When Freddie was around five months, I was feeling pretty desperate. We had decided to see a paediatrician privately due to his Silent Reflux which was still not controlled. After a brief trial on some new medication, our lovely paediatrician recommended that we begin weaning him. There is conflicting advice/evidence as to whether weaning earlier can improve silent reflux or not, but for us, weaning combined with Freddie learning to sit up, made a massive difference to his overall happiness and wellbeing.
I had actually given Freddie his first taste of food (mashed up banana!) a week before that appointment as he had been grabbing food from our plates and showing a real interest at meal times. Even after being given the go ahead, I was reluctant to start because I had always been pretty set on baby-led weaning. Everything I had read had suggested that baby-led weaning (where the baby essentially eats whole foods so no purees etc) was the best way to wean and weaning before six months was not recommended. I started Freddie and I’s weaning journey feeling quite guilty and embarrassed that I was weaning early and the ‘wrong’ way. I really, really wish I hadn’t felt that way. Firstly because Freddie took to weaning straight away and also because I really like mixed weaning and feel it was the right approach for us.
How did we start? (5 months- 6 months)
When you begin weaning, it’s advisable to introduce foods slowly. This is so that you can identify any potential allergies and allow your babies body to get used to digesting something other than milk! I started with very smooth purees as Freddie was one month younger than the recommended age. For the first two and a half weeks I introduced a new vegetable puree (or fruit but mainly vegetables!) at lunch time, every three days. We started with banana, carrot, sweet potato, pear, peas, and parnsip. Around week three, I introduced a new fruit or vegetable every other day and then at week four I began to mix two flavours together. I prepared the purees in advance just using this Russell Hobbs cheap hand blender and used these NUK ice cube trays- the silicone makes it really easy to pop the cubes out once they are frozen. You can then store them in ziplock bags so it’s easier to grab a portion out whenever you need one. For first tastes, I recommend only making small batches because I ended up with a lot left over once we transitioned to mixed flavours. These Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes pouches were also really useful. Particularly for things like peas, which I really could not be bothered to spend time mashing and pureeing! Because Freddie couldn’t quite sit up right at the time, I used this Chicco bouncer with multiple recline settings to ensure he was still safely upright.
Moving On (6 months-7 months)
Once Freddie was six months old he was having porridge with fruit puree for breakfast (I like this Organix one because it’s purely oats, dried fruit and vitamins) as well a mixed puree for lunch. By now, I had started to introduce pulses into Freddie’s purees such as chickpeas, lentils and beans (great source of protein!) as well as a little bit of dairy such as cheddar cheese and herbs/spices too. For recipe inspiration I really like the Ella’s Kitchen app, Annabel Karmel app and the Baby Led Weaning app. Having them all on my phone was really convenient for meal planning and shopping! I also introduced finger foods around this time, starting with cooked carrot, sweet potato and apple and then progressing onto to ripe pear, mango, cucumber and pear. Freddie took really well to finger foods in addition to the puree, and it didn’t seem to confuse him at all. He worked out how to feed himself surprisingly quickly although with a fair amount of gagging which is to be expected when they first try finger foods. Channel mum have a really great online Paediatric First Aid course (including dealing with choking!)- definitely worth watching. I also began offering him water, he prefers to drink from an open cup but obviously can’t do that yet so I found this Tommee Tippee beaker which he has taken to really well. At six months, Freddie could sit up so we purchased this IKEA high chair. It’s all one piece so really easy to clean and I love how minimalistic the design is- bonus points for being really inexpensive too!
When out and about I use mainly pre-made pouches as it’s just so much more convenient, my favourite brand is Babease because they have a high vegetable content compared to other brands as well as varied and interesting flavour combinations. As a side note, it is always worth checking the ingredient list on the pouches you buy. Some other brands advertise a pouch as say ‘Broccoli, Carrot and Apple’ but when you check the ingredients it actually contains say 52% apple instead. At six months I didn’t take finger foods out with me, it was a bit too intimidating but we did occasionally give Freddie these Ella’s Kitchen Puffs (which he loves!).
What are we doing now (7 months+)?
When Freddie turned seven months old, we introduced the third meal of the day at around five pm. So far, he doesn’t eat much at this meal but I can tell he is getting hungry around this time and appreciates having a snack at least. Because this is just before bath time I offer finger food alongside the puree and he takes great delight in getting as messy as possible! We love this Mamas & Papas seat because I can keep an eye on him whilst I cook and then tidy up whilst he eats. I also introduced meat and fish at seven months, starting with salmon and then chicken. Although not at dinnertime because I have read that having a protein around this time can cause night wakings and any extra sleep is always appreciated! As we are just getting used to adding an extra meal, I have been using homemade puree for lunch and then half a pouch for dinner time. This takes some of the stress out of preparing three meals a day! Whilst on our recent holiday to Center Parcs we actually ordered for him for the first time; just cooked vegetables but it was really fun to have him eat alongside us. Finger food wise, he has now also tried toast, pitta bread and pasta (which were a big hit!) and I am going to introduce shredded chicken and salmon soon too.
Two months on from the start of our weaning journey, I am glad we have done mixed weaning. I feel satisfied that Freddie is actually eating the food and his Silent Reflux is so much better. I think eventually we will move to purely baby led but at the moment I think it’s helpful that he is happy to be spoon fed as well as eat finger foods himself.
What approach have you chosen for weaning? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading,