This blog is written by Shazia Mustafa, Cofounder of Third Door, a family-friendly co-working space with an onsite flexible Ofsted registered Nursery
When your baby is ready to wean, you may start to play around with some new tricks and tactics at home. Perhaps trying them on purees, or tasting bits of bread or cooked carrot. But what do you do if you baby is in nursery during that time and you are back at work? Parent’s often worry about whether nursery staff will wean their baby in the right way and how they can keep a track of what the staff are doing so they can offer some form of consistency back at home.
Weaning is a very exciting time for any parent and perhaps just a little bit nerve wracking! Here at Third Door we do all we can to reassure our parents about the transition from milk to solids and ensure they are kept in the loop every step of the way. This means the whole experience can be far more comforting for both baby and parent (and pretty fun too!)
The parents at our nursery often approach us a few weeks prior to when they would like their baby to start weaning and ask for some tips from us. We first explain the difference between baby-led and adult-led weaning and then start to offer them tips on how to get started. We are always open to both approaches (baby-led or adult-led) and just recommend that parents follow their gut on what feels right for them. Likewise, some chose to do a mixture, and that’s fine with us too.
We find that constant communication with our parents when it comes to weaning (as it is with anything to do with their baby) is vital and we will always adhere to the parent’s wishes during this transition.
When a child has come into the nursery on their first day since weaning, the key worker and the parent will often spend a few minutes discussing their progress at home. We will sit down with the parents and ask them how they have approached weaning with their child and what methods work best so we can implement them in the nursery. We will also find out baby’s favourite foods too. The key worker will then follow up with the Third Door team face to face and/or in writing to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
We use a program called Tapestry here at the nursery and we just love uploading pictures and videos of the children trying new foods so that the parents can see what they are eating at nursery. We have had so many comments about how lovely it has been for parents to see their child eating well at nursery. Certainly, it is just that extra reassurance that they are in good hands and eating healthy foods.
Although this is a very exciting time for both babies and their families, we also need to ensure the children are safe by ensuring the food is cut to an appropriate size and heated to the correct temperature. This is a very important element of the job and something all of our staff are trained in. As part of our weaning education process for parents, we always explain to parents about potential risks and how to cut food to the right sizes. They seem to really appreciate this.
In the beginning, parents often prefer to provide their own meals, so that their babies are familiar with the same foods in a different environment. However, we find most parents slowly transition into their child eating our delicious hot lunches and tea provided by Zebedees. Zebedees offer such a wide variety of health foods for both weaning babies and older children too – we love it!
If you’re about to start your weaning journey, then best of luck. The key is to enjoy it; embrace the mess (if you can), make sure you prepare the food safely and make the most of trying new things with your baby. Happy weaning!