Weaning Secrets from A Mummy Chef : Part 2
Mothers, it cannot be emphasized enough that each of our children is different. It is our duty to keep this in mind and adapt the weaning progress accordingly.
To begin with, give them TINY amounts of food. Weaning is merely an introduction to solids, so a few teaspoons a day is perfectly okay. Above all, do not ever force-feed your child. If they do not want to eat, wait a few hours and try again. If you force-feed them they will dislike certain foods and you will be setting them up for mealtime drama. The truth is that if a child is hungry he will eat!
Secondly, once you notice that your child is eating the blended foods well and swallowing is a smooth process, introduce foods that are a little bit more textured.
These could include porridge made from maize meal flour, pawpaw that has been mashed using a fork instead of a fine sieve, sweet potatoes, arrow root, bananas and potatoes that have been mashed using a fork. Rice is also a good weaning food provided it is served with enough liquid. However, if your baby shows signs of choking or gagging, it may be advisable to blend the greens (spinach, cabbage, carrot or even broccoli) because they contain a lot of fibre and blending will assist in the digestion process.
During the weaning progression keep in mind the “quality” of the baby’s poop.
Keep an eye out on the texture (rough, smooth, hard, soft) the colour (does it reflect what the baby was fed today it should) and even the smell (ought not to be “stinky” because it should be coming out often at least 2-4 times a day). Of most concern would be the texture of the poop because hard stool can be a nightmare for babies. Therefore, keep note so that you can be adjusting the babies’ diet accordingly for example hard stool requires more fibre, therefore, increase the number of greens and reduce on the starch, i.e. potatoes.
Keep trying the different types of foods on your child. Do not try once and then give up. I remember trying to introduce pasta / spaghetti to our toddlers, it took me 3 tries over a period of 7 months! Today they enjoy pasta. A note to add here is that children also enjoy eating what you are eating, and they learn about the different foods and tastes through your diet as a parent/s.
For example, our children eat avocado because I love it, and omena thanks to the father.
Another really good idea that I have discovered is the advantage of food colours. We are blessed in Kenya with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, so use that to your advantage. For example, watermelon and mangoes are a hit with any child anywhere, so that is a good place to begin introducing “freshness” into the diet of a picky eater. Making smoothies using bananas is also a good way of getting this vitamin-filled fruit into their diet, a dash of unsweetened peanut butter added is not only healthy but introducing different nutritious ingredients into the diet.
In all honesty, just try your best to give your child as much variety as possible-and if you are following the agricultural seasons it does not have to be expensive. Too much of something is never a good idea.
Solid Feeding Guide : 9-12 Months Old Baby
For example, I have a few friends who today do not eat the avocado because they had a tree (or two) in their compound while growing up and you can guess the rest and how much avocado they were “forced” to accommodate in their diets! I also met a gentleman lately who does not even want to hear the mention of the sweet potato or mihogo (cassava) because he grew up on his grandmother’s farm, and so during harvest time and season…the rest is history.
When travelling, the greatest challenge that I have encountered is on how to warm the baby food. Because generally speaking depending on the distance you can carry a few frozen ice-cubes of home-made baby food in an air-tight jar.
This coupled with a few ripe bananas and some milk to mash into the bananas is usually sufficient. But carry along a flask (or two) full of hot water and you can dip the food container into a cup of hot water to warm gently. On food flasks, I would advise not using them for long distance travel because you can never be really sure about the point where the food will cool enough for the atmosphere in the flask to be perfect for bacterial growth.
Yes, weaning too is a journey of discovery and a new stage of growth for our child.
So take the time to enjoy it as much as you can in the midst of mashed foods, cries of frustration (on both sides) and laughs of satisfaction as you succeed in giving the best that you can.