ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Babies & Baby Care

The first steps in negotiating the minefield of baby weaning

Updated on March 4, 2014

A composite approach

The subject of weaning seems to produce a lot of conflicting advice, parent competitiveness and general fear and loathing. What starts off as excitement about baby's first slurps can very often descend into panic, frustration and upset. Weaning isn't rocket science - and certainly isn't an exact science - yet it can easily become over-complicated and a chore. However, it doesn't have to be like that. Yes, in the initial stages you will need to do extra work if you have decided to boycott all pre-prepared baby food but you can quickly progress to a stage where a large proportion of what you make for the rest of the family can be used for your little one (omitting salt and very strong spices).

Aside from when to start (which is generally advised to be from six months WHO recommendation), one of the first weaning issues seems to be the apparent pressure to decide what 'style' of weaning you will use: baby-led versus traditional spoon-feeding. Finger foods allow babies to self-feed and stimulates their interest in food (and most babies seem to enjoy), but spoon-fed purees give a much better idea of how much they've eaten and therefore provide greater parental control. It's almost as if the style you choose defines what kind of parent you are. Nobody really seems to talk about a combination - or a composite - approach, which blends the two styles and takes inspiration from different sources. However, it's easy to combine them for a flexible and common sense approach to weaning.

Pros and cons

With a number of pros and cons for each method, a composite approach makes sense.

Baby-led weaning

Pros:

  • Greater independence
  • Develops pincer grasp/fine motor skills
  • Self regulate food intake - learn to understand huger cues
  • Linked with lower instances of obesity in later life

Cons:

  • Potential for iron deficiency
  • Choking more likely
  • More difficult to ascertain whether baby has eaten enough
  • Fewer foods that can be offered as not all suitable as finger foods

Spoon feeding

Pros:

  • Parent is able to monitor more easily how much is consumed
  • Greater variety of food can be offered
  • Baby can eat the same as the rest of the family
  • Easier to make nutritionally balanced meals

Cons:

  • Lack of child independence
  • Has been linked to obesity as child could keep eating until parent decides they've had enough
  • Don't understand hunger cues so well

Where to begin?

In the beginning, one 'meal' a day - a couple of spoons - is fine. The aim is to introduce the concept of food; different flavours and textures. At this early stage the actual nutritional value is secondary (obviously this isn't carte blanche to introduce things that are actually bad for your baby!) as your little one's nutritional needs will be predominantly satisfied by their milk feeds.

Baby rice on its own is bland but is a good starting point nonetheless; progressing pretty quickly and combining it with steamed fruits for a breakfast and using it to bulk up vegetable purees will probably do your baby a lot of favours and within a few weeks it will probably have served its purpose. Don't be afraid to move fast and up 'meals' to three a day if your baby enjoys it. Don't worry, in the early stages this won't affect their milk intake, this will only properly start to decrease when proteins are introduced. Trust your instincts, if they're a little unsure then stick to one meal of a couple of spoons a day for a while. However, if your little one is enjoying baby rice and steamed fruit and simple vegetable purees then give them as much as they want.

Once you're properly up and running, introduce lumpier textures, replace the baby rice - which you may have been giving at breakfast - with a baby cereal or a low salt and sugar 'adult' porridge or wheat cereal; mash vegetables instead of pureeing or give them as finger foods.

Also there is nothing wrong with using frozen vegetables to supplement fresh fruit and veg. In the case of things such as peas, the frozen variety can often surpass the fresh as they are frozen within a couple of hours of being picked so very few nutrients are lost.

Read my 10 useful facts I gleaned from weaning.

Examples of baby's first foods (first couple of weeks)

  • Sweet potato puree
  • Brocoli and potato puree
  • Cauliflower puree
  • Carrot, baby rice and baby's usual milk
  • Baby rice and mashed fruit (banana, steamed apple, steamed pear)
  • Mashed avocado

Next couple of weeks

  • Big pasta with grated cheese as a finger food or very small pasta to spoon feed
  • Pasta with simple tomato sauce
  • Omelette (well cooked) with cheese, spinach etc
  • Cauliflower and brocolli in cheese sauce
  • Toast
  • Vegetable puree with couscous
  • Steamed vegetables as a finger food (green beans, mange tout, tender stem broccoli, carrots etc)
  • Rice cakes
  • Fingers of cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes (cut into non-chokeable pieces!)

Then the real fun starts and you can start introducing proteins and more complex combinations as well as adapt your family favourites.

Al fresco dining with finger food
Al fresco dining with finger food
Self-feeding; if you can take the mess!
Self-feeding; if you can take the mess!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Francescad profile image
      Author

      Francescad 5 years ago from London

      Thanks ripplemaker! Wow, just checked out your profile. I think I've got a way to go before I achieve your successes!

      By the way, it's actually cute children :-) The first few pics are of my non-identical twins (who look VERY similar) and the final photo is my eldest daughter when she was a similar age. They all look alike!!

      Thanks again.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      heheh loved the photos..such a cute child!

      Congratulations on your nomination on the hubnuggets! Whhheeee here's to baby weaning and your nomination..check it out http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/HubNuggets-...

    • profile image

      Gemma 5 years ago

      Great, I will look out for your next Hub.

    • Francescad profile image
      Author

      Francescad 5 years ago from London

      A nice mild Korma is great from seven months as is a fish pie (using tinned tuna so nice and easy). I'll be posting a few winning recipes in another Hub soon.

    • profile image

      Gemma 5 years ago

      Nice Hub, do you have any special recipes Francesca?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)