The weaning advent calendar

My youngest daughter has just turned 6months so I am starting the weaning (introducing solid food alongside milkfeeds) journey again and I am really excited.  This age is when your yummy squidgy baby’s personality really starts to shine through and I can’t wait to see my daughter’s reaction to the new world of food she is about to experience.  So, as her turning 6months falls at the end of November and corresponds with the countdown to christmas, I thought I would do a Weaning Advent Calendar.

Note: I am not feeding her chocolate everyday until christmas!


Day 1 – I do a mix of baby led weaning and purees, pouches and jars, so for her first tastes today I gave her some roasted sweet potato and butternut squash finger sized pieces and a Ella’s Kitchen pouch – ‘Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apples and blueberries’.  I signed up on the Ella’s Kitchen website to receive a free weaning pack which you can see here:

Day 2 – Today she finished off yesterday’s Ella’s kitchen food pouch (given at lunchtime today) and also had some cooked carrot sticks.  See how it went down here:

Day 3 – Today she had a Hipp Organic food jar and some sliced avocado (given at lunchtime).  See how it went down here:

Day 4 – Today she had the rest of theHipp Organic food jar from yesterday and some sliced & peeled apple and grapes.  Here is a short video of what she thought:

Day 5 – Today we had a very busy day, doing lots of lovely festive things (see here), so we were out all day.  Although this obviously doesn’t have to stop weaning, she was asleep while we were eating lunch and then we had a takeaway for dinner, so I wasn’t too fussed over insisting she had something ‘proper’ to eat today.  She did however, have a little taste of my porridge in the morning which she seemed to quite like (made with whole cows milk), so today’s ‘door’ is porridge! 🙂

Day 6 – The toddler and I mostly ate alternative christmas cake today 😉 but for Baby, today’s new taste was mashed potato, which I sort of rolled up into balls for her to pick up from her highchair tray.  They did go down pretty well but…. then she was sick 😦 think it was due to her having a bit of a cold at the moment rather than the food but either way we called it a day after that.

Day 7 – After yesterday’s sick incident and because she is still bit snotty I decided to stick to fruit today so gave her slices of banana and a Hipp Organic fruit pouch.  Both went down really well but think her appetite is still not 100% due to illness.

Day 8 – Today we were out for lunch and I had some vegetable soup, Baby was eyeing it up while sitting on my lap, so I gave her some of the carrot cubes and she gobbled them up!  She is still getting used to using her tongue to move food to the back of her mouth rather than pushing it out (sucking motion required for drinking milk) so some kept popping out but overall it went down very well and I think the added taste from the soup on the carrots helped.


Day 9 – Today Baby’s first taste was wholemeal Pasta spirals, given at dinner time as that was what we were having and she really munched them up.  She is a bit lazy at picking them up and actually getting them in her mouth, but if you pop a little bit in her mouth she chomps it right down.  I think it is important to remember here that every child is different and while my eldest was the pinnacle Baby-Led weaning child and would spoon feed herself and grab anything put on her tray and chomp on it, this baby is a little more relaxed about the whole situation and luckily so am I!  She can take it at her own pace.IMG_0687

Day 10 – Today for lunch Baby had a taste of a Ella’s Kitchen pouch (Bananas, apricots and baby rice flavour) and she loved it!  Typically after I stopped filming (see below) she really started to get into it and munched it down.  So for dinner I gave her some omelette (well cooked) and avocado the same as we were having and then she had some more of the pouch!  Very successful day and we seem to be making some big developmental steps in terms of eating.

Day 11 – Today Baby had a little bit more of the Ella’s Kitchen pouch (Bananas, apricots and baby rice flavour) from yesterday which is definitely a firm favourite so far.  Then in the evening she had some of the roasted sweet potatoes we all had with our dinner.  I love the influence Baby-led weaning has had, because I have never been scared to give my girls the same food we are eating (within reason – no takeaway for them!).

Day 12 – The Toddler has been very poorly today, so things with weaning have taken a bit of a back seat, but she has had a new taste today – Cow&Gate Apple and Pear fruit pot.  Thought the vitamin C boost may help her to fight off the Toddler’s bug!IMG_0854

Day 13 – Today was a very busy day with us eating mostly party food at the Toddler’s friend’s birthday party!  So poor baby only had a little taste of food today in the form of a Hipp Organic jar of Apple and Blueberry.  Which made for a very colourful baby face! 🙂


Day 14 – Today we had a ‘Monday roast’ so baby got to taste a range of cooked veg and some small soft bits of chicken.  I had cooked the parsnips in honey so she did not have any of them (Honey is not advised until after the age of 1year), but she enjoyed munching some savoy cabbage, broccoli, roast potato and the chicken went down pretty well too.  A successful day for weaning.

Day 15 – Mornings and lunchtimes are a bit chaotic at the moment with the toddler so it was a dinner only tasting today for baby.  I made a courgette and sweetcorn risotto with the stock from the roast chicken we had last night.  I thought the baby would love it as I can remember this being a firm favourite with my eldest when she was weaning but her sister was not as keen.  Although she did try it all which at this early stage is the most important thing.

Day 16 – We had a ‘freezer food’ dinner today of pizza and chips so the baby had a Hipp Organic carrots, cauliflower and peas food pouch warmed up.  She didn’t eat a great deal but had a few spoonfuls so I was pretty pleased.


Day 17 – Today I gave the baby some mashed banana on lightly toasted best of both bread and she loved it!  Not everything went down but everything was well and truly sucked, chewed and tasted.

Day 18 – Today’s window is sweet potato, not a new taste but a ‘superfood’ and something the rest of the family enjoy.  Baby really enjoyed mushing up her roasted sweet potato wedges and even managed to eat a bit of it!

Day 19 – Not a great deal of veg on offer today so baby had a Hipp Organic apple and cranberry breakfast pot today and really enjoyed it.


Day 20 – Although I felt like baby was not as keen and quick on the whole baby-led weaning thing as her sister in the beginning, she is making definite developments and while not a great deal of food actually goes down the hatch, some is (as evidenced in the nappy department) and at this stage tasting, coordination and textures are the most important aspects.  Breastmilk (or formula) still provides all the nutrients she requires.  Today baby played (not going to lie it was more messy play than dinner) with some soft noodles.

Day 21 – Unlike other days today’s taste was at breakfast with the building material known as Weetabix! I swear that stuff is stronger than cement!  Warning, clean it up straight away, leave it until after the school run and you will be scrubbing for a long time.  I used warm whole cows milk on the weetabix and a few spoonfuls went down pretty well.

Day 22 – Today I decided to give the baby the exact same dinner as everyone else, this is what I will be doing everyday soon.  Past 1 year baby will be able to eat everything we do and as I always cook with minimal or no salt adults and children all have the same meal in my house.  Obviously it is still early days so the baby was just tasting today, rather than eating a whole portion but it went really well.  I can already see a development in her eating even after just these few days.


Day 23 – Baby enjoyed some pear slices at lunchtime today and some greek yoghurt with fruit puree for dessert at dinnertime (she was asleep during actual dinner!).

Day 24 – Unsurprisingly I have been really busy today!! But we had dinner at my parents house and my dad made a delicious fish pie.  Baby got a taste of haddock, cod, mashed potato and hardboiled egg.  A messy dinner! Thank goodness we were not at home and I could pass her to my mum to stick straight in the bath 😉

Day 25 – ITS CHRISTMAS!!!! So it was only fitting that baby had an Ella’s Kitchen Jingle belly Christmas Dinner 🙂




Highchair suggestions, comments and advice

IMG_0502To go along with all the weaning posts and videos I am doing at the moment I thought I would do a quick post with some highchair advice.  Mainly because we made a big mistake with the first highchair we had for our eldest.  It looked great, it had a comfy padded seat that was wipe clean and a removable tray so I thought I had ticked all the boxes and was pretty chuffed with it for the first few months.


What you don’t realise when first buying a highchair is the extent of the abuse they will suffer from your little darlings 🙂 so, although the chair we went for had all of the above good points it also had some massive negatives and these are common pitfalls of a lot of highchairs so I thought I would share them with you.

Look for straps that are DETACHABLE; the straps take a lot of abuse in the form of mountains of food often in pureed form falling on them so a wipe down clean will literally not scratch the surface.  The replacement chair we went for had detachable straps and I just bung them in the washing machine!

Look for seats that are EASY TO CLEAN, now the seat on the first chair was wipeable and I thought I was winning but actually again if you can’t detach it from the highchair frame then a wipe clean won’t do the job, especially if there are thick cotton seams in the corners as these get very grubby after a while!

So what sort of chair would I recommend?  A very basic looking one, as you will very quickly realise that some of the prettier ones in the shops only last a few months before they are so disgusting you want to bin them.  The chair we went for second time around was the Mothercare MiHi Highchair (good point maybe to note that the first chair we had and were now chucking out, was also a Mothercare highchair but completely different design).  The other highchair we would have got second time around was the Ikea Antilop highchair with tray as that has all of the same positive features.  Both of these highchairs are cheap as chips but trust me they are the best on the market!

We have also very kindly been given a second hand Stokke Tripp Trapp chair for our eldest (no attachments just chair) which I do love, although I have no experience of the attachments for younger children.  But if you are adamant to splash a bit more cash on your highchair then maybe look at the Stokke Tripp Trapp or similar chairs.


Please note: I am just a mummy giving my opinion on products I have purchased and used.

Weaning top tips

IMG_0502Weaning (British meaning – starting to give your baby food as well as milk) is a really fun and exciting time for parents and babies.  But even for second-time-round parents, a quick refresher of all the recommendations, dos and don’ts and ‘rules’ of this milestone is helpful.

Just a reassuring word from someone who has done it all before and is doing it again can be good.  So here it is.

Quick disclaimer, I am not a health professional, I am just a mummy who is about to start weaning her second baby.  I also don’t tend to follow the million and one rules and regulations certain baby websites, parents, food companies and so on decide to create when it comes to weaning.

Who would have thought that the simple subject of giving our little people their first tastes of ‘real’ food could be so controversial and filled with rules!

So here are my TOP TIPS:

  1. When to start weaning – personally I have waited until 6months with both my girls, because I like to know they will cope well with any food from the start, but it really does depend on you and your baby, many people start a bit earlier.  Look for cues that your baby is ready; wait until your baby can sit up in a highchair, until they can guide things to their mouth and when they start grabbing food out of your hand it is a good signal they are ready.

  2. Don’t worry about mess – starting to give first tastes is all about experimenting and learning, so in reality not a lot of food actually goes down the hatch!  The majority will be all over your baby’s face & body, the highchair, the floor and the walls (if they are a really good aim).  A good highchair (keep an eye out for my highchairs post, coming soon) and a wipe clean mat on the floor are all good ideas as well as lots of good bibs.

  3. Big brothers/sisters are a big help – babies seem to learn the quickest through watching their older siblings, so sitting them down together at meal times so they have a good (sort of) example and so the older ones can help to feed and encourage the baby are great ideas.

  4. Some babies like to do it themselves – a lot of babies like to hold the spoon and my eldest was one of these, so I let her!  It sounds simple, but the amount of people I see trying to stop their baby from getting the spoon, or giving the baby an empty spoon to hold while they ‘sneak’ food into the baby’s mouth, baffles me some what.  I know it can be messy but you are teaching them to eat, so if they want to do it themselves from the start then fantastic! See BLW below too.

  5. Variety and flavour – would you eat the things you are feeding your baby?  Now I am not saying give them some spicy chilli and a glass of wine!  But don’t be surprised if the mashed up, luke warm carrot doesn’t go down so well.  Mix things up and give some different, tasty, healthy options.

  6. BLW – I LOVE Baby Led Weaning (BLW) which is basically the idea that babies can have ‘normal food’ from the start so you just hand them the same food you are eating in suitable sized pieces and they feed themselves.  Although I do a mix of both BLW and some purees/pots/pouches I think there is a lot to learn from the BLW ethos, so check it out.

  7. Everything doesn’t have to be home made – so weaning is one of those areas where parents like to compete in the ‘I am earth mother extraordinaire’ games and you here many a parent brag about the reams of homemade (ice cube trays full of) stuff they have made for their little darling.  But the truth is, there are a lot of really good pots, pouches and trays of baby food available now, so don’t beat yourself into a mush (get it! 😉 ) over making everything yourself.

  8. Don’t eat it all up! / how much to feed them – while I am a very non-interfering and non-judgemental person when it comes to others’ parenting methods, I always sigh when I see parents trying to force those last few bits of the jar/pouch down their baby, or insist they eat everything on their plate.  Base how much you feed them, on their appetite, not the size of the packet.                                                                                                          As a rough guide babies tend to eat the following amounts: 4-6months = few mouthfuls a day / 7-9months = 3 different meals a day but amount guided by baby’s appetite / 12months+ = 3 meals a day with 2-3 healthy snacks.

  9. First foods – Vegetables are the best first foods (eg. cooked carrot, potato, sweet potato, broccoli, butternut squash) then fruit is good next (eg. avocado, banana, pear).  But after those first few tastes move onto everything (only couple of rules, see below).  Include all food groups: cereals (eg. bread, pasta, rice twice daily), fruit+veg (in all meals), protein (eg. meat, fish, beans, eggs twice daily) and dairy (eg. yoghurt, cheese once daily).

  10. When to feed – choose times when they are alert, not too hungry but not full either and when they are happy.  Don’t try to substitute milk feeds with solids, instead offer a little milk first, if they are so hungry they are upset or frustrated, or give milk feed after they have tasted some new yummy food.

  11. Drinks– once you have started giving solid food, babies can have cooled boiled water as a drink with their food, give it in a ‘sippy cup’ – a cup with a lid and a free-flow opening, so they don’t have to suck to drink and therefore begin to learn to drink from a proper cup.  Avoid giving juice as it offers no benefits and can create bad habits.  Cows milk isn’t suitable as main drink until 1yr but you can use it in cooking before then.

  12. Food safety – bit of a no-brainer; wash your hands and equipment and sterilise before feeding.  Throw away any unfinished served food as bacteria can be transferred from babies mouth to the food.  Heat food well, watch out for hotspots, ensure food is thoroughly defrosted if frozen and always check the temperature of food before serving.

  13. Cutting down the milk feeds? – Breastmilk/formula is still an important source of nutrition for baby until they are 1year old.  They still need milk and food is about fun at first.  Don’t force dropping of milk feeds, still feed on demand.  Naturally baby will start taking less and drop feeds by themselves.

  14. Food is FUN! – these first few months are all about fun, learning and good habits.  Don’t worry if things don’t get off to a good start or if they just play with the food, remember that children learn through play!  Even if you feel a bit anxious when giving them new food to try, do it with a smile, your baby will read your body language so give lots of encouragement.

  15. The rules I DO follow – so, while I don’t follow a lot of the excessive rules floating around today there are a few key things I would recommend:           No Salt in baby’s food, No Honey until baby is 1year old, Halve grapes and other round food before giving to baby, Serve eggs well cooked, Give full fat dairy and ensure water given for drinks is cooled boiled water.