I’ve already written about starting weaning in Weaning: The First Steps. That post deals with straight fruit and vegetable purées. Once your baby is happily accepting a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in purée form, you can move on to introducing protein and carbohydrate into your baby’s diet.
I was very keen to get meat and carbs into baby Ben’s diet, as I had heard that this would help him sleep better. In fact, his sleep became worse after weaning, as it coincided with him becoming very distracted during breastfeeding. He stopped taking enough milk during the day and made up for it at night. This seems to be quite common at around 6 months.
One of the first protein forms I fed him was beef. I made a simple stew using the following recipe.
Beef, carrot and potato stew
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 an onion
80g stewing steak
1 large potato
1. Finely chop the onion and sauté it gently in the olive oil in a medium size saucepan.
2. Cut the beef into small chunks and add to the pan.
3. Peel the carrots and potato and cut into small chunks. Add to the pan.
4. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
5. Reduce to a simmer and cook for around 1 hour. You may need to add more water.
6. Allow to cool, then purée.
Other combinations that baby Ben enjoyed were chicken with sweet potato and peas, salmon with carrots and peas and lentils with carrots, leek and sweet potato.
Around this time, I also started introducing finger foods. To minimise waste, I’d suggest cooking 1 or 2 extra pieces of vegetables with your own dinner to offer the baby. Ben just sucked them and threw them on the floor to start with. Broccoli florets and carrot sticks were good, but he didn’t really get the hang of it until we introduced bread. Toast soldiers, strips of pitta bread and even pizza crusts were a massive hit. Rice cakes and bread sticks were sometimes more convenient when we were out and about.
Once we’d established protein and carbohydrates into his diet, Ben did start dropping his daytime feeds. I’ll report back on his sleep when it improves!