Our Vegetarian Weaning Journey!

Our Vegetarian Weaning Journey!


Hello all!

Hope you’re keeping well.

I’ve been requested by a few people to do a post on weaning and so have shared the main bits and bobs of our weaning journey by answering the questions below direct.  If you have any specific questions, give me a shout!

When did you start weaning Arjun?

We didn’t stick to the NHS guidelines of weaning at 6 months although I did try. Arjun was such a hungry baby and was on 240 ml pretty quick. We also tried extra hungry milk which didn’t seem to satisfy him either. He’d often look at our food and try and reach for it – that coupled with his growing appetite, we thought we’d give weaning a go at 4.5 months.

What was your weaning timeline?

We started off by giving Arjun baby rice which he didn’t seem too keen on so we switched to Cow and Gate porridge instead which he loved.

Here, his routine was:
8am: I would use a portion of what used to be his normal bottle feed (240 ml) and mix with his porridge and then give the remainder in a bottle once he’d finished his porridge.
12pm: 210 ml milk
4pm: 210 ml milk
7.30pm: 240 ml milk
Night feed: 120 ml

We did breakfast alone for a week and then we introduced lunch the following week. I puréed (using a steamer and blender – details at the end of this post) and froze lots of fresh vegetable combinations and also single vegetables to mix when we wanted to try a different combination. I followed the Annabel Karmel recipe book but also created my own. I used the Annabel Karmel silicon ice cube trays to store the food. They were an absolute God send! Once frozen I’d pop them out and put them in to labelled freezer bags.

How I went about lunches was introducing one new food every three days (only during week days) to ensure there was no reaction to what I was giving him. I also only introduced new foods on a Monday or Thursday knowing that the GP would be available in case he did react badly. Although at the weekends there are emergency walk in clinics! I quickly established that broccoli gave Arjun gas and often a tummy ache so now I only give it in moderation and mixed with other ingredients so it’s not as harsh on his tummy.

I first gave him courgette puree – his reaction the first time he tried it, as you can see from the video below, was hilarious. Haha!

When I first started giving Arjun lunch, I still offered him his milk after his food but he slowly began drinking less and less and when I became comfortable that he was satisfied with his meal, I dropped his lunch time feed.

Two weeks after we started weaning and once Arjun was on lunches, we went away on holiday to Dubai. In Dubai I stuck to giving Arjun porridge for breakfast and a pouch for lunch. I had trialled a few pouches at home prior to departing for Dubai to ensure he was ok with them.  I went for Ella’s Kitchen. Although our hotel offered purées food I didn’t feel comfortable at that point because of bacteria in the water. Pouches were also convenient for when we were out.

Here, his routine was:
8am: porridge mixed with formula plus remaining formula in bottle (as above)
12pm: fresh vegetable puree plus offer 210 ml milk
4pm: 180 ml milk
7.30pm: 240 ml milk
Night feed: 120 ml
Introduced small amounts of sterile drinking water

After about four weeks of weaning and when we were back from Dubai, we then introduced purée dinners. So I’d give him a different flavour for lunch and dinner. But dinner was always one of previously trialled at lunch before on a different day so I knew it was safe.

After about six weeks, we moved on to lumpier purées and he loved it.  Initially I started off by using the fully pureed vegetables that I had frozen and I made the texture lumpier by introducing things like cheese.  Once Arjun turned 6 months which was around this period, I would also add in broken up pieces of bread to introduce a lumpier consistency.

Again when I introduced dinner, I still offered him his milk after his food but quickly stopped as it was apparent he was full and his bedtime bottle isn’t too far away from his dinner.

Once Arjun was fully weaned, I decided to stop his night feed and decided to see if water would do the trick in the middle of the night.  I figured I wake up gasping sometimes and perhaps it was just that as opposed to him being hungry and me offering him milk for comfort.  It worked.  We dropped his night bottle from about 6 months.

Here, his routine was:
8am: porridge mixed with formula plus remaining formula in bottle (as above)
12pm: fresh vegetable puree with lumps
4pm: 180 ml milk and finger snacks such as baby crisps
5.30pm: fresh vegetable puree with lumps with dessert
7.30pm: 210 ml milk
Plus drinking water throughout the day

Once 6 months passed, we have been pretty open to Arjun trying new things.  Arjun started on full fat cows milk with his cereals from six months. We also use cows milk as an ingredient when making things like pancakes and crepes. 

My health visitor recommended we introduce him to Indian spices as soon as we felt ready to and I did, although no salt or chilli, I always include a pinch of masala and turmeric to his food.

Peanut butter was another tough cookie – there is so much controversy all over the news about whether it’s safe to or not.  To us it made sense that introducing peanut butter was less likely to cause an allergy than to not introduce it but we may be wrong! Arjun loves peanut butter and it helps with his protein intake.

Did you go for baby led weaning or spoon feeding?

From six months onwards we were giving Arjun broken up bits of food and encouraging him to adopt baby led weaning. And ever since he hasn’t taken too kindly to us feeding him! Although Arjun didn’t have teeth at six months, you’ll be surprised at how strong their gums are!

Initially I was really nervous and would chop things in to tiny bits however over time he’s mastered his chew and now makes great use of his four front teeth!

Ideally I’d like it if he was comfortable with both baby led weaning and spoon feeding – especially when we’re out and he’s in his best clothes! But unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that way.  I often feed him his breakfast as I usually give him cereal or porridge and it takes a lot of singing and dancing for him to open his mouth to let the spoon enter without him grabbing it!

Sometimes we’ll combine the approach in one meal. It isn’t always practical to let him eat himself, for example when giving him Indian food such as dhaal, although I only put in a pinch of each, I’m conscious that if he was to get food in his eye, it may hurt.  So in those situations I’ll give him a piece of roti (chapatti) whilst spoon feeding him the dhaal (Indian lentils).

Also where previously we’d feed him a pouch when out, now he slurps them himself which is actually quite handy!

How do you ensure you get plenty of protein in Arjun’s vegetarian diet?

As we have been brought up vegetarian, Arjun is also a vegetarian. This obviously poses as more of a challenge to ensure he’s getting his dose of protein especially.

I try and ensure he has protein by including foods such as humous, cheese, beans, lentils, peanut butter and vegetables in to his diet. I haven’t yet introduced him to soya or Quorn as I don’t feel entirely comfortable yet! We will probably introduce this around the one year mark.

I’ve found that Ella’s Kitchen do some brilliant protein rich vegetarian pouches which are really good for when we’re on the go.  Some of the flavours I’d recommend include:

  • Vegetable lasagne
  • Cheesy pie
  • Tomato lentil
  • Cauliflower cheese
  • Mac and cheese
  • Greek moussaka
  • Vegetable bake with lentils

ellas kitchen pic

As we increased his meals and reduced his milk it was also important to ensure he is getting calcium from other sources so we ensure he has yogurt, cheese, baby rice pudding, baby custard, cows milk in cereals to ensure he gets his gap in intake.

What are Arjun’s favourite foods?

Although I have the Annabel Karmel recipe book, I do sometimes like to deviate from the traditional recipes and try and be a little creative myself.  A lot of what I make isn’t rocket science, nor complicated but I do like to come up with my own creations from time to time!

I often share what Arjun has had for his meals on Instagram and will be sharing more recipes over time. But some of his favourite foods include:

Snacks:

  • Cheddar cheese – you can get little blocks already packaged for children from Tesco which are brilliant and so convenient
  • Grapes – they’ve always been a major favourite!
  • Breadsticks! I go armed with them everywhere!

Main meals:FullSizeRender[4]

  • All carbs!
  • Pizza breadFullSizeRender[3] (2)
  • Cheese pancakes
  • Crushed mixed bean, spinach, cheese and humous wrap (and other variations!)
  • Cheese and tomato pasta
  • Sweet potato with beans and cheeseFullSizeRender[2] (2)
  • Macaroni cheeseFullSizeRender[4] (2)
  • Mixed vegetable paronta: click here for recipe
  • Dhaal (lentils) – especially my mums! Click here for recipe

 

What is your routine?

Now that Arjun is fully weaned, we more or less have the following routine:

8am Breakfast: generally something milk based like cereal or porridge. We are now on full fat cows milk for cereals
12pm Lunch: usually bread based (wrap, roll, bread, toast) and sometimes dessert
4pm Snack: 180 ml milk plus some crisps/bread sticks/piece of fruit
5.30pm Dinner: I try and do a variation of whatever we eat
7.30pm Bed time feed: 180 ml milk
Throughout the day, Arjun drinks about 350 – 450 ml of water.

Dinner time I try my best to ensure Arjun has a variation of whatever we are eating.

If we are having Indian, I’ll make Arjun the same but with no chilli or salt.

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When we have Mexican, I make Arjun his own equivalent – Arjun’s very own Mexican Menu

We recently had our first BBQ for Preetam’s birthday and Arjun even got his own mini BBQ plate too which I prepared separately. I marinated his paneer without any salt or chilli and same with his potatoes. He loved it.

Thanks for the #widn tag @littlebuttonsboutique x we are enjoying the BBQ despite it being a little windy  Arjun's tucking in his to his plate x  What are you up to @catjuliasblog and @raisinglittleman if you'd like to play?x  #BBQ #summer #babyfood #vegetarian #vegetarianweaning #veggie #blw #weaning #babyweaning #paneer #cornoncob #soyaburger #potatoes #picoftheday #food #instapic

I love making Arjun his own equivalent of whatever we’re eating – it makes me happy seeing him eat a mini version of whatever we’re eating 🙂

Once a baby is fully weaned, the NHS recommended milk intake to be between 500 – 600 ml a day which includes milk in cereals and foods which is what we have stuck to.

Here is a summary of our weaning journey timetable:

timetale

Do you always use fresh food?

In short, no!

When I’m home I try and give Arjun fresh food. However when out, I do sometimes find it easier to take a pouch just in case we end up having lunch or dinner at a different time to what he’s used to. Now that Arjun is fully weaned and is eating most foods, we find it so enjoyable taking him out and about with us watching him enjoy the food with us. Dubai was particularly exciting as he would enjoy a full on breakfast with us.

  • The ready made food brands I generally use are:
  • Ella’s kitchen – for their main meal food (as mentioned above) and their yoghurts
  • Hipp – for their cheese and tomato pasta
  • Cow and gate – Arjun loves their fruit cocktail for dessert
  • Organix – mainly for snack foods such as biscuits, rice cakes and baby crisps – his favourite are sweetcorn rings!
  • Heinz – for their rice pudding and custard

What utensils would you say you need?

Feeding: 

  • Bowls – only for liquid based things such as cereal
  • Plates –  I’m not entirely sure if you actually need plates so early on.  Arjun thinks its a game to tip his plate upside down and throw his food out right now! So we generally place his food (if dry) directly on to the high chair tray. My favourite plate is the Buddy & Bear Happy Clouds plate which is especially great for Indian food as it’s dipped enough to mix curry and rice.

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Food Storage:
I use the multi purpose baskets featured in an earlier blog post (My Golden Nuggets), to organise our baby food pouches – we organise by breakfast/snacks/dinners/desserts.

IMG_8500

Preparation:

I hope you found this post useful! If you have any questions/suggestions, give me a shout 🙂 x


8 Comments

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  1. 1
    Lukeosaurus And Me

    Wow! Seems like you have weaning down to a T! I definitely was not that organised when it came to it. It looks like you have everything figured out and Arjun seems to have the perfect relationship with food. Huge well dones to you, missy! Ray xx

  2. 2
    Habiba

    LOVE this post! Perfectly detailed and covers everything. Khadija is not a fan of chicken at all so there are some great tips for me here on ensuring I get enough protein in her diet 🙂

  3. 3
    Harps

    Hey Ray! Thanks for stopping by .. We definitely have our fair share of issues too! Arjun isn’t overly keen on vegetables so that’s a struggle! How old is your little one?x

  4. 4
    Harps

    Hey lovely! I’m glad you found it useful. I still struggle with protein but for now milk ensures he gets all the nutrients he needs. It’s great that we can all share ideas – definitely helps! How is Khadija doing?x

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