Weaning with your nursery – a nursery expert’s perspective
With thanks to Abacus Ark
Nurseries are an extension of support; we understand weaning your baby is a process. Having your child start nursery may make you feel your child needs to be at a certain stage of weaning however we will always provide provision in getting your child to the next weaning stage. Over the years I have found these tips have provided some assurances to parents who have their child in nurseries.
Find out about weaning in the nursery
Talk to your child’s teacher! When visiting nurseries ask them their process and how they will support your child in the weaning process. Before you begin weaning break the process down into small steps! This will give you a sense of accomplishment with the completion of each step increasing your self-motivation and self-assurance. Once you’re sure of your child’s nursery ask them for their routine and begin to mimic it at the earliest moment.
There’s no rush
Don’t have too many changes at once! Some parents will start nursery and also want to change the child’s eating routine, this can be disruptive to your child and their routine at times making it harder to wean or settle your child in the setting. You could start to use the last two months of your maternity to adjust the child’s eating routine minimally for example; breast to bottle or smooth purees to exploring food textures. Having a routine will support you as it is essential when transitioning from breastfeeding to bottles that you remain consistent. For example, you should avoid doing the 6 am feed with the breast on Monday then next week Monday needing it to be a bottle feed. To support you, start with a day feed this way you know your child has had the comfort of breastfeeding in the morning or night and it will be easier to follow the routine of having day bottles as when the child goes to nursery there’s no mum around.
Keep the teacher in the loop! Making sure you keep updated both ways with how your child is progressing continues to provide support in the weaning process. Be confident in your decisions; communicate if you feel the child’s teacher is going to slow or too fast. Throughout the process you need to be confident in your decisions and the actions you’re taking. If possible get yourself on a basic first aid course to increase your awareness on how to react on an emergency call. For example a common reaction for an adult with a chocking child is to put their finger in the child’s mouth attempting to scoop the food out. However, this could mean pushing the food further into the child’s throat worsening the situation. Furthermore, the first aid will teach you the importance of remaining calm in order to make rational decisions.
Be guided by your child
Use your child as a guide, not their peers, books or the net! Some children need more food earlier due to them being more hungry. You can start with simple foods like smooth porridge’s (runny texture) or foods that can mash like mushed peas, bananas, raspberries. You can also boil apples and pears in plain water to help with variety. However remember not to do just fruits as it may provide your child with a sweeter tooth and at times making it harder to get them into vegetables. When making mash potato, start with a runnier consistency building up to typical mash consistency. To do this you can over boil the potatoes allowing them to absorb more water or add mixed formula if you like to add milk to your mash.
Feeding is fun!
Make feeding fun! If you have had to associate feeding with a favourite bowl and spoon bring it to nursery to have consistency at both home and nursery. Babies and young children will always mouth things therefore you can use play to explore new food such as broccoli or meat chunks. Place single foods on a tray close by allowing the child to see it clearly. You can also have a piece for yourself demonstrate some positive behaviour such as grasping the food and bringing it to your mouth. As you child gets older introduce one new food at a time while keeping a familiar item around e.g. a new vegetable and an old one.
Find out more
You can find out more about Abacus Ark on their website.
Disclaimer: The views and advice given in this article are those of the guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Weaning Week or any other organisations represented on this platform