The news covered an article stating that baby foods sold in the UK fail to meet infant dietary weaning needs.

A research team tested 479 shop bought products from leading manufacturers, including Heinz, Cow & Gate and Boots and found few were ideal for the job.

Most contained too much sweet food which should only be offered to a weaning baby occasionally. Researchers suggest sugar can encourage a sweet tooth and lead to tooth decay later on in their lives. The experts suggest weaning babies should not start before 6 months with recommendations for breast-feeding until that time. Weaning babies apparently would need to eat twice as much shop bought food to set the same energy and protein as meals cooked at home!

But at times we need to use our Mummy judgement, lets face it we have enough to think of, what we should and shouldn’t do!! Generally Mummies do know healthy home-prepared foods are best for our babies, but we all at times buy shop bought products for convenience.

I would say relax about when to start weaning, expert guidelines say at 6 months, some babies are ready earlier around 4 months (but not before 17 weeks).

Baby rice makes a great starter food. It has very little flavour but gives baby a change in texture and it can be mixed with other foods, you can make it runnier so it resembles milk, and gradually thicken it. I remember baby rice was a real favourite with both my sons when they were weaning.

Expect portion size to vary if baby eats more they will drink less milk and vice versa. Weaning is a time for learning and developing new skills.

If baby is ravenous give them half of their milk first, then try the rice, as they won’t then get upset if they can’t get the hang of swallowing the food. The first few weaning sessions are just about getting used to flavours and textures.

Once baby is happy eating the baby rice then you can try new foods. If your baby refuses a particular food don’t tie up, maybe try combining it with their by rice or one of their favourite tastes. For example if your baby lose banana but is not keen on avocado start by mixing the two together and gradually reduce.

Embrace mess, your baby is going to get messy, don’t get to hung up on cleaning your baby every few seconds. You can clean up afterwards; it’s all part of the fun.

Balance sweet tastes as babies do prefer these, offer savoury foods first, sweet potato is less bitter to some vegetables but again you can try blending with a little fruit puree to sweeten it. When making your own foods you know exactly what your baby has eating. By six months babies can have textured lumps, so baby starts to get the hang of chewing and swallowing, you can even offer a stick of cooked carrot with dips, even if baby doesn’t eat the carrot they will enjoy playing with it!

Simply let your baby explore foods and feed themselves healthy home cooked foods.

I thought I would share some quick ideas for healthy dips both you and your baby can enjoy!

  • Vegetable batons: carrots, pepper sticks, cucumber or even broccoli florets. You can cook the vegetables if baby prefers, as this will soften them.

Quick tasty dips:

  • Sweet potato with cream cheese, cook the potatoes and literally mash with some cream cheese.
  • Cooked beetroot with plain houmous, you can use a blender to purée the beetroot,  this one is a fantastic colour.
  • Carrot, lentil and yoghurt, cook the carrots and red lentils until soft blend together with plain yoghurt.
  • Yoghurt, lemon and dill dip. Adding the zest of a lemon and chopped dill to plain yoghurt, you can also add chopped cucumber for added texture.

Give them a try, homemade dips are cheap and simple to make and a good way to hide goodness to fussy little eaters! I’m sure you will agree these are delicious and even the adults won’t be able to resist them! Relax and have fun weaning your baby….

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