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Annabel Karmel’s Top Weaning Tips – First Tastes

First tastes

apple and mango pureeNow for the fun part – those first tastes! Start with a single vegetable – sweet root vegetables are a good place to start as they are easy to digest and unlikely to provoke an allergic reaction. Sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash and parsnips are great because they have a naturally sweet taste, similar to breastmilk.

A good time saving tip is when cooking dinner for the whole family, incorporate something for baby too. For example, you can slice a butternut squash in half and roast this in the oven while dinner is cooking and then simply scoop the baked flesh out and mash or puree for your baby.

In comparison to sweet tastes, your baby will find sour and bitter tastes a bit of surprise at first as they’re not used to these. For this reason it’s important to offer those bitter tastes such as spinach or broccoli during those early days too to help them get to grips with these new flavours.

The best way to cook your veggies to preserve their nutrients is to steam them so that you can puree easily or blend to the consistency which works for your baby. Alternatively, if you are adopting a baby-led weaning approach, from six months you can offer them soft finger foods – steamed batons of carrot or broccoli florets and roasted sweet potato wedges all work well.

If you are starting at six months, it’s important to introduce critical nutrients like protein, iron and essential fatty acids fairly quickly. I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase ‘Food before one is just for fun’ before! And yes, food should be fun, but it also has a vital job to do from the very start of weaning in terms of helping your baby to get more of the necessary nutrients they need for growth and development.

Your baby’s milk feeds will still be providing the majority of their nutrition in these early stages but once babies hit that six month milestone they start to need critical nutrients such as iron from red meat and omega 3 essential fatty acids from foods such as salmon, which cannot be fully gained from breast or formula milk alone.

Check out the previous blog in this Annabel Karmel series of Top Weaning Tips in celebration of weaning week including Getting Started and Baby-led vs Spoon Fed.

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