am. I've been away quite alot in the last fortnight, so haven't had two full weeks to report on our meals. However, the big news is that we've started weaning E. He's over 24 weeks old now, can sit up and was showing lots of interest in food. Well I say he was showing interest in food, he certainly seemed transfixed when we ate, but as he puts everything in his mouth I'm not entirely sure this counts!

We're going with baby led weaning - we did this with N too. It's messy, but fun and easy peasy and cheap. There's no need to buy specialist baby food and no need to prepare any purees. E just eats what we eat. We started Tuesday lunch time and this is what he's had so far.

Tuesday - Homemade houmous on rice cakes for lunch. A few pieces of mozarella pasta and some undressed tomato and cucumber from the salad for dinner.

Wednesday - banana mashed on a piece of rice cake for breakfast, avocado and a cherry tomato for lunch (I just cut a wedge of avocado off to suck straight from the skin). Some shepherd's pie (filling and mash) squidged on a rice cake, steamed carrots and a piece of frozen banana for tea

Thursday - peanut butter and banana mashed on a rice cake for breakfast. Avocado and vegan mayonaise mini sandwiches and plain home popped popcorn for lunch. Pasta in nut bolognaise sauce for dinner.

Friday - vegetarian pate on toast fingers for breakfast. Plain tofu and houmous on rice cakes followed by a piece of satsuma for lunch. Tarka dhal and rice on rice cakes and a small piece of home made onion bhaji for dinner.

E chasing satsuma and carrot
Most of the food ends up smeared on the table, E's bib or on the floor, but that's ok. Milk remains the most important food a baby eats for the first year - food for fun until they're one, the saying goes. This weaning malarky is about learning about taste, texture and importantly how to chew. I read recently that when you spoon feed a baby they learn to swallow first then chew, but with baby led weaning it's the other way round and that means the baby is in control. Our daughter was a brilliant eater (well until she found sweets sometime around the age of two) and I think that's because she was allowed to control the food herself - we certainly never had any fights over food with her as a baby or refusals to eat.

Check out the baby led weaning website for more info or Jill Rapsley's book on the subject.

My top tip would be don't worry about the mess and think of rice cakes, toast and celery as edible cutlery and plates. I will move on to splodges of mashed potato by themselves, but at this stage, when E is just learning and experimenting with getting the food to his mouth it helps if he has something edible to convey the food (I've already dispensed with plates as he tried to eat them too). 

I never cook vegetables, potatoes or pasta in salted water, I don't add salt to mash potato either and will from now on leave it out of stews etc (I had just started adding a bit back in now N's a bit older). Salt can be added at the table for people like me who have no taste buds left. This means the whole family can eat the same foods together. 

I did steam extra carrots on Wednesday for dinner and saved them for a quick snack later on - this means I have cooled food handy at a moment's notice too. That's the trickiest thing really, making sure the food for E is cool enough, but as long as I serve his food first it's normally not an issue. 

As I made my own houmous (so I know what's in it) and E loves it, I thought I'd include the recipe.

Half a can of chick peas
3 tablespoons of tahini
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Glug of olive oil
Water

Put the first five ingredients in a blender or food processor and whizz. 

Add enough water to reach a consistency you like.


Store in a pot

This makes about the same as a regular supermarket tub.

Enjoy!

n.b. sorry about the orientation of the photo - I can't seem to rotate it and make it stick and haven't got time to sort it out now. Will try and amend later.

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