When it comes to weaning, there’s a whole new language to learn! Whether you’re a new parent, or revisiting familiar ground, whether you have a picky eater or keen foodie, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
That’s why we’ve put together our A to Z of weaning tips for caregivers, covering all the essential lingo, terms and trends. Forks at the ready, this makes hungry reading…!
A is for Annabel Karmel – one of the most-loved and well-known children’s cookery authors. From her App to her cook books, Annabel provides inspiration from weaning babies through to older years, with healthy recipes and fun ways to cook with children. One of our favourite recipes is her legendary fish pie, which takes just 45 minutes to cook.
B is for Banana – little one’s love banana. A popular and easy dish to make little weaners is banana mashed with avocado. Mash it up and spoon it up, always a hit with little ones!
C is for Chocolate – I mean, who doesn’t love it, children included! But just take note, it also contains caffeine so perhaps best to be avoided before children’s bedtimes.
D is for Dinnertime – the most fun part of the day! When your child is ready for a routine, sometimes dictated by childcare/nursery schedules, you will benefit from having a regular time for dinner. While every child is different, 5pm tends to be the typical time to get your children's plate on the table.
E is for Ella’s Kitchen – Little weaners will love the great selection of pre-made pouch food, cereals, snack bars and all the other delights Ella’s Kitchen has to offer. A handy one to have in your cupboard is ‘Prunes, Prunes, Prunes’ for those challenging digestion times when only prunes will do! They also have a colourful recipe book, offering great ideas for little weaners.
F is for Fun – Having fun at mealtimes can help create positive associations with them. Professor Mary Fewtrell, Nutrition Lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "If children find mealtimes fun from a young age, they’re less likely to be fussy later on...." (Daily Telegraph). If you’re stuck for inspiration, Munchy Play brings fun to mealtimes with its range of children's plates with a built-in track.
G is for Gluten free – If your child has a gluten-free diet it may be tricky for them to know what foods to have from the cupboard. You can help them by placing a smiley face sticker on gluten free foods for them to identify. Plus it’s cute!
H is for Hangry – You might have heard the familiar term. It refers to a person whose behaviour is affected by being hungry.
I is for Indian Food – A common question is can weaning babies have Indian food? The simple answer is that children can enjoy all kinds of foods, such as lentils and rice. However, if you’re thinking of spicier varieties, babycentre recommends that you shouldn’t introduce spicy foods until they are at least one year’s old.
J is for juice – Constipation is a familiar issue with lots of weaners, a drop of orange juice has been known to help get things moving! Aren’t you glad you asked!
K is for Kindergarten - Ok, so we call it 'nursery', but if your child is in daytime childcare, it's likely that they will be on a whole new timetable when it comes to dining. This typically means kids lunchtimes at 11.30am, and dinner at 4.30pm, which may dictate feeding times when they are with you too.
L is for Lollies – Great fun for the summer, an ice-lolly mould can be a fun and creative way of getting your child to make healthy fruit based snacks. Annabel Karmel has a host of recipes if you’re looking for inspiration.
M is for Munchy Play – Well it would be rude not to mention it! We're a children’s tableware range made by a Mum to help overcome the challenges of mealtimes with a toddler and pre-schooler.
N is for Nuts – You might be surprised to know that the general advice is that nuts can be introduced sooner than you think, in some cases as young as six months.
O is for Olives – Yum! However, be mindful of the salt levels in olives before giving them to kids. The maximum amount of sale for babies up to a year old is less than 1g a day.
P is for play– The importance of play, especially imaginary play is vital for the development of your child. It allows children to be creative, play with new themes and ideas and fine-tune certain skills. There's numerous reports about this, including one by the (official journal of American Pediatrics) which is worth a read.
Q is for Quinoa – A great alternative to pasta or rice, if you’re looking for a healthier option, or to mix things up.
R is for Rooting – The term used for the adorable movement a baby makes when it wants feeding.
S is for Sugar – The recommendation of a child aged 4-6 years is 19g maximum a day
T is for Teeth - According to the NHS, you can start brushing your baby's teeth from the minute their first tooth breaks through.
U is for Unique – No matter how challenging mealtimes are, remember are children are unique and reach milestones at different times.
V is for Vitamins – The government recommends that children aged 6 months to five years’ old take a daily supplement with Vitamin A, C and D. Some chemists actually stock drops by the NHS which are easily incorporated in to meals and drinks.
W is for Water – From the age of six month’s old you can introduce sips of water to your little one.
X is for XOXO – Kisses of course! Smother your child in kisses and reward them for good behaviour when they are learning to eat. Positive encouragement can go a long way. Plus, who doesn’t love kisses!
Y is for Yellow – Keep kid’s foods colourful, the bright colours will help keep them interested. Red strawberries, yellow bananas and oranges are great combinations.
Z is for Zoom- Yes, it's ok in this day and age to have zoom meetings and your baby next to you. If lockdown life taught us anything, it's that working parents run the world!