It has been a busy six months at Tickle Buds HQ having just launched earlier this year! But on a more personal note for our co-founder Emma, it has been a very special year as she has also welcomed her new little baby boy into the world. In February this year, Louis, Emma’s second son was born…………..which means 6 months later it’s weaning time!
Emma and Louis will be sharing their weaning adventure as part of our Tickle Buds Blog series. Follow Louis’ weaning story for the ups and downs of their journey, some of Emma’s great new recipe ideas and all the little hiccups of first foods.
And we’re off…..
Louis has officially started on solids and just getting to this point feels like quite an achievement. It means we’ve all survived his first six months which is remarkable in itself but also Louis’ weaning journey, despite our best efforts, suffered from a couple of false starts.
Our first attempt to introduce Louis to the world of food was very short lived. He was ready, (he’d been starring at us munching down meals with such jealously for the fast few weeks it was starting to feel like we were torturing him), he was eager and he was bibbed and grasping a spoon. In an attempt to be very organised I’d earlier prepared a simple carrot puree only to realise just how unorganised I actually am as at the crucial moment I discovered I had nothing to sit him in. Our highchair was inconveniently 120 miles north in my sisters kitchen where I had left it for my niece’s own weaning journey. Mission aborted!
High chair retrieved and the following week I again felt ready to take the leap but a little niggly cough that Louis had been suffering with suddenly got worse. A trip to the doctors confirmed a throat infection. The little fella was struggling to swallow milk so introducing him to the delights of a pear would have to wait another week.
And so here we are. Third time lucky? After quite a build up Louis’ weaning has begun….at least I think it has! Louis doesn’t seem to have actually swallowed much (anything!) yet. We’re four days in and I’ve sat him down once a day. I’ve made the decision to go for simple fruit and veg purees (avoiding baby rice) and I’ve made carrot, butternut squash and today apple. Each time I’m met with a slightly aghast (actually, disgusted) reaction as soon as the puree touches his lips. Now I remember this with my eldest son, Ralph, that a mouthful of food is more likely to be spat out rather than swallowed, it’s all part of the learning process. But I’d forgotten how long this stage actually lasts and also that it’s slightly demoralising! A sweet potato simply boiled and blitzed can’t taste that bad, can it??
So I’ll continue to puree and I’ll continue to pull enthusiastic faces as every spoonful dribbles down his chin rather than eagerly swallowed. And I’ll repeat to myself not to worry as I do know it’s very early days and that Louis will learn at his own pace.
Just one little mouthful would reassure me though….one small sign of enjoyment would tell me things will be okay…. Nope, nothing! Louis weaning adventure may well have started but I think it may take a while!!
Emma, our co-founder, kicks off our new “Weaning Diaries” and shares her experiences of weaning as a first time mum. We hope this mini-blog will be a place where everyone who is or has been on the weaning journey can help each other with top tips and funny experiences but also share the hard times and help each other with things they learnt. This is the first of many “we’ve been there” weaning experiences so sit back and enjoy the ride!
Please feel free to comment or ask any questions, we want this to be a place where we all swap ideas and support each other!
I’m Emma and I’m a co-founder of Tickle Buds- trying to make the weaning journey easier! I have always really enjoyed cooking healthy food, I love trying new tastes and experimenting with new dishes. In the whirl wind of the first two years, it was really important for me to remember my passion and for it not to get lost in the business of being a first time mum. I wanted my passion for food to be something I could share with my little boy.
Ralph is now just over 2 years old and currently preparing to become a big brother in January. Eeeekkk!!
What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?
Don’t stress over the individual meals – the bigger picture is more important. Just because one meal doesn’t go well it doesn’t mean he’s a bad eater.
What helped you the most during your weaning journey?
Talking to everyone and anyone! Hearing that other parents felt exactly the same way and finding out that all little ones go through fussy phases, definitely reassured me through the tougher days.
What did you find hardest during weaning?
Ideas!!! I’d definitely have ‘blank’ days where I’d have no idea what to feed Ralph or what to make. I’d stare into the fridge hoping an amazing meal idea would jump out at me.
What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?
My microwave steamer was my weaning life saver. I’d never used one before, but now I wouldn’t be without it. Being able to cook fresh veggies really quickly definitely saved me a lot of stress.
Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?
Overnight oats are amazing!! Place equal measures of yoghurt, milk and porridge oats in a bowl and add whatever fruit you have (frozen berries are ideal). Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. By morning you’ll have a healthy, super-quick and delicious breakfast.
At the beginning of your baby’s big food adventure, weaning is all about tastes. Big, new incredible flavours! Your baby has 30 000 taste buds, three times as many taste buds as you, spread throughout their mouth. Imagine the strawberry you have just eaten tasting three times as sweet, the lasagne you had for lunch three times as intense and the ice cream three times as delicious. As we get older the number of taste buds we have reduces and they tend to concentrate solely on the tongue. This is thought to be the reason why babies reject very strong tastes and as adults we are more able to tolerate them, since quite simply we have less taste buds.
But back to our babies, imagine every banana or every apple tasting three times as flavoursome! With this in mind what are the best tastes to give you baby?
Fruit and vegetables are ideal first foods. Many parents opt for baby rice but it’s perfectly acceptable to go for fruits and vegetables, they are much more nutritious and also taste better too. Virtually all fruit and veg are packed with vitamins and minerals which help support your baby’s immune system, as well as fibre which helps to keep little digestive tracks moving.
Some of our favourite first foods include:
- Carrot– a lovely sweet flavour, carrots are a great source of vitamin A (beta carotene) which is vital for a healthy immune system but will also provide your baby with essential nutrients for healthy eyes.
- Sweet Potato– comes in two varieties: orange-fleshed and creamy-fleshed. Both have red skins and both are good sources of potassium, vitamin C, and fibre.
- Banana- an ideal first fruit, it’s lovely and sweet and once mashed is very easy to swallow- great for the start of the weaning journey. Bananas are a great energy food, full of slow release sugars which provide sustained energy.
- Pear– babies love the sweet taste of pears and being one of the least allergenic foods, they are a great one to start with. Pears are also good for babies with reflux as they are one of the least acidic fruits.
- Broccoli- this green vegetable of goodness contains beta-carotene, folic acid, iron and potassium. It can be simply steamed and then pureed or alternative chopped into little “trees” making an ideal first finger food.
And don’t worry it’s natural for babies to reject new flavours the first time they try them, the key is to just keep trying!
Welcome to The Great Weaning Journey. This is the start of your baby’s big eating adventure and it’s a hugely exciting time. This is the first time your baby will have tasted anything other than milk as a food. Your baby is dipping their toes in the big new world of tastes and flavours and you will be there every step of the way.
But a lot of parents, myself included, approach the transition from milk to solids with trepidation, I was definitely a worrier. It’s so easy to do and after all you have probably finally got your head around the latest ever-changing milk schedule for it to be suddenly whipped from under your feet and you are starting all over again in unknown territories.
This is a huge journey you take with your baby, you will experience the highs and the lows as your little ones finds the good tastes, and the ones they are not so keen on. And yes it’s hard and frustrating and messy, and sometimes you will feel like giving up, but it’s a once in a lifetime event, the only time they will discover such variety of new tastes, flavours and textures in such a short time period. It’s an intense bombardment of the senses for your baby.
But you will be there with your little one as they take their first ever taste. You will be there as they discover what they like, as their tiny but super sensitive taste buds begin to discover there are things in the world that taste of something other than milk. You will be there as they take their first spoonful themselves, as they manage to figure out how to use their forks and spoons and you’ll be there when they reject food, when the times are hard, when you both seem to be in a battle. But the most important thing is that you will be travelling this journey together.
It’s one of our greatest journeys in life, but one that’s often taken for granted. What you share with your little one now, will stay with them forever.
This blog is for anyone on a weaning journey, whether you are at the start, part way through or nearly there, we hope there will lots of useful tips to make weaning easier for you and your baby easier. “First foods made easy” is written by Helen and Emma, two mum’s from West London. We were always full of questions as we undertook our own weaning journeys with our three children and we wanted to create a space that allowed people to share their weaning advice, knowledge and tips. We hope some of our tips and tricks in the blog will make your day a little bit easier. Please feel free to share your own tips or ask us questions and we will post a reply as a new blog post. “First foods made easy” blog is all about simplifying the weaning journey for you and your baby.