Top tips for weaning your baby during isolation
5 min read
We know it's an extremley tough time and it’s hard to be locked in with young babies and children. Try to remember it’s temporary and that weaning doesn’t actually have to be too different during this time. Our nutirionist Charlotte Stirling- Reed has written up her top tips for weaning during isoaltion.
Carry on and keep calm
Access to some foods might be limited, but there are plenty of foods still available that make up perfect first foods or meals for your little one. So if you’re just starting, pick a time of day, get a few fresh veggies in and get the weaning journey started!
Take opportunities where you can
It’s always good to look at the positive side of anything that is difficult. Right now one of the positives I’ve seen with the families I work with is families eating together. Eating together and role modelling positive eating practices with your babies and toddlers can have a really positive impact on their own eating. If you’re weaning your baby, use this as an opportunity to really do some role modelling, sit with baby and eat similar foods to them. They will learn so much about how and what to eat simply from watching you.
Look at what’s in your store cupboard
What do you have in the back of your cupboards? Some of the ingredients there might be perfect for making meals for baby or for adding extra flavours to their foods. A bag of dried lentils, some lasagne sheets, some mixed herbs and spices? – you name it, these could be perfect for making meals for your family and your baby! Sometimes having to use up all your foods is a great way of getting your baby to experiment with foods that they haven’t tried before.
Don’t be nervous of frozen fruits and veg
Frozen fruits and veg often get a bad rep, but actually they can be more nutritious than fresh fruits and vegetables sometimes. They are also cheap and really easy to add to meals to increase taste, texture and veggie intakes. Think frozen fruits in porridge or a handful of frozen veggies in baby’s curry! So if you can add these to your shopping list and use them in meals for the whole family!
Make family meals and adapt for baby where needed
When you’re weaning baby meals don’t have to be made separately from the rest of the family. It’s great if you can get baby involved in your own family meals as early as possible. Bring baby to the table with you and share your meals as much as possible to give baby plenty of variety and exposure to plenty of tastes. Just remember not to add salt or sugar or anything TOO hot – you can always flavour your own foods with those later on!
Introduce allergens one at a time
Lots of people are nervous introducing allergens at this time, but advice to try to get them in fairly early still stands. If you’re nervous, book a consultation with your GP before you start (ask if there is anyone who specialises in allergies at your GP surgery) and try to remember that allergies aren’t common in babies. Additionally, hospitals and emergency services are still very much running. Check out my blog on Introducing Allergens during Weaning though and try to follow the guidelines of introducing them such as: offering one at a time, early in the day and ensuring that the allergen is the ONLY new food that day.
Stick with a routine around meals and avoid grazing
It’s so easy during this time to have no routine around anything. However, having a structure around mealtimes for baby (and toddlers) can really help them to understand their hunger and fullness and also be more accepting of the foods you offer at mealtimes. It’s so hard to keep up with what babies have had if they’re grazing all day too and therefore balance often goes out of the window. Don’t stress yourself out about it, but try to have some kind of routine still in place for meals so baby knows when to expect their meals vs milk.
Written by Charlotte Stirling-Reed – The Baby & Child Nutritionist for Babease.