Q&A on weaning and feeding babies and toddlers with food journalist and author of River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook - ANSWERS BACK

(50 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 11-May-11 13:53:19

We're joined this week for a Q&A on weaning and feeding babies and toddlers with food writer, Nikki Duffy. Nikki's latest book, River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook offers recipes which aim to encourage a healthy and happy relationship with food from the outset. The first chapter of the book looks at the first year and weaning and other chapters look at how to ensure that your children have a balanced diet, and how to deal with difficult mealtimes and fussy eaters.

Formerly Deputy Editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated, Nikki Duffy also wrote a weekly food column in the Guardian. She worked for three years as the River Cottage Food Editor and is now a freelance food writer. Send your questions to Nikki before the end of Sunday 15th May and you'll be entered into a draw to win one of five copies of River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook. We'll link to her answers from this thread the following week.

mylovelymonster Wed 11-May-11 15:32:09

I will look forward to this book - my two are already weaned but it will be great for inspiration as they grow up (4y & 18mo). Luckily they are both fantastic eaters and, I hope, their diet is pretty good.
Would love to have some pointers as to how to make sure they have enough iron in their diet? Do I need to start cooking liver? smile Not sure they'd go for that.......

Also, does the book deal with growing your own food? Are there suggestions for simple to grow veggies which are super-packed with vitamins?

One more - healthier recipes for treats like cakes and biscuits, ice-lollies for the summer...............
And - more interesting and child-friendly ways to cook with pulses would be very useful.
Will check back with interest!

Lavitabellissima Wed 11-May-11 16:20:14

I'm on day 7 of weaning my twins and would love this book grin

Nikki, which recipe in your book, is your personal favourite? & what is the most unusual/unexpected recipe in the book? my Italian SIL swears by horsemeat for iron in toddlers diet but I refuse to eat it and definitely won't be making it for the girls sad poor little ponies

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 11-May-11 17:23:58

I'm a couple of weeks into weaning dd2, so would love a copy of the book.
dd1 was amazingly easy to wean, so i didn't really look at much of the literature.

dd2 (6.5mo) however, is very grumpy at mealtimes and grizzles throughout. we're fairly certain she's ready to wean (she eats a good amount), and we're trying to offer a variety of foods, but she remains shouty throughout the meal regardless. I would be grateful to hear any ideas on making meals less stressful for us all.

I love the river cottage family book. how much does this recipe book rely on purees? Is it BLW friendly?

I am lucky in that my one-year-old is a fantastic eater - he'll try anything, and has a good appetite.

We never went down the puree route, so he has always eaten the same sort of food as his dad and I, but I've found myself getting into a rut - I find myself preparing the same few meals over and over again out of convenience.

Have you got any hints or tips to get me out of this habit?

Grumpla Wed 11-May-11 19:32:32

Do you have a foolproof method for disguising vegetables (any vegetables) as a slice of toast? Because I am beginning to think that unless you do my son will never eat one. Ever. sad

CamperFan Wed 11-May-11 19:52:40

I too am weaning DS2, who is 6.5 months. I would like some ideas about nutritional finger foods that are more substantial than steamed veggies (and preferably ones that make zero mess, like some sort of miracle food?). I would also like some ideas on cooking seasonal UK stuff such as spring greens in a way that is family friendly. DS1 is great with stuff such as clams (!), prawns, all fish, but not so great with green things.

katiejohnston Wed 11-May-11 20:52:03

hi smile does anyone have a 5-6 month old baby? I have started weaning but am unsure on how much solid foods to give?

katiejohnston Wed 11-May-11 20:53:07

Hi smile
does anyone have a baby at the weaning stage? my baby is 5 and a half months and i have started weaning but I am unsure of the amount they are due to have?

mylovelymonster Wed 11-May-11 21:27:21

Hi Katie - when starting to wean it's really about introducing new tastes and textures, and is not about how much they eat but trying, playing, tasting, getting used to the feel of something different to milk in their mouth, starting to move the jaw and tongue in a different way. 'Food is fun until they're one'!
Your baby will gradually have less milk when he/she is taking in more food, but for now is usual to offer them their usual milk after they've had some 'food'.
I did start with single taste purees at a single meal time (started with lunch). A taste became a couple of spoons then a small pot etc. Depends how much they're interested in having. Is long & gradual.
I'm not a BLW, so not 100% on what that's about.

Woodlands Wed 11-May-11 22:39:02

I'm struggling a bit with snacks for my nearly 10 month old DS. I understand that by 12 months babies should be on 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, and he is definitely ready to replace mid morning and afternoon milk feeds with snacks. I don't always remember about snacks until it's almost the next meal time, and I am never quite sure what to give him. Ideally I like to give him something fairly un-messy like raisins and rice cakes, but maybe I should embrace the mess a bit more, get him kitted out in bib and high chair and give him an orange or something? Any other ideas for mess-free and healthy snacks?

rainbowrain Wed 11-May-11 23:33:17

I have a 1 yr old who has suddenly decided he will not eat fruit, used to eat grapes, had about a week of banana but now won't eat any and gags if he does. Any tips of how to encourage him to eat more fruit? We sometimes juice apples/ carrots which he will drink, but he will not eat pieces of apples and spits them out. We introduce lots of different fruits allowing him to play/ explore if he chooses.
We' re also having problems with giving him breakfast as he's never liked baby rice and doesnt drink milk bar breast milk which I don't have enough to express, and will be weaning him off soon.

Any help/ suggestions will be well received.

Thanks

Laurarj84 Thu 12-May-11 11:24:12

I would be interested to see any suggestions about green things to eat! My 10.5 month old dd is a good eater and she loves carrots, potato, sweet potato, parsnip, cauliflower, sweetcorn, etc and all the fruit you can throw at her, orange, banana and pear being her favourite. BUT she wont eat much green stuff like beans, peas, broccoli and crucially for me because of their moisture content, cucumber and salad leaves. I thought all kids liked cucumber! So I'd love some suggestions as to how to incorporate them into meals so that she will at least give them a go. I thought green beans were probably just too tough to get through with only two teeth but cucumber is easy!

Paschaelina Thu 12-May-11 11:38:13

Any tips for disguising meat? My 8mo Boy will not touch it. Anything else goes in and out and sometimes even down, but meat gets the pursed lips and shaken head, even disguised in bolognesey type sauces.

AitchTwoOh Thu 12-May-11 11:46:02

maybe he just doesn't like meat? why not try to up his protein (if that's what you're concerned about) with pulses/cheese etc?

All this weaning stuff is daunting when they are your tiny little milk-fed babies, but it's just eating at the end of the day, we are programmed to eat to survive, and as we all know, our little darlings are survivors. doesn't matter that you are falling apart, the babies carry on regardless. grin

i did BLW, even started my own blog about it in the dim and distant pfb past www.babyledweaning.com wink but the bottom line is that if you are enjoying your food, as parents, and letting the children see that, they tend to want to join in with you in the end (and in the end might be quite a while until they are ready to really go for it).

this is why i am a bit dubious about kids cookbooks, tbh. it's all food, at the end of the day, why do we set up a barrier between kids and adults in this way?

taffwaff Thu 12-May-11 12:33:38

I would like some thoughts on how to make my daughter's diet more varied. Having successfully weaned 2 boys who both will normally eat a good selection of meat, veg, fruit (although I am working on extending both of these), pasta, potatoes etc I have now met my daughter who flattly refuses many foods and can not be 'encouraged' by any of the tricks that I used with my boys. She is now 15 months old and growing but I am concerned that I still struggle to get any meat or green veg into her and how this will impact on her iron intake etc.

I have the new river cottage cookbook and will be trying the recipes and trying not to be disheartened if they are also flattly refused.

VeronicaCake Thu 12-May-11 14:20:37

Laurarj84 - my DD loves peas and lettuce cooked according to Jane Grigson recipe, might be worth a try.

Laurarj84 Thu 12-May-11 16:13:33

VeronicaCake, thanks, I've had a look, will give it a try, minus the sugar.

MrsSnaplegs Thu 12-May-11 16:30:04

Questions for Nikki

I have a 22 week old boy who is "quite large" - currently 20lb 7 oz last week - we have been on pureed veg/fruit for a few weeks and he is wolfing it all down. As he is not PFB he also has a fromage frais type yoghurt or smoothie at lunch which he eats so quickly it is as if he is inhaling it As he is still not yet 6 months do you have any other suggestions for adding some variety and bulk to his diet? White fish/chicken yet or is it still too early?

What about porridge or something for breakfast?

He is eating 2 meals a day - weaning bowls half full size - and is still taking 28-30 ounces of milk.

His name is Hugh BTW and is commonley referred to as Huge Hugh at weigh in clinicgrin and yes he was named after HFW!

AitchTwoOh Thu 12-May-11 16:54:47

see, that's another thing. if the recipe is tasty and proper, and the child/adult is eating good food in general, a bit of sugar isn't going to do anyone mortal harm. (although i do concede it might not be necessary in this recipe).

and while i imagine that one would get a bit tense having an eight-year-old veggie-refuser in the house, and one might get a bit desperate, all this 'disguising vegetables' surely just means that the children will become more, rather than less, suspicious of food?

i have two kids, one a 'better' eater than the other (although both have had their moments of huge appetite and less), but the main thing is that they just do not favour the same foods. one eats like me, the other like her father. as a family, obviously, we try to find things that we all like, but i have no problem with giving one carrot as a snack (the other one hates it) and one cucumber (guess what, her sister hates that).

they are all funny little fraeks, at the end of the day... best not to make these things a trauma for everyone, especially if everything you do is having no impact other than making the family have miserable mealtimes anyway.

i think we need moondog on this thread, tbh... wink]

Mishy1234 Thu 12-May-11 18:25:00

Not a question, but a comment. I have your book and have to say it's the best baby/toddler cookbook I've come across (and I have a few!). I LOVE the way you have balanced the advice/info sections at the beginning and think you've really covered all bases. It's not biased towards any particular weaning school of thought, which I think is a huge bonus.

For those who aren't lucky enough to win a copy, I would say that if you're going to get just one book of this kind, this is the one to get.

kwebster Thu 12-May-11 21:34:52

I would like some ideas for baby snacks that are easy to take out and about, and also some new ideas for healthy and quick meals for the whole family to enjoy.

elmerthe1st Thu 12-May-11 21:43:32

Nikki - I am a mum of three under four. My eldest (4) is a very 'picky eater', who can take absolutely ages (over an hour) to eat anything in the evenings. Literally every meal takes so much coaxing and though he will finish it, it is always under duress or by physically loading up his spoon for him.We have tried everything from giving him a big meal at lunchtime to eating earlier, eating together, offering finger foods . . .nothing works! There are a few things he loves (jacket potato and homemade pizza) but being a big nutrition/ food lover myself I find it really hard to just give him this on a daily basis. I also obviously have to cook for all of us and refuse to cook separate meals for the children! The second one is a much better eater but is picking up bad habits. Both have severe (anaphylaxis) allergies to egg, prawns, sesame and nuts which makes them understandably wary of trying new foods.I wonder if my eldest's 'fear of food' stems from the reactions he's had in the past? I am a vegetarian and initially planned to bring all three up like this (largely due to not being able to afford the organic/ free range/ decent meat I'd want them to eat) but the fact that they can't eat so many things that provide protein made me decide to include meat in their diets. In addition I have a 6-month old who I'm just weaning straight onto 'proper food' (baby-led weaning) but having to take into acccount that she probably has the same allergies as the other two. Not being a meat eater, I'm not a natural meat cook so I'd love some inspiration for both recipes providing protein without eggs and good healthy meat ones which all three could enjoy. My question though is can I give them a largely veg-based diet if I include protein in the form of cheese/ some fish and occasional pulses? And I would love some tips on helping my eldest just enjoy his food more! Thanks

jumpingjojo Thu 12-May-11 22:06:06

Hi Nikki,

I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of your book and I'm wondering if you cook from it yourself ? Are many of your recipes cookable in under an hour ? Also, I have dairy and egg allergies to contend with in my family- will I find suitable recipes in your book, or at least some that I can use susbstitutes for ?
Thanks
Jo

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now