12 baby meals that are actually made from REAL food! A friend of mine was...
week three – baby weaning Q & A
all your questions, answered … hopefull
Here is the third instalment of my weaning blog …
I’ve tried to cover all the questions that I had, before, and during the weaning process, so I hope you find what you’re looking for too!
When should I start weaning?
The NHS guideline is to start at 24 weeks, and that it what I would advise too. Unless you have another reason to start early then starting at 24 weeks worked for us.
Please consult your doctor or health care professional if you wish to start weaning earlier than this.
How do I balance the amount of milk with the introduction of food?
Whatever your baby is drinking when you start weaning, you want to be aiming for them to have around 500ml of milk per day by the time they are fully weaned (8 weeks) NHS guidelines. So you need to gradually reduce what they have as the food is increased. It also depends on how much they are drinking through the night. When I weaned Effie, she was sleeping through 7pm-7am with no milk feeds during the night, and was on 4 milk feeds a day. If your baby isn’t yet sleeping through the night then the introduction of solids should help with that, and in turn they will hopefully then drop those nighttime milk feeds. If they don’t naturally drop them altogether, I would suggest gradually reducing them aswell, as by this stage an average healthy weight baby should be eating enough in the daytime so that they don’t technically need the milk in the night. They might not think that though, so this is trial and error and you as parents will know what’s best and how to get through the night!
The milk listed below is based on what I did with Effie’s 4 daytime milk feeds, and getting them down to 3 – the milk feed you want to get rid of is the lunchtime one!
Milk! Formula, Cow’s milk, Soya milk, Almond milk, Full fat, semi skimmed, breastmilk ???
Baby formula milk or breast milk should be offered with the baby rice and breakfasts until your baby is 6 months old. Then switch to full fat cows milk and warm if using with food. If your baby is intolerant to dairy or vegan it is fine to introduce all other milks at this point too. Introduce slowly incase of any allergy.
All Milk feeds should still be breastmilk or formula and never cow’s milk, or another substitution, until they are 1 yrs old, because the breastmilk and formula has lots of nutrients that your baby still needs and the other milks do not.
Yes. Your baby now needs water. The more hydrated we are the better our body functions. Everything works better when you are fully hydrated. So start to give your baby water at mealtimes. It’s hard for them to grasp this so ease them in. We started with a tommee tippee baby cup, with two handles but with a teat. Then we replaced the teat with a free flow spout. Now the valve has been put back in and she guzzles water down all day long without it spilling everywhere! We’ve also now upgraded to the slightly bigger OXO cup, mentioned above, which is working perfectly! I would also advise giving them cooled boiled water for the first few months, to give their little tummies time to cope with all of these new expereinces. By 8 months your baboe’s immunity will have increased significantly and you can start to use filtered tap water.
What meal should I start with?
It is completely up to you. All babies have good and bad times of the day and your own individual routines are also very different as parents. I would advise choosing a mealtime where you will have some time and not be in a rush. Mealtimes are very important and they are a great chance to bond with baby, so you don’t want to be rushed. I started with breakfast as Effie was most content at this time. I then introduced supper and lastly lunch as we were always out and about in the day, stopping to have lunch was the trickiest timing wise for me. So long a you end up on 3 mealtimes a day it doesn’t matter which way round you do it. And unlike us baby wont care what she eating when. Although it is a good idea to get their metabolism used to receiving the right kind of foods at the right time of day for their future.
How big are the portions supposed to be?
When people refer to an ice cube, they mean approx. 25ml/25g. Each meal should be roughly this weight amount. As I mention, I use large Tablespoons which amount to the same aswell. By the time baby is 8 months old, they will be eating 100ml/100ml per meal. You can then up this as and when your baby demands. Ellas kitchen pouches for example are 130ml per meal. So at about 8/9 months I would expect baby’s appetite to have reached this amount every meal.
Is there anything I shouldn’t give my baby?
No Salt or Sugars – You shouldn’t give anything with added sugar, or added salt. Check the back of labels to make sure as lots of storecupboard essentials contain salts and sugars, such as stock cubes, mustard, tomato sauce, condiments…
No Honey – Some honey contains bacteria which is harmful to babies.
No whole nuts – Nuts can be chopped or made into nut butter but don’t give whole nuts for fear of choking.
No Low fat foods – Babies need full fat everything for those chubby cheeks!
No Saturated fat – cakes, crisps, biscuits etc
No Shark, swordfish, marlin or raw shellfish
No raw or undercooked eggs
How do I get the puree really smooth?
It’s easy – just add formula or breastmilk! Make up a jug of formula or add expressed breastmilk and add to your other ingredients and blitz. Add it slowly as you wont need much, just enough to loosen the mixture.
Do I need to sterilise the equipment?
At this stage in the babies life it’s likely that they are putting everything and anything in their mouths. If this is the case, then the days of sterilising can be behind you if you choose. Once babies start to explore their surroundings with their mouths there is little point in bothering to sterilise plates, bowls and cutlery. You can even calm down on sterilising the bottles at this point. If you make up your bottles in the morning with boiling water and put the lid straight on, they will self sterilise in the steam. Then simply let them sit until you require them throughout the day. I still take a pre-prepared bottle of water to bed with me and the powdered formula in a milk container all ready for when Effie wakes up… it’s all about making things a little simpler and easier for yourself. And in the next few months even this sterilising can slow down to using filtered tap water.
What should the baby’s meals be made up of?
I live my life with one simple rule for food portions. I aim for every meal to be made up from
50 % vegetable
This gives the body all the nutrients and goodness it needs to run efficiently and healthily. The idea is that when they are fully weaned, every meal follows this rule.
The other very important rule that I believe should be followed is that all veggies should be different colours. Therefore if you are giving two portions of veg twice a day, you should try and use 4 different coloured vegetables to add variety of nutrients to their little growing bodies.
Green – peas, broccoli, courgettes, beans, sprouts, cabbage, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, apple, pear
Orange – Carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, swede, oranges, mandarin
White – parsnip, cauliflower, aubergine, mushrooms, melon, banana
Purple – Red cabbage, beetroot, purple carrots, blueberries, all red berries
So examples of this would be
Breakfast – Quinoa flake porridge with cows milk, pureed banana and berries, and some ground linseeds sprinkled on the top.
Vegetable – white/purple – banana and berries
Protein – Linseed, milk and quinoa
Carbs – Quinoa
Lunch – Pureed – Puy lentils, roasted vegetable cous cous and butternut squash with pumpkin seeds
Vegetable – red and orange – roasted peppers and butternut squash
Protein – Puy lentils, pumpkin seeds
Carbs – Puy lentils, and cous cous
Supper – Pureed Steamed salmon, with pureed peas, courgettes and steamed sweet potato
Vegetable – green – peas, courgette
Protein – Salmon
Carbs – Sweet potato
So now you’re all set. You’ve made the big decisions and got all the equipment. In next week’s instalment we start to look at the introduction of the different food groups and then we get going with the 8 week plan.
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see you soon, holly
love … eat … nourish x