Friday, 22 March 2013

Weaning: the story so far

The other day, an NCT friend asked me what Baby's current favourite foods are. My response? "Ermmmmm". Not being able to think about what she was enjoying eating, when I feed her 3+ times a day, made me decide to try and record her likes and dislikes a little more fully. Hopefully, it may also be of use to someone wanting more ideas for what to feed their own little ones. I know when I chat to my mum friends about all things baby-food, I often think 'Why did I never try feeding her that before?!'

Four months down the line, solid food now seems to be a hit. There was a time when spoons seemed to be something to be feared, and sticks of food would be fiddled with but never headed mouth-wards. (But when she managed to sneakily get hold of my phone, that was nibbled straight away. Hmmm, what a monkey). After a tummy-bug set-back just as she was starting to taste more, it took until she was about 7.5 months old for her to actually start getting the hang of this food malarkey. But now, there's no stopping her! (I think the eleventy-billion teeth help too!)

We had always intended to go down the baby led weaning route. But we soon found that a mix of spoon-fed meals and finger food worked best. I was glad that I had the confidence to listen to what the health visitor recommended, and then tweak it and make it work for us.

Breakfast tends to be something porridgey - generally I make porridge for me and then scoop a bit out for her. Cooked apple, cooked blueberries, chopped up raisins, and mashed banana with a sprinkling of cinnamon are all popular additions. She's just started wanting to feed herself now which makes her very happy! We've also tried the Heinz Blueberry porridge (hit!) and Ella's Kitchen Banana Porridge (not a hit!).

Falafel got well squished but wasn't so popular when it came to actually eating it.

I try to make sure that lunches are finger food based. Something carby, some fruit and veg, and some protein.

Popular bread-y things are:
  • Toast and sandwiches are the perennial favourite, with a variety of toppings and fillings. Soft cheese gets heartily sucked off the top, hoummus was a surprising hit, mashed avocado was a bit slimy but seemed to go down alright, and mashed banana resulted in big expressions of "yuk!". Scrambled egg works quite well in a sandwich, as does tuna mixed with a little greek yoghurt.
  • Crumpets are always a hit, and because of their texture, they break into small, manageable chunks for chewing. 
  • Drop scones are also a favourite (see here for a recipe). Spinach and cheese, carrot and cumin, and apple and cinnamon all work well. I tend to keep a stock of these in the freezer that can be quickly zapped in the microwave to defrost, and then heated through in a toaster bag.
  • Sweet potato 'chips' - sticks of steamed sweet potato dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and then fried in a little butter. These are really tasty...ahem...
Current fruit and veg choices include:
  • Cucumber - gets well chewed and has the added bonus of being cooling on sore gums.
  • Banana - gets rather slimy after it's been squished a few times though! (And don't get me started on picking it up off the floor all mushy...yuk!)
  • Chunks of peeled plum.
  • Peach slices (from a tin! I tend to just give it a good rinse if they are in syrup, so as not to send her on a mad sugar rush)
  • Pineapple (again, can be from a tin, handily!)
  • Segments of orange are hugely popular and she mushes them until there is no juice left!
  • Peas.
  • Trees of broccoli (although you do then spend the next hour finding the little green broccoli flower top bits everywhere!)
Most of Baby's protein tends to come in the spoon-fed meals but she does like:
  • Matchsticks of cheese - I've never bothered buying mild cheddar, and she now seems to be developing a taste for strong cheese! That';s my girl! Edam seems to be popular now too.
  • Scrambled egg/mashed hard boiled egg.
  • Frittata/omelette - the bonus being with these that you can add veg and other protein to them. Pea and feta was pretty yummy, as was spinach and cheddar.
  • Cold chicken - chopped into small bits, it's good for encouraging the pincer grip with her fingers.
  • Ham and philidelphia sandwiches are always popular, but I try to only ever put a tiny bit of ham snipped up as it's so salty.
This is how much she loves breadsticks! (Please excuse the nappy in the background...no-one could ever accuse me of having over-styled photos, ha!)

Current tea time favourites are:
  • Chilli con carne...minus the chilli! Mixed up with tiny pasta/mashed potato/sweet potato - and I'm sure it would be good with rice too. I keep this in cubes in the freezer for nights when our dinner can't be tweaked to be baby friendly.
  • Spaghetti bolognese. Again, good from the freezer.
  • Tuna pasta - onion, carrot, tinned tomatoes and peas cooked down for about 10 mins. Stir through cooked pasta and tinned tuna and then warm through. Again, freezable.
  • Tuna pasta 'mayo' (actually Greek yoghurt stirred through).
  • Sweet potato, spinach and red lentil dhal (a River Cottage Veg recipe) without many of the spices.
  • Chicken and pea risotto.
  • Cheesy sweet potato with added veg.
  • Spinach and chicken pasta - defrost some spinach from the freezer, snip it up small, mix in cooked chicken, pasta, a blob of hoummus and some yoghurt. Tastes good!
She's also a big fan of the Organix finger food crisps too and has a small obsession with the Ella's Kitchen 'Puffits' (teeny crispy balls - great for encouraging pincer grip!)

Having her second course: the dropped bits in the bib...mmm, tasty.
Our essential feeding clobber includes Ikea overall bibs (cheap, colourful, and dry in minutes once they're out of the machine), the Ikea Antilop highchair (a bargain at £16, and easy to clean which is always a bonus), these spoons (plus this one is good when she wants to feed herself as it has a shorter handle), and a big stack of flannels for cleaning up sticky fingers and a messy mouth!

For those reading this with older children, please share your wisdom in the comments section! What else did your little ones love eating? What do I need to add to my shopping list for next week?
And those with tiny ones, I hope there may be a few ideas for you within my ramblings!


  1. The breadstick face is incredible! It made me smile! x

    1. Is that not the face you make when you eat breadsticks? I know I do. (It's brilliant isn't it, one for the album!)x

  2. Helen, this is such a useful post, I wish I'd have read this a few years ago when I was tearing my hair out with what to feed the boys when they were littluns! I found weaning a very tricky part of learning to be a mum, and ended up adding much stress to mealtimes for a while...but however picky Mr T was (ahem-is) Popeyes pasta always went down well. Spinach, cream cheese and Parmesan with either mini pasta stars or spaghetti...at least I didn't have to worry about veg intake on a Popeyes day! Jen x

    1. Ah, the infamous Popeye pasta! That's all one of our baby pals, who has always been rather particular about food, wants to eat! I think we'll have to give it a go for tea soon. Weaning is so tricky - gone are the easy days of milk, milk and more milk! x

  3. Wow, your little girl and mine seem to be at really similar stages. We were going to go entirely baby led as well, but we've ended up doing a little bit of both. This Baby is a good eater, with a healthy appetite and there are certainly some great suggestions within this that I hadn't thought of trying. Thank you my dear!

    Kate x
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...


Hello! I'd love to hear from you so drop me a note! x