When you have a baby, the time they reach six months has to go up there with one of the most exciting times of their lives and yours. Why? Because they get to start eating food! And that’s one of the most simple pleasures in life. I remember weaning both my children very well – in fact, I guess Daisy is still in the throes of weaning at just 13 months-old – and they both had very different journeys.
Bill, my eldest, took to baby-led weaning like he was born to do it. Any puree or mushy substance would be met with a stuck-out tongue as whatever we’d tried to feed him dripped onto his bib below. He took to food with gusto and he’s stayed a confident and happy eater ever since. The only things he hates are peppers and onions, but he eats olives with gusto and can tell you what asparagus and ginger is, so I will take it!
Daisy, my littlest, had a very, very different journey. And, because of having a cleft palate and Stickler Syndrome, with related Pierre Robin Sequence, she was tube-fed for the first five months of her life, with the occasional bottle every day to try and hope she never developed oral aversion. When she did start weaning, she weaned early at four months old, for that exact reason. To prevent oral aversion and help her to get rid of her nasogastric tube. And it was hard because, as a ‘wait until six months, baby-led’ mama, I didn’t like the idea of puree so young. But, this is a big lesson when it comes to parenting – every baby is different and there never will be a rule book or a manual to follow.
It worked though. Those early purees led to a tube removal at five months-old. And now, having recently turned one, there is nothing she won’t eat. And we’ve never looked back.
We wanted to move over to baby-led with Daisy as quickly as we could. Because she seemed keen in ‘proper’ food and it was the route I enjoyed too. So I spent a lot of time checking what would be good for her, and reading up on snacks, meals and recipes. She needed a lot of fat in her diet as she doesn’t drink as much milk as your average baby, so it was important to me that she got all of the nutrition she needed.
Now? Well, I feel pretty relaxed about weaning. It’s always been something I’ve really enjoyed as a mum. I’m also trained in infant and child first aid, so that comfort is always there, just in case. And I’ve always shared my food with my children and encouraged them to eat anything from spicy food, to more unusual tastes.
I’ve made Annabel Karmel recipes before, because she seems like a bit of a saint when it comes to weaning. And her brand and recipes are things you can trust, and I think she is someone that every new mum has heard of. Daisy is currently a fan of her Fruity Bakes (you can buy them in supermarkets and they have Disney characters on the packaging) and I always have those in our snack cupboard with other things.
But I was sent the new Annabel Karmel Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book recently (such a good guide if you’re a new mum starting weaning) and one recipe I’ve made several times now are the Peanut Butter Cookies. What I love about these is that they full of healthy fats, but they are also developed to get your baby used to certain foods to prevent future allergies. And I just thought it was really cool that this recipe in particular had been developed specifically for that. I’ve currently got a tupperware box full of these cookies in our kitchen, and we all love them – something that surprised me. We’ve got a few peanut butter nutters in this house – and by that I mean all of us – and combined with the coconut, a tiny bit of chocolate and a touch of sweetness from the sultanas, you’re on to a winner. Plus, they have a lovely crumbly texture which is perfect for a baby, as they break down very easily too.
Peanut Butter Cookies
165g/6oz smooth peanut butter (I used the Whole Earth one as it has no added sugar)
50g/20z ground almonds
40g/1.5oz dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of buckwheat/plain flour
25g/1oz chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 160/325/Gas 3 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
Add all your ingredients into a bowl and mix together to form a dough.
Divide and shape into 15 equal-sized balls. Place on the lined baking trays. Flatten them gently with the back of a fork.
Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Leave to cool, and enjoy!