- Children don't eat well when they are tired so try to establish a daily routine of meals and snacks around your child's sleeping pattern
- To make the meal more interesting, offer two courses. This gives your child two opportunities to take in calories and nutrients in one sitting (ensuring you offer a healthy dessert)
- Always offer something you know your child likes and will eat at each meal time, as well as offering other foods to give them the opportunity to eat them
- Offer praise when your little one eats well or tries something new
- Try and eat together as a family as children tend to eat better when eating with others
- Offer small portions so as not to overwhelm your child
- Offer finger foods - babies and toddlers tend to enjoy having control of feeding themselves
- Eat in a calm relaxed environment without distractions such as TV as toddlers tend to concentrate on only one thing at a time
- Try not to drag the meal on for too long as little ones can get frustrated with long meal times. Equally, try not to rush meals if your child is still eating as this can reduce their appetite
- Involve toddlers and children with easy cooking and preparation of food without any pressure to eat the foods to help them become familiar with different foods
- Avoid insisting your little one finishes everything on their plate
- Don't assume that because your child has refused a food they will never eat it again - tastes change over time and some toddlers need to be offered a new food up to 15 times before they are happy to try it
- Try not to worry if your little one doesn't eat so well on one day. In terms of nutrient intake, what they eat over the whole week as opposed to just on one day is more important
- Offer your little one multivitamin drops suitable for their age
- If your child goes through a period of refusing to eat vegetables try not to worry. If they are eating fruit and potatoes they will still be getting a good balance of nutrients.
It is very common for toddlers and children to go through fussy periods with eating. During these periods your little one may refuse certain foods, decide they only want to eat one type of food or they may stop eating foods of a certain texture such as lumpy or sloppy foods. Other fads, normally in older children, may include only wanting to eat foods that are the same colour or not wanting to eat foods that touch on the plate. These periods of fussy / faddy eating normally pass but as parents we are programmed to worry about our children especially if we feel they are not eating well. Here are a few tips to get you through these fussy periods:
These are easy to pick up and tasty little patties that are full of protein, iron and vegetables for hungry tummies. Turkey is also an excellent source of tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin that can help you feel good and make you feel sleepy, so a good dinner choice for little ones. Suitable from 7 months onwards and great served with some other steamed vegetables like broccoli for a filling meal. For smaller babies we'd recommend using a food processor to make these but for 10 + months you can just grate the vegetables finely and mix into other ingredients.
1. Peel and roughly chop the carrot and parsnip (or grate at this stage if doing it that way).
2. Add to turkey mince and other ingredients and blitz all the ingredients in food processor (or just mix if using grated veg) together for 1 minute.
3. Heat a griddle pan on medium heat with a little bit of light olive oil for frying.
4. Form patties into a finger shape and cook for approx 3 minutes each side, testing that they're no longer pink in the middle before allowing to cool and serve.
These biscuits are a yummy treat for all the family and suitable from around 9/10 months as you start introducing more snacks into your baby's diet. They are low sugar rather than no sugar as we are not averse to a very small amount of sugar here at LOL, however if you'd like to make them sugar free you can omit it.
You can use the basic oat biscuit recipe above and adapt with lots of different things; we also like 'Cranberry and orange zest', 'Dried apricot and ginger' and if you're feeling naughty 'Chocolate Chip'.
6 months - starting out
When starting out it’s very much about going at your baby’s pace. You may want to go slowly in the early days and offer your baby just one or two foods a day. We’ve given, as examples, quite a bit of variety in this meal plan just so you have some ideas of different foods you can offer your baby. However, there’s no need to worry if your baby is eating very little in the early days as they will still be getting the majority of their nutrition from their usual milk feeds.
From 7 months onwards most babies are getting the hang of eating and are happy to try lots of new foods so this is a good time to introduce plenty of new foods and flavours. By 8 months your baby should ideally be having three meals a day (with preferably two courses at lunch time). You can also start to offer one or two snacks at around 8 months but don’t worry if your little one isn’t yet interested in snacks at this stage. You will also most likely notice that your little one is drinking less milk from 7-9 months of age.
By this age baby-led babies will already be in charge of how much they eat and they may now get quite excited around meal-times (especially if their favourite food is on the menu!). By this stage your baby will be having three meals and two healthy snacks a day. It’s advisable that both lunch and dinner include a main course and pudding especially now that milk feeds will be reducing.
For formula fed babies, they should be consuming around 500ml of milk in 24 hours. By one, this amount should reduce down to 400ml of cow’s milk offered in a cup (and not in a bottle). Breastfed babies will be having approximately three breastfeeds over 24 hours.
Now don't get me wrong we love cooking here at Little One Led, we are afterall two mums (one a nutritional therapist and the other a very keen cook) that write a food blog about weaning but when faced with coming up with three varied, nutritious and likely to be consumed meals a day it can get somewhat repetitive. Wake up and make breakfast, clean high chair, floor, kitchen wall and wriggly baby, think about what to cook for lunch, prepare lunch then clean high chair, floor, kitchen wall and wriggly baby, prepare dinner then clean high chair, floor, kitchen wall and wriggly baby and repeat........
I am sure other mums (baby led weaners or not) can associate with this so we thought we'd come up with some of our favourite cooking cheats that enable you to not spend the majority of your time cooking and suit self feeders.
What are your failsafe quick cheats for your baby led weaner?
* a loss of energy and motivation to cooking that is common for parents of babies and small children.
Interested in finding out more about baby led weaning? At our workshops you'll learn how it all works; when to start, the benefits of baby led weaning, what foods to offer and what foods to avoid, nutritional requirements for your 6 month old plus baby as well as addressing any questions about choking and reducing milk feeds.
We come out to antenatal and postnatal groups across London or offer sessions in the East Dulwich and Crystal Palace areas in south London. Mums, dads, grandparents and babies welcome!
Group workshops are £15 per person with 6 or more participants. For more information on availability get in touch @Little1Led or through our contact us page.
Eating out whilst doing baby led weaning should theoretically be easy bearing in mind they can eat what you do right? Well in our experience the reality can be a little daunting at first and have you stealing furtive glances at someone spooning an Ella's into their little one's mouth. Whilst in an ideal world we'd always be prepared for a meal out with a baby and have a tupperware full of steamed veg ready to go, it is nice to able to go crazy (!) and have an unscheduled lunch out now and again. With this is mind here's some tips we've learned along the way.
in the early'ish days of weaning plenty of your meals can be adapted to feed your baby too with a few adjustments:
As they start having proper meals (around the 9/10 month mark in our households) most babies will happily start polishing off bigger portions and you may find you no longer want to share your food with them. Thankfully, whilst some places are still stuck in the nuggets and chips era of kids meals, plenty of other restaurants and cafes provide fresh, healthier stuff to feed your growing baby. Here are some of our favourites for baby led weaners.
And a final few tips to make it as stress free as possible are;
Pasta already polished off here.
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Super exciting times at Little One Led headquarters as we have a second little chap ready to start baby led weaning. Besides first foods, here are some additional tips that we thought you might find handy for those early days when it's all new for both of you:
Sitting down to breakfast with your little one as a family is a really nice opportunity to eat together especially, if like in our house, it is the only mealtime on a weekday that you are all in one place. The beauty of BLW is that there are no hard and fast rules as to what to feed your baby and so any of the starting out first weaning foods like fresh fruit and veggies can be given but it is a meal that I do struggle for inspiration for and I know others do too so here are a few ideas for baby breakfasts.
Our little one tends to have one of the above alongside whatever fruit we have in the house so banana, lightly cooked apples or pears with the skin on for grip or a few strawberries (these are a common allergen though so do test these carefully the first time you give them) to really make a mess* with!
*Disclaimer, we take no responsibility for the state of your kitchen floor whilst following any of our recipes or ideas!