This week is weaning week and we have a fantastic blog from Katie at Scrummy Tummies, who is an expert in baby led weaning. She talks us through what foods to avoid giving to your baby and why, weaning FAQs and has provided a yummy recipe for all the family to enjoy! We hope this blog gives you the confidence to enjoy your weaning journey with your child! Over to Katie:
What is baby-led weaning?
Baby-led weaning (BLW) is when you let your baby feed themselves their food right from the beginning of their weaning journey. Babies are not spoon fed smooth mash or purées (traditional weaning) and go straight on to eating the same foods as the rest of their family.
What foods should I avoid?
There are a number of foods we shouldn’t give babies as they are either a potential choking hazard or because they could make your baby poorly.
Choking hazards - should be avoided completely until your baby is at least 5 years old
· Whole nuts (including peanuts). You can give nuts to babies and you are encouraged to give them from six months old when they start weaning but they do need to be served properly. Give to your baby either ground, crushed or as a thin layer of smooth nut butter. Nuts should be first introduced to babies in small amounts (around ¼ tsp) to check for any allergic reactions. Nuts served whole are a choking hazard and need to be avoided.
· Raw jelly – cooked jelly is fine.
· Sweets like boiled sweets & mini eggs.
Honey has a bacteria in it that when it gets into a baby's tummy it creates toxins which can lead to infant botulism so it needs to be avoided until a baby is one year old.
Mould ripened cheeses
Cheese like brie and camembert contain listeria which when it is uncooked can be harmful to a baby. This can be killed through cooking so if the cheese is cooked through in a dish then that can be given to a baby but if it’s raw it needs to be avoided.
If it’s got the red lion stamp on it then its fine to give to your baby in any form. If it doesn’t have the red lion stamp on then the egg needs to be cooked thoroughly (baked or hard boiled) before giving to your baby.
Rice drinks need to be avoided completely as they contain too much arsenic.
Raw or lightly cooked shellfish should be avoided as they carry a higher risk of food poisoning than other forms of fish and shellfish.
Shark / Merlin / Swordfish also need to be avoided as they contain too much mercury and can affect your baby's nervous system.
Why can’t babies have too much salt and how much can they have?
Babies only need a very small amount of salt in their diet however, because salt is added to a lot of the food you buy it is easy for them to have too much.
The maximum recommended amount of salt for babies and children is:
- up to 12 months – less than 1g of salt a day (less than 0.4g sodium)
- 1 to 3 years – 2g of salt a day (0.8g sodium)
When you start introducing solid foods, remember not to add salt to the foods you give to your baby, because their kidneys cannot cope with it. Switch high salt content foods like baked beans and stock cubes to low salt versions.
I’ve heard babies can’t have cows milk, is that true?
Babies can have cows milk on their cereal and in foods for cooking but it should not replace their main drink (formula / breastmilk) as it does not contain all the nutrients your baby needs. Whole cows milk can be given as a main drink from when your baby turns a year old.
What about allergies?
It's advised that potential allergen foods are given to babies in small doses and at least three days apart from each other. This is for you to be able to spot any allergic reaction and to then be able to identify what caused the reaction.
The top eight allergenic foods in babies are:
· Cows milk
· Eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
· Foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
· Nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground or in nut butters)
· Seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
· Shellfish (don't serve raw or lightly cooked)
If allergies run in the family speak to your health visitor or GP before offering potential allergen foods.
Roasted Cherry Tomato & Basil Orzo (makes 2 adults and 1 toddler portion)
This is great for little ones that are starting their weaning journey. It's soft, it's quick to make and only needs a few ingredients but it is still packed with flavour. Just season the adults food once the babies portion has been taken out.
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
20 cherry tomatoes, halved (then quartered after roasting)
200ml low salt vegetable stock, using one stock cube
1/4 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
Handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees.
2. Coat the cherry tomatoes in the oil and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, boil the orzo as per the packet instructions, usually around 8 minutes.
4. Whilst that is boiling fry your onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft, add the chilli flakes and cook for a few minutes more.
5. Add your stock and gently simmer over a medium heat and keep stirring.
6. Once the orzo is cooked add it to the mixture.
7. Once the tomatoes are cooked, chop into quarters add these to the mixture too and give it a good stir.
8. Dish up the orzo and add the chopped basil on top to serve.
Suitable for babies from six months. Ensure cherry tomatoes are halved again (so quartered) before giving to your baby.
For more recipes go to www.scrummytummies.com!
To celebrate Weaning Week, the lovely folk at Scrummy Tummies have given us a fantastic prize - a weaning bundle including a weekly meal planner and a weaning diary to help you and your little one navigate your weaning journey! To be in with a chance of winning head over to our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages now! Good luck! T and C's apply.