This is a sponsored post as part of my new partnership with HiPP Organic. You can find out more about how I work with brands here.
Ahhh weaning, what a subject eh? You just get your head around all things milk and then BAM! It’s time for food. Actual proper food!
I was so so worried about weaning the boys (terrified may be a better word) but four months into our weaning “journey” I can honestly say that it’s been a lot of fun. And it didn’t take getting to the ten months mark to enjoy it either, watching the boys discover new tastes and textures has been rewarding from the start. The mess? Well yes, there is a fair bit of that to contend with, but watching their faces as they discover new things has more than made up for it.
If you’d have told me a few months ago that I’d actually prefer our food based routine to our well-established milk one then I wouldn’t have believed you, but our current routine of three meals/three milk feeds is ace. It really works for us and if anything, it makes the days feel quicker. (Not an easy feat when solo parenting twins!).
That being said, it took a while to get to the stage where the weaning routine felt liberating rather than daunting and a big part of that was working out how on earth I would ever leave the house again. I mean seriously, getting out and about with two babies can be a challenge at the best of times but throw spaghetti and strawberries into the mix? GAH!
But there was a lightbulb moment. A painfully obvious lightbulb moment, in hindsight, but bear with me…
When the boys were around seven months old, I was in a cafe stressing about getting home to feed them their lunch when I saw a woman next to me crack open a jar of baby food and just start feeding her bub in the pram, directly from the jar. She wasn’t wrestling with bowls and high chairs and all other manner of weaning paraphernalia; she just whipped out a bib, a jar and a spoon from her handbag and got on with it. That evening, I went straight to the supermarket and hunted out jars so I could replicate such a laidback easy scene.
It was daft but I had never thought of buying jarred baby food before, perhaps I thought I couldn’t find anything that would be made with the care I would make something myself? That I couldn’t find jars with organic ingredients or fuss free recipes? But lo and behold, the HiPP Organic jars were winking at me on the shelf and a quick scan of the labels left me feeling completely reassured.
I *love* cooking from scratch for my boys but I have zero guilt about buying prepared baby food when it’s convenient and I can trust the quality of the ingredients. I bought a few of the different pasta dishes that day and we never looked back. In fact my first purchases of spaghetti with tomatoes and mozzarella and their vegetable lasagne are still probably my most bought, they’re long standing favourites in this house.
A more recent fave has been the veg risotto with white fish, which seemed to be the lunch of choice on holiday when ST was with us. He seemed particularly keen to keep checking it “wasn’t too hot”, eating most of it in the process. (And I’m not gonna lie, I’m also a big fan of the heart shaped tub).
The key point was this though: suddenly we could be OUT OF THE HOUSE AT LUNCH TIME. This was so so SO freeing. If I wanted to take the boys out after breakfast and not be back by tea-time, I could! If I wanted to feed them at other people’s houses, I could! If I wanted to just have a change of scenery and make a mess in the park rather than my kitchen, I RUDDY WELL COULD.
And it’s been such a better summer for it. I’ve fed the boys at the beach, by the river, in parks, on trains…all sorts! And just at home of course, when there hasn’t been time to knock something up from scratch or I’ve just wanted to make my life easier. No matter how much I love to cook, I’m not going to pretend the jars haven’t come out at home!
So I was really pleased to be asked by HiPP Organic to work with them as a brand ambassador and to shout about the products I was already buying and my boys were already happily guzzling. You’ll have to indulge me while I roll out a pun here but it just felt like a…wait for it…natural and organic partnership. (CHORTLE). I didn’t need to be sent any products to try or take my time testing them out and seeing how they worked for my family, I already had a cupboard (and rucksack) full of their goodies. I knew what big fans my boys were.
If you’re a Mother & Baby mag reader you’ll see my mug in this month’s issue sharing my weaning tips with HiPP Organic and I’m also excited to be judging a competition for them over on their FB page, where there’s a fab photoshoot, White Company voucher and hamper of foodie treats up for grabs. (Have a look here if you want to enter, I wanna see cute babies and HiPP tips!).
You’ve probably seen their new ad on telly…
…but essentially what HiPP Organic want to get across is their “Feel HiPP” ethos which shows that weaning can be an enjoyable experience. I mean I probably wouldn’t have believed it pre-weaning, but we really have had so much fun.
I think the underlying fear that so many parents have is that they’re not doing weaning “right” and this inevitably saps the fun out of it. Research by HiPP Organic found that almost half (46%) of parents worry they are not supporting their child’s nutritional needs and whilst this is a really sad stat, it doesn’t surprise me when I think of chats with my mum friends or the comments I get on my @twinsvsfood weaning account over on Insta.
HiPP Organic has an entire section of their website dedicated to offering advice and it’s not just for the start of the weaning journey either, so it’s def worth a look if you’re after ideas or reassurance.
I’ve shared my tips in the magazine but the main thing for me has been about being relaxed and keeping the vibe fun at mealtimes. If we need to ask Alexa to blare out the Jungle Book soundtrack, so be it! Babies go through a lot (teething, illness, those dreaded developmental leaps!) and if food becomes a battle then it’s no fun for anyone. Some mealtimes are a disaster, but the next one usually isn’t and I try to keep that in mind. I find routine really important (as discussed at great length in this video) and I always feed at the same times each day, but that won’t necessarily work for every family. I do think that all babies pick up on how their caregivers are acting though, so even if you’re faking it at first I think approaching everything weaning related in a happy and laidback way is helpful. There’s going to be mess, so long sleeve bibs or – my fave – stripping them down to nappies if you want to keep an outfit pristeen for later is never a bad idea. (Perhaps don’t strip down to nappies in a park in the middle of winter, but it was a winner for us at home during the heatwave!).
I’ll def be posting a weaning video to my YT channel in due course and if you don’t follow my weaning account on Insta, I’ve shared our entire weaning journey and lots of helpful peeps have shared their own experiences too so you may find some useful tips and tricks over there – if not from me then from someone else.
Good luck if you do enter the comp, I can’t wait to see the entries!