The Importance of Introducing Vegetables During Weaning
Over the past couple of years, the importance of vegetable-led weaning has been highlighted. One of the key things to successful weaning is to offer a variety of taste and texture so that your baby gets used to different types of food and develops a good relationship with food.
The weaning stage is a very important time to ensure your child is accepting of new foods and enjoys trying new things.
Babies have an inherent preference for sweeter foods (like breastmilk) so, generally, babies will accept sweeter fruits and vegetables over more bitter flavours. It’s therefore important to introduce these more bitter flavours from an early age to get your baby to enjoy them too. Some babies love them from the start but others will need to try the foods over and over again before liking them. Just keep offering small amounts several times over the course of a few weeks and the best time to offer new foods is when your child is a bit hungry!
The vegetable-led weaning trend has grown and many of us decide to focus on introducing a rainbow range of different vegetables in the early months of weaning. I did this with both my girls but even more so with my youngest. I also gave them some fruity foods as I didn’t want them to not like fruit either.
Vegeteabls are full of goodness — fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals — and there are so many types to choose from with different flavours, textures and colours. Plus, so many ways to cook them!
Vegetables that are good to start with are sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash, parsnip, potato, spinach, peas, broccoli, beans, cauliflower, peppers and kale. Cook them gently and mash or blend into a purée or offer cooked pieces or batons if doing baby led weaning. We did a mix of baby led and purées with Baby No. 2 and that worked very well. She eats nearly everything and is a huge fan of broccoli which she’ll choose over anything else on her plate!
Our lifestyle doesn’t allow the time for me to cook every baby meal from scratch and I’m a big fan of good quality shop-bought baby food that makes motherhood a bit easier and ensures my children get a good variety of organic and tasty fruit and vegetables.
A while back, I wrote a post with Baby Food Products & Brands for Vegetables First Weaning but I wanted to write an updated post and highlight that one of our favourite baby food brands have added new flavours to their range.
My Little Piccolo now have four flavours in their Stage 1 Vegetable Recipes that are suitable for first tastes:
- Carrot Sweet Potato and Squash with a hint of parsley
- Parsnip Carrot & Leek with a hint of thyme
- Pea Courgette Leek with a hint of mint
- Sun Ripened Tomato & Red Pepper with a dash of olive oil
These pouches are great for vegetable-led weaning on the go or at home and I love that there’s a bit of extra flavour too with herbs and olive oil to make them even more exciting.