One of my best friends brought Rex a bib emblazoned with “foodie in training” ~ and I can safely say with Ross and I as his mum and dad Rex is just that!!
This post is hopefully going to be an informative one, for any new mummys who are confused about what and how to encourage baby to try some food, other than milk 😊. This is all from mine and Rexy Roos experience over the last month…..
Our approach to parenting with Rex has been gentle and natural, and this is even more so when it comes to him eating. One of my great hopes is that Rex grows into a happy, healthy, gentle giant who can recognise nourishing, nutritious food and enjoy it. For these reasons we decided a baby led path to eating was right for us and Rex.
Baby led weaning makes introducing solid food easier and more enjoyable for the whole family and encourages baby to become confident and happy at mealtime so. There is no need for purée or spoon feeding.
For his first 6 months of life I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed Rex exclusively. This was something hugely important to me as there are so many benefits to breastfeeding. It was the right thing for us. Alongside this I started giving Rex spring onions to chew on when the teething began as well as a remedy for constipation caused by teething (the amount of dribble teething some times causes means that babies are often left constipated with not enough moisture to create and help Poo!), both on the advice of Rexys Auntie Vera, who really has been a true guiding light to us.. This remedy is made as follows: soak 2TBSP organic basmati rice in 4 fluid ounces of boiled, cooled water overnight. Then drain away the rice and add 8 drops of lemon juice. I gave this to Rex on a little spoon. He also had a few crudités of cold cucumber and carrot from time to time to help ease the pain. It was important for me to wait offering him food properly until he was 6 months as this time allowed his little digestive system the chance to mature, offered him greater protection from illness through the development of immune factors and beneficial gut bacteria, plus it meant he was developmentally ready: he was almost sitting up by himself, able to support his head, was able to grab things and had started the big baby exploration tactic of putting EVERYTHING he could lay his hands on into his mouth.
The day Rex turned 6 months old he was RARING TO GO! And so go go go we did! As I mentioned above, we felt baby led “weaning” was right for Rex. It is actually completely natural for breastfed babies to go with the flow and feed themselves as, don’t forget, they have spent so far their entire lives deciding when they need milk and how much they need! I also liked the fact it would mean Rex could learn to feed himself, handle food of a variety of textures and really get to grips with as many foods in their whole, natural state as possible. I have avoided pre packed baby foods as so many of them are full of crap, mainly sugar. I find this so upsetting!!! Why do manufacturers feel a main ingredient, or ANY ingredient in a baby food should be sugar?!?!?! Farley’s Rusks, for example, describe on their packaging that they are packed with “7 key vitamins and minerals , including iron and calcium”, and then go onto list their “baby-grade ingredients”, the second of which is SUGAR. HOW on earth can sugar be baby grade? this only really again highlights how important it is to always read the labels, as I re-leant recently on my own refined sugar-free week. and furthermore, it takes practically no time to create something for Rex to eat, and is probably cheaper than buying pre made stuff.
So, having decided we wanted to be a real Foodie In Training we then had to decide how we would go about this. I decided that for the first week or so we would start with breakfast. This really gave my mornings some purpose!!!! Yay!!!! At around 8am every morning I sit at the kitchen table with Rex in his high chair and we eat! I lay food into his mat and he goes for it! It is SO MUCH fun!!! But sooooo messy. Thank goodness for wooden floors! I started off with fruits and vegetables and found the below to work really well:
- Sweet potato roasted (cut sweet potatoes into wedge type shapes, rub with coconut or olive oil & roast for 45 mins….his other fave!)
- Steamed courgette cut into crudites (another fave!)
- Carrot roasted (peel carrots, chop in half length ways, rub with coconut or olive oil & roast )
- Butternut squash roasted same as above
- Ripe pear slices
- Ripe banana
- Steamed cavelo Nero leaves
- Min baby sweet corn steamed
- Green beans steamed
- Broccoli steamed
- Plum steamed
- Apple steamed (steaming the plums and apples makes them a little softer. I cut them into slightly larger chunks so that Rex has a different shape to handle. He now loves to suck the apple and plum and then spit the skin out )
- Avocado slices
- Cucumber crudités
- Red and yellow pepper slices
It was amazing to me to see how quickly he got to grips with it and how much he enjoyed it. After a few days of trying all of the above I started introducing some nuts, pulses and grains in the form of the below:
- A thick porridge made with oat and quinoa flakes, almond milk, cinnamon and nutmeg
- Rye toast spread with pumpkin seed or hazelnut butter (these were the only two I could find in sainsburys that do not have salt in) & cut into fingers ; or spread with avocado and hummus
- Whole meal pitta bread toasted and filled with raw pesto (I make a variety of these- so many options! Take any nut or seed, add a glug of avocado or olive oil, add fresh herbs like parsley or basil & blend) & cut into strips
- Baked porridge breakfast biscuits: simply mash 1 banana into 4-5 tablespoons of oats and then add your extras of fruit, nut & spices. We have tried all of the following and they all work very well: grated Apple, grated carrot, chopped prunes, raisins, chopped dates, berries, coconut flour, desicated coconut, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, ground almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. Stir your extras in then press the mixture into the base of a cooking dish or spoon into individual cookie shapes and bake for 10-15 mins.
- Puy lentils cooked in veggie stock
- My yummy Banana bread
- Chickpea patties (recipe from a fab little book The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook, I made Rex’s with added extra turmeric!!!!)
- omelette slices
- Coconut yogurt for dessert- this is full of good probiotics and ensures Rexy Roos digestion remains smooth. This is also a great opportunity for him to practice with some spoons!
After almost 2 weeks of breakfast I started to add an extra meal in wherever I could. This started off as a random time in the afternoon and gradually morphed into where we are at now Rex is 7 months old;
Lunch at 12.30-1ish
Tea at 5ish
I make sure that the meal lasts for not much more than 30 mins as it can be tiring for him and I always finish with filtered water for Rex to drink to ensure he doesn’t get constipated. I’ll end this little post with a few tips:
- Start small- one meal a day and with a few bits here and there
- Don’t worry if one day baby loves it and the next day has no interest ~ it’s so normal. We all have days where we are less or more hungry than others so just go with the flow and follow your babies lead
- Keep an eye on your babies poos
- Show your baby how – I always eat with Rex
- Be patient
- Prepare for your kitchen to be MESSY AS FUcK
- Have plenty of bibs on hand- I used one that resembled an anorak (thanks Nanny!!)
- Invest in a peeler, steamer, some storage containers (I use old glass jars) and a small blender/bullet, and a placemat that doesn’t slip
- Don’t be scared to add Herbs and spices!!! They are hugely powerful and healing….I’m on a mission to enliven Rexy Roos taste buds with some of my faves, so far; turmeric, garlic, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, nutmeg, fresh basil, fresh parsley, and so far he seems keen to try the new flavours
- Treat it as play and exploration and have FUN😊
Enjoy and I hope that you may find this useful
With lots of love