It’s a gastronomic journey of discovery (and gas)
The bibs are prepped, the recipes researched, the high chair assembled; let weaning commence. It’s a stage often described as ‘fun’ and yes, it does have its plus points. For starters, you’re now on track to being able to bribe them with snacks to behave in H&M. And there’s all the ‘testing’ of recipes – purees can be surprisingly tasty with a slab of bread and butter and a sprinkle of parmesan. To be honest, however, grovelling around under a high chair with a damp cloth is not so fun, nor is the dawning realisation that the floor is going to need sweeping at least three times a day for the next 18 years. Time to put up a cleaning rota…
After months of intense deliberation with mum friends about the pros and cons of baby-led weaning vs puree, you make your choice and shop accordingly. When the big day arrives, you watch with trepidation, camera poised, as the first porridge finger or spoonful of baby rice goes in… only to be dribbled straight back out again.
Yikes, some babies’ delicate digestive systems do not get on with certain foods. And there’s only one way to find out which ones… expect constipation, trapped wind and gas expulsions that would shame a WWF wrestler after a night on the sauce. You may also spot signs of possible intolerances and allergies. If in doubt, call the health visitor.
Several weeks, into the process, you realise that it makes sense for babies to feed some things to themselves and for you to shovel in any slop they might fancy with a spoon. Suddenly, the whole agonising BLW vs puree debate feels like a bit of a waste of time.
They really like mashed banana but does that mean they will insist on eating nothing but sugar for the rest of their life? Have you accidentally given them a permanent sweet tooth with that sweet potato and apple puree? Oh blimey, one birthday party and they’ve developed a taste for cocktail sausages and Wotsits….
Small people have very particular tastes when it comes to interior design – no wall is complete without a splatter of baked bean sauce and a yoghurt handprint. You may start avoiding red and orange things and the pre-dinner ritual involves either wrapping the kid in bibs and tea towels, or letting them dine in just a nappy.
Just when you think you’ve got a (plastic) handle on the whole eating thing, the ‘no’ phase begins. “Here comes the aeroplane!” “I think not, mother.” ‘Here comes the fire engine, nee naw, nee naw!” “Don’t be ridiculous.” “Here comes the space rocket!” “A rocket? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?! YUM!”
Some toddlers can wolf down half their bodyweight in one sitting and others will be more… particular (“Why will you try to eat a slug but you won’t touch macaroni cheese, arghhh!”). One thing they all have in common – they never lose that ability to splatter food anywhere in a 15-meter radius or the conviction that the best place to wipe your hands is on your hair.
Our friends at Little Dish have spent 12 years coming up with healthy fresh meals and tasty snacks for toddlers. They’re the kind of dishes that families would make at home, with quality ingredients and no nasty stuff, all overseen by a nutritionist. Added bonus; minimal prep and mess, leaving you more time to wipe the walls down… Find Little Dish meals in the chilled aisle in your supermarket or head to littledish.co.uk to find out more.