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    Weaning made fun with TUM TUM

    As experts in baby weaning and toddler feeding products, TUM TUM, have lots of great advice to help parents get started with weaning. For them, the focus is making weaning fun to ensure the development of independent and happy little eaters. Weaning is an exciting time for both parents and baby – you may be eager to start, but you may also be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information out there. As parents ourselves, we experienced the highs and lows of weaning when our spirited (and sometimes picky!) daughters were little. As we have now completed our weaning journeys, we have developed a range of weaning products to make the experience more fun. All parents want confident, adventurous little eaters so we’ve developed this advice based on our own experiences, as well as utilising expert advice from the NHS, child weaning nutritionists and inspiration from chefs. After all, weaning is a journey and there are many milestones along the way!   When to start weaning It is recommended to start weaning when your baby is six months old, as until this point, breast milk or formula milk provide all the energy and nutrition your baby needs. By six months, your baby’s digestive system will have developed enough to be able to cope with solid foods, and in fact, feeding them anything other than milk before this time may be quite harmful. Your baby will probably be telling you that they are ready to start weaning by copying your chewing motions and putting things in their mouth. Some babies make it very clear, but even if your baby is not showing you these early signs, it is still best to make a start at six months since it is an important part in their development.   Three tell-tale signs to look out for before starting weaning:
    1. Your baby can sit up (with some support) and is able to hold their head steady
    2. They can reach for and grab objects with confidence
    3. They can swallow – and by this we mean you will see less food being pushed out their mouth and around their face and more going down
      How to get started weaning So you’re ready to start…but what do you do first? A good first step is to understand the different approaches to weaning – Baby-lead weaning (BLW) and traditional weaning (purees). The main difference is that BLW lets little ones feed themselves and introduces whole foods straight away, such as fingers foods like cooked carrot sticks. Traditional weaning on the other hand, involves spoon feeding your baby with purees to start, and gradually exposing them to lumpier foods and increasing amounts over time. There is no right or wrong way to wean your baby – it’s a personal choice, and one for you to make. It is also perfectly fine to choose a mixture of the two methods if you prefer. You can enjoy exploring a range of different foods with your baby from the start but there are some foods to stay away from: Under 12 months Honey Added salt & sugar Raw or lightly cooked eggs   Under 5 years Raw shellfish Whole or chopped nuts, or large seeds Shark, swordfish or marlin   It’s also important to remove hard pips and stones from fruit and remove bones in meat or fish before serving. Cutting small round foods, like grapes and cherry tomatoes, into small pieces is also recommended.   Some children can be susceptible to allergies, so it is advisable to offer the below foods one by one from six months in small amounts to start with: Nuts & Seeds Eggs Wheat & other gluten containing cereals Fish & shellfish Cow’s Milk   If your baby has any reaction, including a rash, swelling, itching, vomiting or diarrhoea, it is best to contact your doctor or health visitor for advice.   What equipment you need with weaning First and foremost, you will need a highchair, and there are many different styles to choose from. Our top tip would be to go with one with as few parts as possible, so it is easy to clean because weaning is messy! The Ikea Antilop highchair is a good example. A weaning plate with a cute design but also durable and practical is a ‘must’. Our TUM TUM Eco Dippy Face Plate has dippy pot ears for dips such as hummus or yoghurt and steeper sides so babies can eventually learn to scoop up their food more easily using the side of the plate. This plate also comes with a powerful suction base which comes into its own when babies realise how fun it is to throw their plate on the floor and watch you mop it up! Talking of mess, let us introduce you to very clever invention called the Tidy Tot – this nifty bib and tray kit covers baby completely and eliminates the gap between baby and the highchair so no food falls on baby’s lap. The tray also keeps food in easy reach of baby so it is great for BLW. A good set of weaning spoons is also a must. Our Double Ended Swapsie Spoons have a small and large spoon on each end which solve the problem of baby swapping to the handle end when they gain more independence. Finally, a good cup. There are many types of cups available. We have found that a sippy cup with a weighted straw is a good option as the weight follows the liquid whichever way the cup is held so liquid is free flowing.     Have fun with food Weaning needn’t be boring! And in fact, as your baby grows into a toddler you can have lots of fun making creative foodie plates for them to enjoy. Growing vegetables and fruits is a great way to get little ones involved and interested in what they’re eating, and you’re more likely to get them to try new things if they’ve seen it grow! Putting little pictures in lunchboxes, writing notes for lunchbags or drawing a smiley face on a banana skin are other little ways to surprise and delight toddlers.   Our final top tip is to stay relaxed, make weaning as fun as possible and enjoy the food adventure you and your little one are taking!   For more information about TUM TUM and our award-winning weaning products, please visit www.tumtumtots.com

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