I’m sure you’ve seen my recent posts (mainly of frustration!) around weaning Violet and her journey with eating. She is not a big eater and is extremely fussy, which has been a real surprise to me. I naively thought as I eat a huge variety of foods, flavours and spices, she would too – after all, she endured 9 months of my eating habits in the womb so surely she’d picked up a mixed variety of tastes….. but no. She’s a picky little thing, who knows what she likes in her own mind and would eat happily only eat baked beans or pasta every day if that was all that was on offer!
Just recently I’ve taken to the kitchen to try out a few new recipes after being sent a few bits to review from the new Annabel Karmel range at Bibetta. I’m sure you’ve heard of Annabel Karmel, she is practically the goddess of baby weaning, so I was super excited to give the products a good try (although I secretly hoped she’d do a home visit too – ha!). We tried out the New & Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner, which has over 200 recipes, starting right out from the basics at 6 months (so although Violet is onto the toddler menu already, I’ll get loads of use out of the book with the new baby too!), an amazing UltraBib, which is like a full on ‘wetsuit’ to tackle ALL kinds of messes and a few Nuk pots and Violet’s favourite, the ice lolly makers too!
This little selection has been a massive help to try and make weaning fun again and allow me to experiment a little more with broadening Violet’s taste buds and encouraging her to eat other foods – by making tried and tested recipes that babies and toddlers love in the hope we will have some success here too!
We’ve been making recipes from the book like Salmon Animal Pasta Shapes, Watermelon & Raspberry Ice Lollies and Summer Fruit Overnight Oats, so far all recipes have gone down a treat, which has been a massive relief – we can’t wait to try a few more….
So, it got me thinking about what I’d do differently next time, with our second little girl. I’m not being too hard on myself as I had no idea what I was doing at first, so it was a learning experience for me too – but I’ll try and take from it what I can to do better next time….
Introduce vegetables and savoury tastes first
Violet is the biggest sweet-monster – aren’t all children?! She loves anything fruit based or even worse – sugar based, which we obviously only give her in moderation. I’m not 100% sure if this technique really works as I know they will discover sweets and chocolates eventually, but with the new baby I’m going to try and get her loving her veggies BEFORE she’s even had the chance to experience fruit and see if that makes a difference. I will report back!
Eat more family meals and cook from recipes
I did a whole post on this recently, but it works so well. Eating together as a family and having the same thing really helps Violet when she’s in a fussy mood. When she sees us eating something she is more curious to try something, so we will do this from a much earlier stage with the new baby!
Weaning for the first time is SCARY, especially how much babies gag and cough whilst they are trying new foods and textures. I used to worry so much with Violet when she gagged – to the point where it stopped me giving her bigger pieces of food and lumpy textures. I now realise it’s all just part of the process and totally normal part of their learning. Next time I will know to be braver and accept it’s going to happen – I won’t let it stop me giving her new textures!
Try not to compare to others
I’m still SO guilty of this now – aren’t all parents?! “So-and-So’s baby is eating 3 meals a day, including vegetables AND a homemade falafel recipe!” is a sentence I’ve definitely uttered as I feed Violet beans on toast for the third day in a row as it’s all she’d eat. It’s so hard not to compare, especially when you’ve tried EVERYTHING and your little one just won’t eat a varied diet. I have to just remind myself they are all different – I’m sure each parent is facing a struggle of their own in some way. Next time I’ll try my hardest not to compare and let our new baby learn to eat and develop her own tastebuds in her own time.
Don’t pile on the pressure
This goes hand-in-hand with the last one, it’s so tempting to keep saying to little ones ‘please try a bit more’, especially if you’ve spent 45 mins at the stove cooking for them… but it’s pointless, it creates a negative association with dinner time and can make them eat even less. Keep your cool at all times! If they don’t like something, say never mind and try something new the next day….
If you’ve weaned more than one baby, what did you do second time round that you wish you’d know the first time – I’d love to know!