The lowdown on fuss-free weaning cont.

The lowdown on fuss-free weaning continued

Read on for more of founder of Mange Tout, Lucy Thomas' fuss-free weaning tips.

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Read her earlier tips here

7. How might you know if your baby is allergic to something?

On a rare occasion your baby might develop a red rash or hive like symptoms round their mouth after eating something new, this can be quite common with strawberries. This does not necessarily mean they can never eat this food again and usually the reaction lessens with repeated exposure to the same food. However any reaction should be reported to your doctor.

In extremely rare circumstances your baby's mouth and lips might begin to swell and they could have difficulty breathing, this is known as anaphylactic shock and is very rare, however if your baby shows any of these signs you should go straight to your nearest A&E department or call 999.

8. How quickly should you start introducing more foods?

During week one you can try the same puree or cereal for a second day, and then try a different flavour, building up to about 2-3 teaspoons at one feed. The next week another meal can be introduced, with a few different foods and a few more teaspoons.

9. What drinks can you try when weaning?

I love my water and always have a bottle within reach throughout the day. Molly soon learnt very early on to reach for it and as a result I ended up buying her the same green bottle so she could slurp and dribble all over her own! Offering a sip of water from a lidded cup during weaning (halfway through the meal) can help babies to adjust to the process of eating and having new textures in their mouths. It can be worrying if your baby will not drink water, however be reassured that your breast milk or their formula feeds contain sufficient hydration for them during weaning.

10. What are your top tips for stress-free weaning?

I would love to give you some tips for stress-free weaning! I really want parents to enjoy weaning with their babies, it is the beginning of eating together as a family and the beginning of a lifelong love of good food. But given my experience with Molly I know that babies also have their own ideas and opinions. So these would be my top tips to help you and your baby get started:

Set the scene for mealtimes. Have a routine in place for meals, just as you have an established bedtime routine. Make sure your baby is well supported in a comfy highchair – they shouldn't be wobbling about. If they are, stuff a towel down the side for a snugger fit.

Aim for a purée with a consistent texture. Babies will find this far easier to manage in their mouths. If in doubt, spoon purée out onto a plate and mash down any lumps. If you are making your own, add texture to a purée by adding a variety of foods which naturally have different textures. Avocado will give a very smooth texture, pulses when puréed will be powdery and butternut squash will be grainy.

Be prepared for mess! Wear an apron, put a plastic tablecloth under the highchair and find a suitable bib. If your baby doesn't like wearing a particular bib, they will already have a negative attitude to feeding.

Before you wipe their mouth. Encourage your baby to lick the food residue away. Leave wiping their hands and face and cleaning up until the end of the meal. Wiping hands and mouths throughout a meal desensitises your baby and prevents them from experiencing various textures on their skin, it also prevents them from smelling the food that's round their lips and on their nose. Over wiping and cleaning your baby during a mealtime can actually lead to increased fussiness later on, especially in the toddler years.

Don't force your child to eat a meal they don't like. If they turn away from cauliflower cheese don't make them eat it, but do take time to explore cauliflower away from mealtimes. Choose a time when your baby is not tired or hungry and this way they have the energy and curiosity to explore.

Relax and take your time. If your baby seems to be struggling with a new texture, take time to pinpoint the textures they can and can't manage successfully. To help them move forwards, you may need to go back a level and repeat some stages along the way so that they regain their confidence.

Look at the bigger picture. Remember that health visitors advise parents to consider what the child has eaten over a three-day period, rather than just one mealtime.

Lucy also contributed to The Organix Little Book of Weaning.

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