Monday, 27 July 2015

We Are Vital Baby #WeaningWarriors

If you are a regular reader you may have noticed the new badge on my side bar that says we are Vital baby #WeaningWarriors. I am really excited to be working on this new campaign as I have absolutely loved weaning Jacob. Now that he has just turned 11 months old we are moving him onto family foods and encouraging independent eating, but I am looking forward to sharing how his weaning journey started and how he is getting on. 

As part of my role as a #WeaningWarrior I will be bringing you lots of posts over the coming weeks about how we have found weaning, some of our favourite weaning recipes, top tips that I have discovered for weaning and a review of the brilliant new weaning products that Vital baby have just brought out to celebrate their 10th birthday (we are big fans already).

As I mentioned Jacob has just turned 11 months old and we have been weaning him for a good few months now, but I thought that it would be best to look back on when his weaning journey began. It is recommend by health professionals to not start weaning until your baby is six months old, but we began weaning Jacob at around four and half months old on the advice of are health visitor. As Jacob was suffering with colic and reflux and was a very unsettled baby who just screamed in pain all day every day for four months. 

As we were weaning him so young we went down the puree spoon-fed route, we stuck to baby rice for the first two weeks giving him it once per day then building up to twice and then three times per day. We then moved onto baby porridge and plain fruit and vegetable purees,  I did use jars and packets quiet often as I found them more convenient. We were lucky that Jacob took to weaning really well and more or less ate whatever we gave him. Although he was unsure of savoury foods at first but we persevered and he soon loved them, with carrots being a firm favourite. 

I found the whole starting to wean experience really enjoyable and stress free as it was lovely watching him discover new foods. Before we started weaning I was really nervous as when i weaned my middle daughter Sophia just a year beforehand she had no interest in food. We went down the baby-led weaning route and she was really fussy and would only eat a few foods and she would refuse to take anything at all off a spoon and still does now, preferring to feed herself. She also has a really sensitive gag reflex and would choke on food at every meal which was a worry. 

It was 12 years ago since I weaned my eldest and things were a lot different back then, there was no baby-led weaning and it was recommended to start spoon-fed weaning on purees at four months old. After trying both the puree route and the baby-led route with the girls I was glad to be going down the puree route with Jacob as for me personally I just prefer it. I have a big worry about baby's choking and I also like to know that they have actually ate something and not just thrown everything on the floor. 

I think that the way that you wean your baby is down to you as a parent and also down to the child, as every parent and every child is different. If you are planning on starting weaning soon then I would just go with whatever weaning route you feel is best for you and your child. If you are feeling a bit worried about it all then Vital baby in house weaning expert Dr Rana Conway has five top tips for weaning that are sure to help you. 

1.) Offer your baby a wide range of foods so they get used to different flavours and textures. Babies naturally like sweet foods to start with, so offer slightly bitter foods like broccoli, spinach and green beans. Don't be surprised if they reject foods at first, every time you try, the chances of success increase.

2.) Let your baby set the pace. 'Responsive feeding' is key. So if your baby shows signs they have have had enough don't keep trying them for one more spoonful. Teething and colds can put a baby off their food and pressure to eat will just cause food battles.

3.) Don't give too much milk, as this is one of the main reasons for babies not taken solids. Babies under 12 months need 3-4 breast feeds or 500-600ml of formula a day and giving more than this can make them too full for meals. 

4.) Give your baby plenty of opportunities to handle food. Whether you're starting with spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning, give some finger foods every day. Steamed vegetables such as carrot sticks or pieces of broccoli and soft fruit like banana and pears are ideal.

5.) Make meal times enjoyable by sitting and eating together whenever possible. If you relax and take your time it will help your baby develop a healthy relationship with food. 

I think that the tips are really useful and after weaning three children myself they are things that I completely agree with. Although I am sometimes guilty of trying to get Jacob to have just one more spoonful of food, so I think I need to remember 'Responsive feeding' is key. Keep an eye out for my review of the brilliant new Vital Baby weaning products next week and if you are planning on starting weaning soon why not head over to the Vital Baby facebook page where you can often find some great weaning tips. 

Do you have any weaning tips ? If so I would love to know in the comment section below. 

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