Weaning is never simple, in fact toddler eating generally can be a bit of a trial! Most of us try our best to make the transition from breast milk or formula to solids a simple one, but it’s not always easy. Whether you have kids already or are a first-time mum, having the right advice can simplify the process for you. The thing is, there can be so much well meaning, but confusing advice on the web. In this post, we will steer away from complicating things and try and give you simple and tried and tested advice to make weaning your child a breeze.
This is a collaborative post.
What to do before you start weaning
You may think that weaning your child off breastmilk or the bottle is something you just do. It’s not as simple as that. All children are different and do things at their own pace. And while some toddlers can decide on their own that they are ready to move on to solids, there are children that need a gentle but firm push. If your kids are the latter, then taking your time and planning for the change is important.
So, how can you plan?
1. Remember that milk is still their main form of nutrition
Weaning is the first step from milk to solids of course; but your little ones will still be relying on milk as their main source of nutrition for a number of months after making this transition. If you are weaning from 6 months, then it is advisable to start with something smooth and simple, like baby rice. It’s a whole new experience, so slow and steady is wise.
If you are looking for some age-specific advice, do check out our weaning guide too.
2. Focus solely on this task
Try and wean your child during a time when there is not much else going on; when you have a toddler eating with loads happening around them it’s gonna be a “fail” from the get go! This can be a stressful time for your kids so do try and focus solely on this transition. For example, potty training and stopping the milk at the same time can prove to be very stressful for your child, so focus on one big task at a time.
It needs to be practical too, as you can find it difficult to incorporate a routine if you are on summer holiday, for example. Your child needs to feel structure regarding meal times to be able to fully adapt.
Part of that routine and structure for making toddler eating habits better can be something as simple as them having their own plate, cup, and cutlery. It’s all part of the process for them, and one that may make a difference. Sometimes we may be using whatever bowls and plates that we may have to hand, which is perfectly ok, but giving them their own set of tableware, like the new Nuby Eco tableware range, is a lovely way for them to have their own plate, cup, and fork, and other bits of tableware.
The new range is actually pretty special as it’s made out of rice husk, which is 100% biodegradable and compostable. Which is great for your family, and the planet.
Take a look!
3. Talk through toddler eating with your toddler – yes really!
Consider chatting to your kids about the change. Knowing what to expect can prove to reassure them as to what’s to come. If you have any older children, involving them in the conversation may be helpful too. If your child knows what is to be expected, they make be able to make more sense of how things are changing.
Having older siblings in the conversation also helps as they can help. Which can in turn make them feel more confident as they are involved in supporting a younger sibling.
4. Focus on their needs
Your toddler is now at a stage that they are more active and need a different type of sustenance and nutrition than they did as infants. So it may be easier for your kids to make the swap as their body asks them for more fuel. This means that you can take advantage of the fact that their little bodies will be hungry and need to eat.
Each child is different, some will prefer carrots to peas or sweet corn to chips (though all kids seem to love chips, to be honest!) but do keep an eye on what your child seems to gravitate to. Sometimes it can just be a matter of preference, just as it happens with adults.
5. Introduce variety
During this time of discovery, it is very important to introduce different textures and types of foods for your kids to try. It can happen a lot of times that they may become fussy eaters if you only give them one type of food or limit the variety that they eat.
Try introducing different types of foods from different food groups in a variety of textures, and colours. Many parents find this approach useful as it allows for a bit of independent exploration and gives you the opportunity to watch your kids and see what they gravitate towards. Sometimes it can be the texture of a food that can put them off or the colour. By being creative you can observe and plan accordingly. Some kids will prefer carrots to be in batons whereas others will be more allured by diced carrots. Other toddlers will go for round carrot slices. It’s all about being creative and learning what works.
Recipe ideas to encourage good toddler eating habits
Once you know what your child’s preferences are, you can make the foods they like in different recipes and different ways. It can also be useful for your kids to try recipes with the foods they do like whilst incorporating into the recipes foods they aren’t particularly fond of.
We have many recipes for kids, but you may like these to help you when you are feeding your toddler, why not try our tuna and sweet corn fritters recipe, for example. We know if you browse the site, you will find something you and your toddlers will like!
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We hope that this post has helped you. There is more information on feeding your toddlers and weaning on our site, so do take a look.
There are also great tips on weaning your toddler on the web. Take a look at some of these recommended posts.
Thanks so much for coming to see us today, and we do hope you will be back with us again soon.
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