I’m no stranger to weaning. I’ve been there - mush up the walls, food rejected and spat out and a baby for whom bath day must be every day. Readybrek has got to be one of the stickiest substances in the world – have you ever tried to get that stuff out of a baby’s hair?
There are some good points though, those days when your baby appreciates all your hard work and gobbles up everything you have made. I have tried a few different baby weaning books, but the one I come back to again and again is this one. It’s an oldie and a goodie.
It’s the New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel. Now don’t go getting hung up on the idea of a planner that you must follow to the letter – that’s not the case. The idea behind it is to make sure your baby is getting a good variety of foods. It’s really flexible though and I tend to largely ignore the planner bit now and just cook and offer a bit of everything. The recipes are all easy to follow and mainly use ingredients you are likely to have already.
Feel free to substitute though, I do – a lot. Everything still seems to turn out well. My little one is 10 months so we are working away on the 9 – 12 month section. The book is broken down into stages so you know when to introduce new textures and flavours. As I am writing this a beef casserole with carrots is simmering away in the oven ready to be whizzed up with the hand blender later.
As for baby led vs traditional weaning I use a bit of both. If you get a few spoonfuls in then you know something has been consumed. Then I let our kids have some finger foods to keep them entertained while the rest of the family finish their meal, bits of whatever cooked veg the rest of us are having. Maybe some cooked pasta or even some chopped up fruit after main course and pre yogurt.
This is my second time working my way through the book and most of the recipes have been a hit. If you introduce something new and it isn’t well received don’t be discouraged – just wait a few days and try again. It can take a baby a few tries to get used to new flavours and textures.
If you are a new parent and you are trawling through all the books available, then I say make life easy for yourself – buy one good book and enjoy the experience of introducing your little one to the wonderful world of good food.
Some of the ideas in the book have become regular fixtures at mealtimes in our house. The chicken pie with cheesy mash is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken. The Mummy’s Favourite Fish Pie is really tasty. There are also some great ideas for treats with apple and pear custard, apple crumble and even some baking ideas. I discovered the best recipe for the easiest, lightest cupcakes ever. In fact most of the wider family is now using this recipe too. I never bother with buttercream icing – just standard icing sugar and water. It’s all about the sprinkles really isn’t it?
You can buy the book on Amazon for just over £12.00 here