Giving your baby their first taste of solids after so many months of nothing but milk is one of the biggest moments of the first year: it comes somewhere between the birth itself and the first time you cut their fingernails on the milestone-ometer. It’s exciting, yes, but it can be stressful too: what if they have allergies? What if they reject the foods I make? What if they get mashed-up carrot on your favourite cushion?

The third one’s a given, we’re afraid (since a little mess is a sign of a fun and happy mealtimes!) but the good news is, you’re not alone with your worries and questions which is why Ella’s Kitchen, the UK’s mosty loved baby food brand by parents, have launched WEANURSERY, an online classroom hosted by experts to help you learn the ABCs of weaning. But first, a few tips from us…

Lower your expectations

Chances are, you’ve been building up to this day for weeks, meticulously planning your baby’s first meal, asking around for advice and googling yourself into a frenzy. Then the moment comes and it’s all a bit of an anti-climax. While some wonderfully compliant and/or hungry babies eagerly gobble up that first spoonful of puree or fist of finger food, many others reject their first taste of solids. And their second. And their eighth, ninth and tenth. And it can be infuriating, especially when the grannies have been eagerly awaiting that first photo of their pride and joy smeared in carrot since they were about six weeks old. Don’t panic: they will get there in their own time and, a couple of years from now, when they’re throwing a toddler tantrum about their ice cream being the wrong shade of pink, you’ll look back fondly at the days when all they guzzled was milk. Plus, for some babies who seem to turn up their nose in disgust, it’s actually that each new food is just reeeeaaaallly new so letting them experience a new taste from a bit of puree off your finger should be considered a win! Remember, it can take up to 8 tiny tries before your little one learns to accept a new food!

Go easy on the expensive kit

You don’t need the highchair that looks like a spaceship – the cheap and cheerful options tend to be much more portable, and much easier to clean (some even go in the dishwasher!). It’s tempting to turn weaning into a shopping opportunity, but all you actually need are a few spoons, a sippy cup and a bib or two (in fact the wipeable bibs with sleeves or those with a food catching scoop at the bottom are winners).   Muslins are good to have to hand too, and who doesn’t have those clogging up every room in the house?

Keep it simple

If you love cooking, then by all means go crazy with the baby-friendly recipes (which by the way you can find loads of in the Yummy Kitchen page on Ella’s Kitchen WEANURSERY) – but remember, your little one doesn’t write a food column in the Sunday papers (yet), so be kind to yourself if sometimes you cook up a taste sensation and sometimes you give them shop bought pre-made meals. It makes sense to keep it simple with single veggie tastes at first, slowly but surely introducing them to individual tastes and textures and even including herbs and spices to see how they take to them – and this is made very easy with Ella’s range of veggie first tastes and veggie perfect puree blends.

Ask the experts – as well as your well-meaning friends and family

As with most things in the baby realm, it feels like everyone has an opinion about weaning – but not all of that advice is up to date or helpful. This is where Ella’s WEANURSERY comes in – the online classroom will support you with top tips from Miss Nutrition Claire, recipes in the Yummy Kitchen, plus handy guides and weaning wisdom from mums and dads who’ve done it all before; absolutely everything you need to make sure you and your baby have fun on this new sensory adventure full of exciting new tastes and textures (and a rainbow of colours).

Ella’s Kitchen, the number 1 baby food brand and most loved by parents in the UK, have launched WEANURSERY, an online classroom packed full of top tips, guides, recipes and lots of support from experts, so you and your little one can have lots of fun on the weaning adventure.  Go and check it out here.