I’ve been asked countless times to share my weaning experience with Evie and I will hold my hands up now and say that’s probably because when we started weaning I think I unintentionally made it look quite easy. Which I will admit with Evie at 6 months when we started weaning it was easy! She would eat everything and she was a definite baby led fan however fast forward to her being a 16 month old toddler and although I know we’re no longer ‘weaning’ as such anymore, getting her to eat has been a challenge! So I thought I would just document our journey, share some of our favourite recipes, some honest truths and a whole lot of reality.
We started off weaning at 6 months old, we waited until then because quite frankly when they’re on a milk only diet is easy AF. No prep, no mess, no set mealtimes . . You see where I’m going with this? I’m laaaaaaazy. So yeah I held out until 6 months and we went with the recommendation of Ella’s Kitchen and did the veg only purées for around 10 days which you can read more about here but shortly after that it was apparent Eves didn’t have any desire to be spoon fed and loved picking her food up herself and exploring etc. There can seem like there’s a bit of pressure on mothers to do ‘baby led’ weaning other than the traditional spoon fed however at the end of the day you’ve just got to do what is right for you and your baby! I use to receive such a huge amount of messages about Mum’s worrying about their baby choking and yes in the beginning I was also scared shitless but then you begin to realise the difference between gagging and choking (there’s a great image on google which you can find here) and you begin to realise that this is your baby learning how to eat and every time they might gag on a piece of broccoli they are learning. So things went from strength to strength, she was a great eater, she lived for veggies, everything was fresh or homemade and I’ll be honest here I was naive as hell and I genuinely thought she would never eat chocolate or sweets or anything like that until she was 2 (HAHAHAHAHA).
I think a lot of things changed in regards to food when Evie started walking. Alongside developmental leaps and learning to walk her brain must have been in overdrive and we got to a stage where she just would.not.eat. I’d spend hours batch cooking meals and she just wouldn’t even touch them. She went from being a no.1 banana fan to point blank refusing them. She went from living for fish cakes to immediately throwing them on the floor. I just could not get her to eat anything (other than breakfast which she would always eat). And as a mother you worry, you worry so much. But like everyone said ‘she’ll eat if she’s hungry’ and yes it’s true but you feel like it’s your job to nurture your child and when they won’t eat it stresses you out so much! I got to a point where I was seeing everyone on Instagram and their babies eating full meals and loving life and being like WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? Where have I gone wrong? And the answer is nothing. These babies and toddlers have very strong willed minds of their own and they will do whatever they want to do when they’re ready to do it. Going through this phase made me regret so much going on Instagram stories in those earlier days being like ‘here is Evie eating this and eating that’ because for someone who was struggling with weaning that would have been a kick in the teeth. But in a reality I was just (actually I still am) a first time Mum who was excited and proud of my baby. So really this blog post isn’t really going to be a list of tips and tricks and advice on how to get your baby to eat but more of a reassurance that you’re not alone and I promise you it’s just a phase! Thankfully we’ve come out the other side (for now) and she’s back to eating all the stuff she did beforehand but it was a long 6/8 weeks where I felt like I was filling her up with melty puffs, biscotti’s and blueberries!
I’ll link some of our favourite recipes below and in general I try to batch cook these weekly and freeze them so I know I’ve always got something to give her. At the same time though she might still have beans on toast for her dinner or a ready meal if we’ve been out and nothing is prepared because that’s life. I’d like to think of myself as ‘middle Mum’, as in I don’t care if someone gives her a chocolate biscuit but I also like to know the majority of her food has been healthy and nutritious. I don’t give her freshly cooked organic and healthy meals every single day because sometimes chicken nuggets and beans is life. But at the same time I like to know she’s had a good amount of fruit and veg everyday. BALANCE.
- So a firm favourite in our house is the Annabelle Karmel Salmon, broccoli and cheese sauce which is SO easy to make I mean honestly if I can do it anyone can! You can also freeze it which is amazing, I usually defrost them and cook through and add to pasta and Evie loves it!
- Another go to food which is super quick, easy and so healthy is Aunt Bessie’s frozen carrot and swede mash. Because they’re sweet vegetables I swear Evie thinks she’s eating something naughty because she loves it! She’ll grab it with her hands and pile it into her mouth, it takes minutes to make and always makes me happy knowing she’s inhaled a decent amount of veg whilst enjoying it! We usually give it to her with quorn nuggets, sausages, fish cakes and things like that.
- A great finger food especially for the early days whilst they are still getting to grips with BLW is cheesy broccoli bites as they are full of vegetables, soft and easy to cut into strips. When we first started BLW we stuck to things like steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato (skin removed), banana etc as they are very easy to chew and soft.
- Talking of fish cakes another one of our go to diners is fish cakes. Sometimes when I’ve got time and I can be bothered I make these tuna and broccoli fish cakes which I blogged about agggges ago otherwise I’d just get shop bought ones.
- A pretty popular recipe (if you can even call it that because it’s so easy) with people who do baby led weaning are puff pastry pinwheels. I just used the recipe linked above from the BBC good food website and adapted the ingredients to whatever I had in the house! Once I even added ham, cheese and peas . . Random I know but she loved it!
I hope if anything that this blog post reassures you that if you’re going through the ‘fussy eater phase’ with your baby or toddlers that it’s a exactly that. A PHASE. It will pass, just keep persevering and try not to let it get to you. Other Mum’s are going through the exact same thing and you’re not alone even if you feel like you are. Honestly at one point I felt like I was the only Mother in the world who couldn’t get her baby to eat a proper meal! So I hope if you’ve been through this or going through this then this blog post can provide you with a bit of reassurance or inspiration on new things to try. Also, if you have any recipes or meal ideas for toddlers please leave it in the comments as I’m sure we could all benefit from some fresh ideas!