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Do your baby a flavour and try out some tasty meals.


DECIDING whether to breast feed is the first of many decisions mums have to make about their babies and themselves. The next big one is weaning.

Six months is the recommended time to start weaning your child off breast or bottle milk.

But there's no need to feel overwhelmed at the new responsibliity of cooking for your baby. It's a myth that young babies need, and like, only bland, plain foods.

Most will enjoy mild, creamy tastes like banana or avocado, which are wonderful first foods, but a six-month-old baby can try a wider range of ingredients and tastes.

Blogger Beth Bentley, who has written a book Young Gums: Baby Food with Attitude, believes it's a good idea to let your tot try a range of different foods.

She said: "There's scientific evidence that a weaning baby is more receptive to new flavours than they'll ever be again.

"Of course, there are some foods that pose a safety or allergy risk but babies are braver than we think.

"My book is full of dishes you and your baby can share - coconut curries, tagines, pot roasts, stews, nourishing baked treats, pancakes, ice cream.

"Keep things easy at the beginning. I recommend focusing the first couple of weeks of weaning on simple, one or two-ingredient meals.

This will give you a low-stress way to get used to mealtimes, plus the opportunity to pinpoint any possible food reactions to discuss with your health visitor.

"Nutritious first meals are mashed banana or avocado, steamed sweet potato, butternut squash and carrot, or porridge oats whizzed to powder in your blender then simmered in your baby's usual milk, perhaps with a little smooth almond butter.

"You don't need to choose between spoon-feeding and baby-led weaning. You can do both, even in the same meal."

There are good things about both strategies.

Finger foods help develop motor skills, independent choice and familiarity with what foods look and feel like, plus the important skill of chewing first before swallowing. Spoon-feeding is a nice bonding experience with lots of eye contact and chat, plus giving your baby a hand getting some food into their mouth can help avoid them becoming frustrated.

Beth added: "Some meals are soft and spoonable, some are interactive, tactile and colourful. Many are both.

"You need less equipment than you might think and it doesn't need to be expensive.

"I started with a PS5 stick blender and a veg steamer I made by clamping a metal sieve between a pan of simmering water and its tightly-fitting lid."

Start out on simple meals with one or two ingredients


FOOD FOR THOUGHT Baby-led weaning and spoonfeeding can be combined

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 24, 2018
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