When your baby reaches 6 months old, you just about feel like you’ve got a hold on this whole parenting thing. You know when your baby wants milk, if they need changing and that you need to bring a spare change of clothes when you’re out. Just joking about the last one, when do you start to remember spare clothes? The point is, you’re getting there, you’re starting to know your baby and they are starting to understand you. You’re getting it. And then, it’s weaning time.
I had never even heard of the word weaning until Malala started to approach 6 months. It didn’t take me too long to learn that it means introducing your baby to solid foods. I have to admit, I found the whole concept quite confusing. Some women spoke about mashing and blending and others seemed to be feeding their babies finger food from the start. I quickly gathered that there were two main camps in the weaning world. Those that use pureed food and spoon-feed their babies and those who encourage their babies to feed themselves from the start, the baby-led weaning approach.
I had a go at both. I was advised by the health visitor that baby led weaning was the way to go yet, the people whose baby advice I usually seek and really trust, mainly my mum and mother-in-law, had only positive experiences with pureeing. I played around with the two approaches and found:
- BLW means that you don’t have to cook extra food for your baby, no peeling, chopping, mashing, blending.
- Pureeing means that you can see how much food is going into your baby’s mouth and so, how much they are actually eating.
- BLW means lots of mess! I have a dog and there’s still loads of mess so extra hats off to you if you’re dog-less and BLWing!
- Pureeing is handy when you’re out and about, for example in the buggy or on a train.
- BLW encourages independence in children (although you are terrified of them choking for the first few weeks!)
Fast forward to now and here I am (true to form), hanging out in the middle! I’ve been using a mix of the two approaches for a while and for me, it works really well. I usually go for a BLW approach at lunchtime, as I have more time to clean up and then I’ll spoon feed at dinner time, so I know that Malala has a full tummy and there’s not too much to tidy before her bath. This flexible way of weaning really works for me and i’m sure that I can’t be the only one who finds a mix of the two more realistic?
Recently, I’ve been lacking a little on the imagination front and I was really excited when Sarah from Annabel Karmel got in touch about Annabel’s new Baby Led Weaning Book. I had previously known Annabel as the queen of puree,but her new book proposes a ‘hybrid approach to feeding’ using nutrient-packed purees, soft finger foods and nutritious family meals. Informative, healthy and flexible – I was sold!
I’m not usually one for recipe books, I tend to find them fiddly, time-consuming and expensive. But, when Annabel’s book arrived, I was surprised with how lovely it looked and how simple and easy-to-follow the recipes seemed. It was modern and relevant with healthy and interesting dishes, making it more appealing than the popular BLW book I’ve had sat on my shelf, unused, for the past 3 months. Flicking through the introduction, I was interested to read about the benefits of spoon feeding and BLW, and the information about allergies, quantities and choking hazards are really helpful, especially for those who have just started weaning.
I was keen to give one of the recipes a go and after last weeks #Solidaritea, there was one which jumped out at me right away, Krispie Fish Fingers! That, and I had nearly everything I needed in my cupboard already. Always a good sign in a recipe book!
These were honestly so easy to make and Malala loved them. You can batch make them for freezing and then cook them from frozen to use as and when you need them. I had planned to do that but once Ed and I tried them, that idea went out of the window and we had them for our dinner too.
Here’s all you need:
- Rice Krispies (I know?!)
- 3 tablespoons of Parmasan
- 1 egg
- Sprinkle of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of Plain Flour
- Sole/plaice fillets cut into strips
Getting your fish fingers ready is as easy as 1,2,3
- Blitz Rice Krispies, parmesan and paprika and place on a plate
- Beat the egg and place on a plate
- Place the flower on a plate
All you need to do is dip your fingers into the flour, egg then krispie mix!
Next, your fingers are ready for cooking (or freezing.) You can either fry them for 1-2 minutes on each side or bake them for 12 minutes in the oven (200°C/Gas Mark 6). I went for frying because I had a hungry baby waiting. I was so impressed with these fish fingers and how quick they were to make. It took me less time to make these than it would waiting for shop bought ones to cook (sorry Captain!) I will definitely be making these again. To make a dipping sauce for your fingers just add a dash of mayo to some greek yogurt and fresh lemon juice.
I served my fingers with peas, cucumber and soft cheese as that’s what I had in the fridge, have a go and let me know how you get on! I am sure that you’ll find yourself with a happy customer like I did.
If like me, you think that a mix between spoon feeding and baby led weaning makes sense for you, or if you’re just interested in learning more about BLW, I cannot recommend this book enough. The information is invaluable, the recipes are exciting and the approach is flexible, with a variety of foods for fingers and spoons!
I’ve got my eye on this Banana Bread next…