Parenting is all about rolling with the changes.
Babies grow and leap through phases so fast that if you blink you might miss them.
Just as you think you’ve got a grip on things and your routine is going well, something new gets added to the mix to confuse things.
Weaning was an incredibly daunting experience with my first baby and something I overanalysed constantly. Has she had enough? Will she still drink enough milk if I feed her this? Is she being offered enough vegetables? Why won’t she eat much fish? How do I feed her when I’m out for the day?
Really I should have just been happy if she had even a bite of food at each meal during the first few weeks of weaning.
With my second all I’ve found stressful is the frustration of cooking a big batch of healthy, delicious (in my opinion!) food and then having her reject it every time it’s offered.
But this was just a phase. Keep offering, and eventually they get the message.
My biggest problem this time around has been when we’re out at lunchtime. I have to pack an awful lot of good to keep everyone happy all day and it requires a lot of organisation on my part.
In the early weeks the mess and need to warm up purée made going out even more of a mission. Also having to battle to convince my baby to eat anything at all while in a bustling cafe or soft play was hard going. It didn’t stop me going out, but it did add to the stress of getting out and about with two kids under three.
What makes it easier now is my baby is less fussy about food she’s trying and she’s on three proper meals a day.
Now we’re at the really great part of weaning, where you can make everyone the same meal and don’t have to worry about having a food processor or microwave when out and about. Just mash with a fork and you’re ready to go.
I avoided baby-led weaning, it just wasn’t for me. But now my baby is ready for finger foods I’m loving giving her things to try that are so much easier for me to prepare.
Now I can make us all the same lunch when we head out for the day. It makes my morning and the logistics of going out so much better.
Here’s what we have in our packed lunch:
Sandwiches – simpler the better for us. I like cheese or whatever leftovers we have in the fridge like chicken.
Fruit – I pack several options as my toddler will also snack on them throughout the day. Grapes are brilliant but you do have to make sure they’re sliced up properly which is a pain. Bananas are great because my baby will now have chunks of them and they’re a grab and go food.
Organix Finger Foods – these now come in multipacks of four, which is such a fab idea. You can have them stashed away in your cupboard and simply grab a pack as you’re heading out of the door. We were sent some apple rice cakes and carrot sticks to try out.
My daughter is particularly keen on the apple rice cakes. My baby is so into doing things for herself now so she loves holding onto these and taking little bites or just chewing and sucking on them.
Anything that makes life easier, and keeps the kids quiet for five minutes, gets a thumbs up from me. What’s great about the Organix range is you only need to take a quick glance at the nutrition information on the back to be reassured that these are not packed with loads of added sugar or other nasty chemicals and salt.
Yoghurt – my kids are both crazy about Yeo Valley, they love it.
Raisins – great as a convenient snack.
I pack it all up in my little Storksak insulated bag that came with my Bobby changing bag. It’s designed to carry bottles but it’s been a brilliant picnic bag to carry items that need to be kept cool. I have a small ice pack that I grab from the freezer on my way out to keep things chilled on warm days.
If you’re still in the early stage, here are a few tips:
- Don’t worry about using some baby food sachets, they’re so much easier when out and about.
- If your baby is fussy about food temperature or you like to warm the food, pick a destination that’s baby-friendly. Many National Trust and similar places have a microwave in the dining area for customers to use.
- Take something you know your baby will eat, like a yoghurt or banana, as well as their main meal. That way you won’t feel stressed out if they refuse to eat a bite.
- Get a small insulated bag, you just chuck an ice pack in and you can take your own prepared meals out plus things like yoghurt and expressed breast milk.
- Get a water cup that lets you flip the spout closed or put a lid on. A handbag full of water is not a great thing to discover.
Did you find feeding on the go stressful at first? Do you have any tips for weaning when out and about? I would love to hear from you.