The newborn stage is so easy honestly because it is so simple.
Your little bundle of joy sleeps and drinks milk. Whether the milk be breast milk or formula milk, there is no complication but as with all humans, baby’s will soon turn into adults and as adults we eat solid food so your baby will need to transition to solid food.
Now the question that I as a mum asked was when? because I had no clue.
What age do you start to wean your baby?
As far as I was aware it was at 6 months because that is what all my cousins who were mummy’s themselves told me but I still didn’t know a lot so that was when I just gave in and book a book on weaning. And honestly I am so glad I did.
The book I bought is called Weaning by Annabel Karmel and is the best book ever. You can buy yours from Amazon by clicking here
All I did was a search on Amazon ‘weaning’ and this popped up as their best seller so I bought it. It also helped as have prime membership that this would be delivered the next day haha. Now I honestly do not know who Annabel Karmel is but boy she sure knows a thing or two about weaning your child and she sure has helped me.
Weaning can start from as early as 4 months*
*this all depends on how ready your baby is.
Now when I say it all depends on how ready your baby is there are signs to look out for
- your baby stares at you with interest when you eat or drink food
- tries to put anything and everything in mouth
- seems to enjoy the taste of things like gripe water and ibuprofen
But also as a mum you kind of have a hunch that your baby is ready to try solid food.
So how did I know?
Well Soraiya turned 5 months and I remember noticing my daughter really staring at me whenever I drank my water. In fact she really enjoyed watching me drink water and me eating food. She would want to try and touch what I was eating. I also noticed she enjoyed her gripe water I would give her where as before she hated it because she would lick her lips after I administered it to her. But thought I must wait until she hits 6 months of age AND this is where this book comes in.
I ordered this book about 3 weeks before Soraiya was going to officially turn 6 months and as I read it, and after understanding the signs that Soraiya was showing I realised I can actually start giving her solid food.
So 2 weeks before Soraiya officially turned 6 months old I fed her, her very first solid food: banana and Alhumdulilah she enjoyed it.
What do you feed and how do you prepare it for feeding?
For me, one of the reasons why I bought a book on weaning was to understand the things I could feed my baby and how to make these food items because I had no clue.
I knew there were readily available baby food items out there that I could feed my baby but I personally wanted to make her food as I felt better knowing how I was going to prepare the ingredients and cook it.
Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with mummies who decide o pop to the supermarket and buy their baby food and I also decided to keep some Ella’s Kitchen baby food pouches on hand in case I need them.
I know I can ask my mum who would tell me what she tried to feed me but this is was something I wanted to learn for myself as a mum.
Without Annabel Karmel’s book there was so much I learnt. This was my first time ever making food, baby friendly food for my baby to eat so understanding the easy food that I cook first was crucial. I did not want to be put off from the get go and find it all difficult.
Slowly does it
As guided by the book, I slowly introduced and learnt the different types of food I could offer Soraiya aimed at
- from 4 months – 6 months
- from 6 months – 9 months
- from 9 months to 12 months
As mentioned I decided to wean her 2 weeks before she officially turned 6 months old so it was so handy for me to read and learn the easier, non-cook fruits I could just cut up and either mash/blend.
The first week I gave:
- banana mixed with some formula milk
- steamed carrot mixed with some formula milk
- baked sweet potato mixed with some formula milk
- steamed apple
- steamed pear
- mango mixed with some formula milk
- steamed carrot and steamed sweet potato with some formula milk
- steamed apple and pear
Subhan’Allah she took this well. I could not have anticipated how it would go and to my surprise my daughter enjoyed these sweet tastes.
I did notice how filling her afternoon meals were now and her evening milk feed did change to her drinking less of it and sometimes to not even drinking her milk.
I felt so proud of my daughter and I think as any mum you do. It is a big milestone for your baby but also for you. The way I saw it my baby was now not drinking her usual milk like she when she was born because my baby is growing so fast and here I now am giving her solid food.
Not going to lie, I was emotional when I sat her down, put her little bib on and proceeded to spoon feed her the blended banana. As much as I was so over the moon that here, my little baby is eating banana it also dawned on me that as a parent my daughter will grow and soon become her own little girl.Yes I am rather an overly emotional woman in general now as a mum you can multiply that by like 1000.
The second week I gave:
This book really is amazing as it really does guide you on how to proceed when it comes to slowly introducing food into your baby’s diet and routine.
As explained, the first week I gave her food in the afternoon for her lunch. In her 2nd week I introduced food for breakfast and lunch but kept milk feeds as her early morning feed, in between her breakfast and lunch feeds and her evening routine.
For breakfasts I gave her a variation such as
- an easy non-cook fruit such as banana, strawberry or mango
- scrambled egg
- toast with unsalted butter (the bread slightly toasted)
For lunch I also changed this up so I could introduce new textures such as
- pasta (the large kind which I would mush with my hand)
- mixed vegetable puree’s such as carrot and sweet potato
- boiled egg
By the third week:
I introduced food as a dinner and by this week I was ready to experiment with some of the recipe’s in the book as now Soraiya was officially 6 months old so I could mix it up and get stuck into getting Soraiya to try new flavours.
Baby food cooking
It is not as easy and as simple as it may be. Honestly. And also you are not obliged to cook every food dish line by line, it is okay to change it up as you deem fit. I say this because I have done this where I have had a missing ingredient so I have substituted it for something else and it has tasted fine.
For me, the recipe’s did prove really helpful because as mum I decided I wanted my baby from early to try different tastes and not be limited and that meant I had to work hard to cook all the foods that I felt she might like.
I personally had no idea what would go well with what until I followed these recipe’s. I had no idea if they would taste nice and to my surprise they did.
Annabel Karmel knew her shit. She knew what tastes nice because I was trying these out and I was finding them delicious.
I remember I was so happy and excited I was telling my mum, who by the way never cooked unique dishes for me when she started to wean me but then again according to my mum I stopped drinking milk at 6 months anyway. Anyway I was telling my mum and her typical Bangladeshi mum response:
Feed your daughter some rice and dhaal. Roll into balls and bob’s ya uncle.Not that she said ‘Bob’s ya uncle’ but you get my drift
Growing up in a very Bangladeshi household the staple was well is cooked plain rice and curry. And do not get me wrong I had already planned to introduce my daughter to rice and curry when she was 9 months plus.
But what my mum was more concerned was:
Make sure she is still drinking milk. She must not stop drinking milk.Because she wanted a repeat of had happened with me.
Top food items I realised I cooked a lot with for Soraiya were
- Sweet Potato – I have bags and bags of this
- Lentils (Dhaal) – I already have this ad FYI I have cooked this in a different way as opposed to the way dhaal is cooked for us adults but she has had dhaal and rice already
- Baked Potato – which is already at home
- Butternut Squash
- Spinach – She has a lot of it
- Leek – OMG butter and leek go so well.
- Unsalted butter
- Apples (Pink Lady, Gala, Jazz)
- unsalted or little salt vegetable stock
and that is just off the top of my head. I personally have never even cut a leek or a butternut squash before so this was my first.
One needs a blender of some sort
This is a must. I was so lucky to have been gifted with a baby food blender by one of my best friends. I remember when she gifted it to me after Soraiya was born, I look at it dumb funded thinking there are actual baby food blenders out there I remember think how will I even use this and I did easily.
My friend bought me the Garden Fresh Mighty Blender by Nuby.
I am not sure when she bought this from but I did a google search to see where they sell it and it seems the main retailers do not sell this anymore or if they do it is not in stock.
and this blender set proved so helpful. It is a nice little starter set so great for a new mum like who needs the first bits and pieces to get on this baby food making band wagon.
The set comes with
- Mighty Blender High Torque Power Base
- Short cup
- Large batch bowl
- Lid (with measuring cup)
- Blending blade
- Milling blade
- Steamer basket and base
- 2 x Long handled weaning spoons
- Freezer tray
- 6 x Freezer pots
- User Manual and Cook Book
Took me a while to learn my way around the equipment with this set but I have used most of it except for the Milling blade and I now think it is time.
Their cook book is good however I never really followed it. Their nutritional guide is a tad out of date as it mentions allergens and things to avoid within the first year but health visitors, doctors, nurses and even the latest weaning books say otherwise and encourage things like eggs and nuts to be given within the first year.
You can use a hand held blender if you dins that easier. It is up to you.
As well as a blender the following is also ideal I learnt
- Steamer – whether this is on the stove or an electric one it steams much better then in the microwave because I was using the steamer that came with the Garden Fresh Mighty Blender set by Nuby. I found steaming in the microwave burnt the carrot and sweet potato. I in the end invested in an electric one and was one of the best investments I made. The steamer I bought was from Amazon. I was looking for a small, 2 tier one and also did not want to spend a ridiculous amount. Click here to check it out.
- High Chair – my husband is delayed so I will blame him. Before you decide to introduce food, you need a high chair. I made it clear I would buy one but he was adamant he was going to buy and my husband is not as reliable as one would hope so I waited and in the end my daughter had her first food sitting in her Bumbo Seat yes not ideal but i did not want to delay it any further. Not long after did he finally the the high chair and we have not looked back since. The high chair we bought is by Cuggl and bought from Argos. The one we bought does not seem to be available in Argos anymore but I have provided a link to basically a very similar one so click here.
- Splash mat – this depends if you go down the baby led weaning route of not. The splash mat is handy as you place this under your high chair so if you want your baby to play with their food and feed them selves (BLW) then it is perfect as it protects your floor. I bought mine from Amazon so click here to check it out.
- Long sleeved bibs – I found long sleeved bibs are amazing, although I have not gone down the BLW route fully like some mums, I do mix it up so she has finger foods to play with and eat whilst I also spoon feed her. The long sleeves protect the clothes underneath so I really really recommend you invest in one. I bought mine from amazon so click here to check it out.
- Baby food freezer trays – The Graden Fresh Might Blender set by Nuby came with one but one was not enough as I started batch cooking Soraiya’s food and so freezing 6-7 dishes was not enough so I would recommend buying more. I bought the ones by Annabel Karmel X Nuk on Amazon so click here to have a look and see.
- Potato masher – As baby gets bigger you will not be pureeing so much so a masher will come in handy if you do not already own one. You can them from anywhere. I know Poundland have a nice cheap utensil range.
This is my most dreaded task but it has to be done and it can take me the whole day. I do not want to put you off because every mum does this differently. Some many like to batch cook twice a week where fewer dishes are made or whatever this is just an example. But for me, when I batch cook I can cook up to 8 dishes in a day which I blend or mash.
By doing so means that I do not have to cook or make something new every day I simply take it out from the freezer and leave to defrost at room temperate. Once it is time I reheat in the microwave for 1 minute, take out, let it cool down and voila… lunch or dinner is served.
I batch cook the way I do because a) the food can last up to 30 days which is great b) having made a number of dishes means there is variety when I give Soraiya her food. I like the choice I give myself because I might decide I am going to give her pasta or something with chicken or vegetable or fish.
How many courses for each meal?
As per what I read in Annabel Karmel’s book it advises 2 courses for lunch and dinner.
From 6 – 9 months she says this should be a main and dessert with dessert being anything from fruit/yogurt/fruit puree.
From 9 – 12 month she advises that the 2 courses should vary from main and dessert to some mealtimes being starter and mains. This allows for more texture and taste to be introduced into baby’s palette. My daughter like many babies just loves sweet tastes so I think by switching the dessert with a starter will help babies to not be so stuck on the sweet taste. So I do try to switch it up. My daughter loves yogurt and fruit like I know if i fed this to her alone she would be happy haha.
Now just again I want to clarify that this book told me about this otherwise I would have had no clue. I do remember when my sister in laws would feed their babies and my cousins they would feed them 2 courses but I did not pay any attention if I am honest.
What I found really helpful was in this book, Annabel Karmel provides a meal planner to use as a guide or to follow which includes dishes that have recipes in the book so it is easier to adhere to. This meal planner helped a lot. I did not follow it religiously but I used it more as a guide so I knew what I could do in terms of planning Soraiya’s meals. This is so helpful when you have no idea.
My current weaning situation is
Well, Soraiya is still having her 3 meals a day, with her milk feeds in between meals plus with some of her milk feeds she also has a snack or two.
Snacks… oh how my daughter loves her snacks. Like as soon as she sees them she knows and she wants them like that very minute haha.
Soraiya is now 10 months soon to be 12 months. I say that because well the month of May, will fly by and she will become 11 months in a flash which means June is not far. She is eating more big girl food such as pasta, cous-cous, mash and sandwiches. I have yet to introduce lamb and beef into her palette but this will happen soon. The only difficult part to that is in my household chicken is the only form of meat eaten. Lamb very rarely and beef is a no.
There are still many more things I have yet to feed Soraiya and I cannot wait to do so. I have noticed she is some what fussy with what she eats but not majorly fussy which is good. She also does show her dislike to some foods.
Recipe’s… because sharing is caring
I shall post some for you to use as I have had many mummies DM me via Instagram to share. me being the delayed person I am I have not had time.
What is great about the recipe’s in Annabel Karmel’s weaning book is it gives you confidence to experiment and create your own which I have done so I am dying to share these with you to try should you wish! Especially as they have gone down so well with Soraiya. #happymummy
Weaning is a journey and it is unique
No baby’s weaning journey is the same. What my daughter’s is is different to another baby’s. I think as mummies, we do feel pressure and have that anxiety to look an compare and when we feel our child may not fair well compared to another baby it can make us quite sad.
What I want to say is, mummy please don’t feel like that because your baby is doing him/her they he/she is meant to. All you need to do is support that and just go with that flow.
I would love to know your story and how your baby weaning journey went or is going.
The Soul Tamer x