How to Wean Your Baby in 2021? Tips from Charlotte Stirling Reed
She’s the baby and child nutritionist to the stars, with Joe Wicks crediting her for giving him the confidence to “love the weaning journey” with his babies. Now, Charlotte Stirling Reed (Aka, SR Nutrition) is embarking on her biggest weaning adventure yet: the launch of her first book ‘How to Wean Your Baby’.
Her step-by-step plan is loaded with practical advice, helpful tips, and more than 50 weaning recipes that all the family can enjoy.
We caught up with the registered nutritionist and mum of two, to find out more about her book, what it’s like to work with and create Joe Wicks recipes, and learn some practical tips for dealing with picky eater toddlers.
Congratulations on your new book ‘How to Wean your Baby’. Tell us about the book and how it came about.
Thank you, I'm super proud of it and really think it'll be such an asset to so many parents who are about to start feeding their babies. Ultimately, I was getting so many questions every day about weaning and I wanted to create a book that was really detailed and answered all those questions for parents and is based on scientific evidence too.
I've learnt so much from working with Joe (Wicks) on Wean in 15, about what parents want and how I can support them, so I decided to put it all down in one place. The book focuses on practical tools, tick sheets and infographics, to help time poor parents get to grips with weaning and give them confidence.
Your book talks about the first 30 days of weaning as a priority. Why is this so important?
For me this is important as many parents can be anxious around introducing solid foods. But in my experience, all they need is a little nudge, a little support to give them the confidence to successfully wean their baby.
“This section of my book covers a step-by-step guide through the first 30 days of weaning. It sets parents up for the rest of weaning, helps them kickstart the journey with confidence, and hopefully shows them how fun and experimental weaning can be.”
Crucially, it also demonstrates how to start introducing a wide range of foods to baby. This includes; how to combine ingredients together after first tastes, how to introduce allergens, and when and how to bring in iron rich foods to a baby's diet - all things that parents are often unsure about. It's all there as a step-by-step guide with shopping lists, weaning recipes, tips and more.
You’ve worked with a number of celebrities. What did you learn from working with Joe Wicks on his brilliant Wean in 15 book?
I loved working with Joe and am forever grateful to him for helping me grow my own platform. He's such a kind and generous guy. Wean in 15 was such a huge deal for me and my career, it also gave me a massive amount of new experience that I didn't think I needed before.
“Joe Wicks is such a kind and generous guy.”
Every day, multiple times a day, we would get questions from parents, so I had to ensure I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about weaning, food and babies. I learnt so much during the two years working on Wean in 15, there really wasn't a stone left unturned.
Wean in 15 also helped me see what and how much support parents all over the UK need with this area too. It's something parents are nervous about and screaming out for more information, facts and advice on. That’s when I decided that my career mission is to give parents confidence with feeding their children. That’s been my strapline ever since!
How important is it for parents to make mealtimes fun - and at what age does this stop (if it does?)
Ideally we always want mealtimes to be enjoyable. "Fun" may be pushing it when you're having dinner with your teenage kids, but we can still make that time enjoyable for the family as much as possible.
I'm a foodie and I grew up with a family who loved food, so mealtimes were important to us. Instilling that from a young age can help little ones understand the importance of the social aspect of meals and eating, but this also can rub off onto a general enjoyment of the food on offer at mealtimes too.
“With young babies, everything is about fun, play and learning. The more that you can make their mealtimes fun and an enjoyable place for them to be, the better!”
They are more likely to want to be a part of it, and if they enjoy mealtimes, again, it can have a knock-on effect onto how they take to solid foods.
You have a three-year old son, have you noticed any picky eating behaviours and if so what you have done that worked?
Yes, I shared about this on social media just the other day. Most toddlers and kids will go through phases of fussy eating at some point. The difficulty comes when those phases become a lot more persistent, and you find yourself stuck in a rut and no-one is enjoying mealtimes. There are plenty of things you can do, and actually I cover this in my book in detail with five key principles and a whole section (at the back) about food refusal for babies.
Most toddlers and kids will go through phases of fussy eating at some point.
However, because it's so common in older children too, I also run Fussy Eating Webinars regularly on this topic. During lockdown we had plenty of phases with Raffy (my son) and I had to try and sit back and remember all the advice I give out to parents every single day.
Some of the things that really help tend to be:
- Role modelling
- Taking pressure off meals
- Serving smaller portions
- Avoiding alternatives
- Checking out their routine/hunger levels
- Offering plenty of variety
How to Wean Your Baby is available now from all good bookstores, including Amazon, and published by Vermilion, from £14.99. Keep up to date with Charlotte on social media @sr_nutrition
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