An Introduction to weaning for babies 6 months and above: Part 1 - Supplies
The food ideas shared in this series are for babies that are 6 months+, and the menu is varied to include both western and Nigerian cuisine!
Are you a parent of a baby approaching the weaning stage and you are looking to start the introduction of solid meals?
Well look no further! This blog post ( or E-book depending on which version you are reading) has been compiled from a series of random posts and notes I have made on various social media platforms. My hope is that this post assists you in your weaning journey. Remember to breathe, be patient and enjoy the now!
Let’s dive in!
First of all let's look at some supplies you would need. Some are not essential items however they do make life far easier:
- Blender - specialized baby food blender
- Blender - hand held
- High sided mug
- Mash bowl
- Drink muddler***
- Steamer - electric steamer / pot insert steamer mesh
- Silicone ice tray
- Bib with the crumb catcher.
- Doidy cup
- Soft tip spoons
There are baby food blenders which are essentially mini blenders.... and some can be quite pricey. I think they are an unnecessary gadget especially if you have other alternatives… you can save your money to use on other stuff.
What I found worked for me is a hand held blender.... I got one a few years back and it's been gathering dust at the back of the cupboard until my baby turned 6 months and I was looking to get a blender until now.... so glad I didn't throw it out!
|Hand held blender with high sided cup / bowl|
Some hand held blenders come with a high sided cup to use alongside it, however if you have a blender without the cup attachment then you can improvise with a big high sided mug
I just put what needs to be blended in a large high sided mug, add some water if needed and pop it in till I get the consistency I need. it's really good for small portions blending or making purees. You just need a piece of kitchen towel to hold over to prevent splashes. This is an alternative to a specialized baby food blender.
The hand held blender is a very versatile tool as you can also use it to blend other stuff as well other than baby food as well as blend quantities both tiny and large that a normal blender won't handle. I got mine to make soups in one of my culinary adventures and all i can say it has made more baby food than it has soups!
|Specialised baby food blender|
If however you would like a specifically made baby food blender you can get this here.
Another gadget you may have lying around that you can modify for making baby food is a chopper - whether a stand alone chopper or the chopper attachment that comes with some blenders. If you have used these to blend or chop chillies or other spices, do ensure to give it a good wash and rinse to get all the spice residue out.
Tip: You will need to add some warm soapy water and blend in short bursts and after rinsing out, add plain very warm / hot water (NOT BOILING) and blend in short bursts.
The chopper is an ideal choice for babies from 7 months old when you want to start adding texture to baby’s food. As it is not designed to blend food smoothly, you can easily adapt to make it as lumpy as you wish.
A mash bowl can also be used, as it is a small bowl with a miniature potato masher tool that you can use to mash up really soft baby food.
This is an ideal tool for meals you plan on feeding the baby straight away, and the bowl is designed for use as a feeding bowl. Some come with a spoon and make a great travel tool for when you are away on holidays for instance.
A drink muddler - now this is really not essential, but if you or hubby are into cocktails and have one lying around they are actually fabulous at mashing the odd single portion of baby food.
|Wooden drinks muddler|
Muddlers come in wood, plastic or combination steel and silicone as the one one shown above.
An electric food steamer to heat up food is also very useful, or as an alternative you can get a small pot version of a steamer that goes on your cooker or a steamer insert to use with your pot. (we can't let lack of electricity dampen our groove now can we?!.)
|Steamer insert to use with a pot|
Silicone ice cube trays are great for freezing excess baby food. Silicone is preferable as it makes removing frozen food loads easier due to its flexibility. An ice tray with a lid is ideal, and I personally like the really large ice cube tray as you can make a decent portion of a meal and freeze.
|Large silicone ice cube trays|
Caution: If using cling film, please ensure you defrost properly and carefully remove any traces of film as cling film tends to get brittle and prone to breakage when frozen.
Tip: Make sure you label the containers everything tends to look the same when it's been frozen.
|Doidy cup, drinks muddler and wipeable bib|
The following give a list of feeding utensils and items that you will find helpful:
|Silicone crumb catcher bib|
A silicone bib with the crumb catcher. This is easy to wipe clean and catches all the food and water that your baby spits and spills out.
A wipe-able bib with a crumb catcher is also useful for days out as these are very easy to fold, wipe and can even wash in the washing machine after a few uses. These can be a small bib fitting around the neck only or the long sleeve version which provides maximum protection.
|Long sleeve wipeable bib|
|Soft tip spoon|
A soft tip spoon in the early days, this is very flexible and is gentler on tender gums. There are some versions that have a temperature sensitive tip that changes colour when hot, this is useful to ensure that the food is at the right temperature and does not burn the baby's mouth. An example can be found here.
A doidy cup - if you can find this it is absolutely worth it! This has made our cup drinking so much better and easier. Alternatively you can use a transparent cup, or I sometimes use the cover of the feeding bottle when we are out and about so I can see the level of the water.
Note: Most disposable cups have a rolled edge but the cut end is unfinished and is slightly sharp so be careful if you wish to go down that route as babies can't really control their tongues to avoid injuring themselves.
Plastic plates or preferably a bowl. it should be small enough to hold comfortably and securely with one hand. This is very handy if you are feeding the baby off your lap.
A small bowl with a tight fitting cover to use in the steamer. The lid needs to be tight to prevent excess water getting into the food. it could also reserve a few empty glass jars and their covers of baby food if you buy them. They are really handy for use in a steamer.
Note: all plastics used for baby feeding or food storage should be baby safe and BPA free.
Now we have gone through this list, I hope this has been helpful. Please drop your comments or questions and share this post to other parents you think this would help.
Thank you! See you in the next chapter:
An introduction to weaning for babies 6 months and above: Part 2 - General Tips and Ideas.