Now four months old, my little one seems to be getting irritated at sitting in her bouncer while we eat. To placate her we’ve invested in a Beaba Babyboost Seat and she now joins us at the table. With a plastic cup and spoon to keep her occupied, she seems much happier to be involved, but it has also served as a reminder that before long she won’t be content simply to watch mealtimes, she’ll want to be part of them… Enter weaning.
As regular readers of the JustKidding blog will know, I recently attended a weaning class, which was co-hosted by JustKidding and Chirin Khawatmi, the founder of popular mum and baby subscription service, Mama’s Box. The class was really helpful and put a lot of my anxieties about weaning to rest. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to attend a second session, this time held at JustKidding’s new branch at Salam Store, Wafi Mall. The class was a really fun and interactive experience, where the mum-of-two shared her pearls of wisdom on everything from fail-safe weaning recipes to how to knock up a bowl of baby chow one-handed. I caught up with Chirin after the class to pick her brains and she was kind enough to give me her eight top tips on how to move your mini monster from milk to mush.
Top tip for weaning #1: Take it slow for the first few days
When it comes to introducing solid food into baby’s diet, it’s best to do it gradually. One serving a day is ample and in most cases as little as a teaspoon is sufficient. Also, pick your moment wisely. For example, the last feed of the day is not a good time as you’ll both be tired. Instead, try mid-morning, just after her nap. That way she won’t be too fussy.
Top tip for weaning #2: Make it easy
Start with something really digestible, like sweet potato, baby marrow or avocado. To make the taste more familiar you can also blend in some of your breast milk or formula.
Top tip for weaning #3: Don’t fret
Sucking is a natural reflex, but swallowing solids is something babies need to learn, so don’t panic if she’s not overly enthusiastic in the beginning. My baby hated bananas the first six times she ate them, but now they are her favourite food, so persevere and give her time to get used to the new tastes and textures.
Top tip for weaning #4: Try the ‘three day wait rule’
I always suggest the ‘three day wait rule’, which is where you only introduce a new food every three days. For example, if you introduce baby to avocado on the Monday, wait until the Thursday to begin her on another food. The reason for this is that it’s a really simple way to check for possible food sensitivities or allergies.
Top tip for weaning #5: Take your time
If baby is screaming and crying when you offer solids, don’t put her under pressure. She will let you know once she is ready to try, so give it a go every few days until it works.
Top tip for weaning #6: Eat as a family
Don’t forget to let baby see you eating. Family mealtimes are a great opportunity to introduce her to food and will help to encourage her to move onto solids when the time comes.
Top tip for weaning #7: Cut yourself some slack
If you’re finding that you’re exhausted by all the cutting and chopping, which may only result in baby screwing up her face and spitting out your offerings, there are some great ready-made options you can try. I would personally recommend the HiPP Organic.
Top tip for weaning #8: Catch it on camera
Baby moving on to solids is a momentous occasion so be sure to take some pictures. I have so many photos of my little ones eating and the best ones were when they got really messy trying to feed themselves. Have fun with it!
Chirin Khawatmi is a mum of two and the founder of subscription service Mama’s Box. When she’s not running around after her little ones and managing a successful business, she holds weaning classes for new mums. For more information email email@example.com.