Now that Jacob is 6 months old we have really started weaning in earnest*. I’d decided against baby-led weaning in the end—although I could see some advantages, I wanted him to start eating a reasonable amount. So we decided to wean Jacob using a mixture of purees and finger foods. He has really taken to eating, and I’m finding weaning a lot of fun.
I was apprehensive at the start though. I didn’t really know where to begin so I bought Annabel Karmel’s Feeding Your Baby and Toddler book. The book has loads of recipes for different stages of weaning, from first tastes through to toddlerhood, and provides really clear information on what babies need in terms of nutrition at each stage. At first, I followed the recipes religiously as I had no idea what I was doing. Now I’m more confident I use the book as a base and modify the recipes to come up with new weaning recipes based on what I have in the fridge. As we now subscribe to Abel and Cole veg boxes, I always have a lot of different organic veg so it’s good to be able to mix things up a bit rather than go out to buy specific ingredients just for Jacob.
I always make up a large batch of each recipe and freeze small portions in ice cube trays, then transfer the frozen portions into labelled freezer bags. That way I only have to cook a couple of times a week and have a nice stock of quick, healthy food for Jacob that I can just heat up each evening.
Jacob’s top 5 weaning recipes
1. Chicken casserole
I base this on the recipe in the book. It has chicken (I used leftover chicken from a roast), potato, leeks, parsnip and carrot. I sometimes add extra veg. Jacob’s favourites are kale and Brussel sprouts (I know! I have a weird child). If we don’t have leeks, I’ll just chuck in a bit of onion.
2. Fish and vegetables
This is another recipe from the book. Cod is the recommended fish and I usually add potatoes, carrots and tomato as recommended. But I will add parsnip or cauliflower if that’s what I have in the fridge. The cod is poached in milk with a bay leaf and some peppercorns (which you remove before blending).
3. Cheesy veg
I got this idea from the book, but now I don’t follow a recipe. I just steam whatever veg we have (potato, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, kale), add some grated cheese and blend!
4. Butternut squash, broccoli, kale and pea puree
This was a recipe I found on Annabel Karmel’s website. I wasn’t sure about the sound of this one, but I had all the ingredients so thought I might as well give it a try! Jacob loved it. It’s not a combination I’d have thought of, which is why it can be handy to have a look in a book or online. It’s taught me to be a bit more adventurous with my combinations.
5. Salmon, broccoli and spinach puree
Another one I got from the website, this is one of my personal favourites. I always hope Jacob won’t finish his portion so I get some! It recommends using shallots, but I use a little bit of onion if I don’t have any.
You may have noticed that all these recipes are vegetable based. Jacob just isn’t that keen on fruit, which I find very odd. Fingers crossed it lasts, although I suspect it won’t.
*We’d started a few weeks early with some fruit and vegetable purees. This was against the NHS guidelines. I’d done my own research on this, and decided for us the risk was low, but please look into it before starting early weaning. There are risks for some babies.
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