Now Reuben has turned 6 months, it’s full steam ahead with project weaning a baby and, thus far, we’ve been trying a combination of baby led weaning recipes with some mushy stuff. He’s loving it and only a crap ice cube tray from ASDA has been harmed in the process (they really are only made for water!)…

weaning a baby

Swede ice cubes. Do not put in Rum and Coke

A couple of years ago I watched Julie/Julia the film about a woman who decided to make all 536 recipes in Julia Child’s catacomb of a cook book – Mastering the art of French cooking – in 1 year. I loved it so much my mum said I should really read the book. There was a lot more emphasis on the process Julie went through. She made a few dishes in the evenings and then blogged about it the next day. I was really inspired by her and this book is in fact the reason why I started blogging. She got to quit her job and become a writer!

I’d forgotten all about the book until I saw Alice’s first Vlog. She said, whilst feeding gorgeous baby Hux, “not even Annabel Karmel has time to be Annabel Karmel”.

This had me thinking about 2 things. Firstly, apart from the 2 leaflets the health visitor gave me when she came over to talk about weaning a baby, I hadn’t read a proper book about weaning Reuben. Apart from sleep, which I take VERY seriously, my approach to motherhood is fairly laid back. We have no allergies or eczema in the family so Reuben is low risk when it comes to food… I knew which foods to start with so we did just that. I hadn’t thought about the next stage though…the poor lad is going to look tangoed if he has any more orange root vegetables! So, Alice prompted me to actually have a READ (one of my new year’s resolutions), and I may as well read Annabel Karmel since she’s the only one I’ve heard of.

Reuben trying papaya for the first time at 6 months…featuring the critically unacclaimed Papaya song (in the words of my pal, Cath, ‘that song is shit’. Thanks buddy!)

Secondly, this reminded me of Julie/Julia. There isn’t a chance in hell that I’d try making even one of Julia Child’s recipes at the moment but surely I could handle some baby food?!? Maybe I could do my own dumbed down version of the Julie/Julia Project. [The Hannabel project, if you will. Maybe not, sounds a bit too Silence of the Lambs and I could do without the link to cannibalism!]

Weaning a baby…

Since then I have bought the AK book (Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner) and having now read it I’m going to have a go at being Annbel Karmel for a month! The rules will be thus:

1) I will make all the recipes that are suitable for Reuben’s age and stage

2) we will follow the suggested guide menus for Reuben’s stage

3) I still have to do all the other things I normally do – if this is to be a true test of the practicality of being Annabel Karmel, I can’t go on strike and only make baby food. AK wouldn’t.

4) at any signs of a tantrum (mine) I must count to 10 and think ‘what would AK do?’ I imagine the inevitable answer will be to smile and make baby food (then clean the house, do the washing and work out).

I imagine 2 possible outcomes. The first is I’ll have a meltdown and never cook again or I’ll become a domestic goddess and start baking (but not eating of course) cakes.

First tastes list for first stage weaning:

Vegetables: Sweet potato, swede, potato, carrot, butternut squash, pumpkin, parsnip

Fruit: Apple, pear, papaya, banana

So far Reuben has tried all of the ‘First tastes’ foods and suggested recipes apart from apple and cinnamon (apple cooked with cinnamon – remember to remove the cinnamon before pulverising!), pear, 3 fruit puree (a combo of pear, apple and banana), parsnip and potato. So he’ll try these over the next few days and then get started on the “after 1st tastes accepted” meal planner on Thursday.

At this stage, it’s pretty damn easy to make the foods up. You peel and chop, then boil or steam, blitz with either water from the pan or milk (breast or bottle) and voila. Or you can add some more milk and baby rice to make it even more palatable for babby.

A vine I made this morning – preparing pear puree!

I think the main problem will be the amount of variety AK suggests – our fridge has never seen so many different fruit and veg at one time (all in danger of going off very soon) – so preparing the different meals will be time consuming. However, generally her recipes make around 4 servings and are nearly all freezable. We’ll see how long it takes to make the first couple of days meals, and how long the other servings last for us.