Weaning a preemie no.01: when, why, and recipe inspo…

I’ve found weaning pretty overwhelming, especially with a premature baby, but also, so much fun. Watching my baby boy, try new flavours for the first time, is just lovely. I know it’s going to be a long road ahead, I was going to say something about it being bumpy etc, but, I made myself cringe. Anyway, I thought I’d share an honest account of how we go. Food and recipes we’ve tried, successes, failures, and techniques; it might provide some ideas for meals or flavour combinations. I think documenting it all will also help me move forward and become braver, regarding Rex’s food journey (oh no, I said “journey”).

A little bit about Rex, will help to explain some of my choices. I’m going to do a list so that the points are clearer (I struggle with waffling).

  • Rex was nearly 12 weeks premature
  • He tolerated my milk from day one, and had no digestive issues (aside from wind)
  • Even though he is physically about 3 months behind, we were told to treat his stomach as normal for his actual age
  • He was exclusively breastfed for 6 months, before I introduced formula, when he had a mixture of both
  • We started with purées at around 6 months old
  • We had to use purées, because he was physically around 3 months old
  • We introduced baby-led-weaning (BLW) at around 9 months old, as he was physically like a 6 month old
  • We are currently doing a mixture of spoon-fed meals and BLW, and he’s enjoying both
  • He has breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with formula alongside each. He’ll have a bottle first thing in the morning and last thing at night
  • He has no night feeds now, and no snacks
  • We’ve decided to steer clear of fruit while his palate develops, with savoury flavours
  • We are both pescatarian, so Rex is too
  • I’m not saying that our way, is correct, or the only way. However, it’s the right way for us at this time.

I’ll start with some purée recipes that we found he loves; these were the ones that we’d dig-out of the freezer all the time. When he started, for about a week or so; he’d just have singular, puréed veg. Then, it was all about creating little meals for him. We try to make sure that there’s veg, protein, and some-sort of spice or herb. They are super-simple recipes, but filling, and allowed him to try specific flavours. I did my research into what veggies were great for a 6 m/o and what we should avoid, although we had an incident with sprouts that I’ll leave at the end. I got lots of inspiration from:

I got portion/ratio ideas and suitable ingredients and flavour inspo, for his age, and we went from there.

Also, I’ve found portion control, and adjustments, easy, with the use of ice cube trays. I got some that have silicone bases and lids so that storing and pushing the frozen-food-cubes out, is quick, which is great when you have a hangry baby in the highchair. He started with two cubes, and is now up to about 5 or 6; I can tell when he needs something extra, during a growth spurt, or if he’s had an extra-long nap. Rex has only lost his appetite a few times, when he had a cold, and when teething has been severe. I always serve his food somewhere between tepid and warm.

Rex was far too tiny for a highchair at 6 months (he was physically only about 3 months “adjusted”). So, we used his Nuna Leaf chair (a typical baby rocker, that can be stationary); he was able to be up, at an angle, and his whole body and head were supported well for each feed. He moved into his highchair at about 8-9 months (5-6 months adjusted). We tuck-in a rolled-up towel, to help support his body so that he doesn’t lean, or tilt.


I’m not using any swish photos; for this post, I’m going to pop-up images from my Instagram stories. Mainly because I didn’t take any nice photos (I will try to in future). But, also, you can save these/screenshot them, if you like the look of any, and the ingredients are within the image.


img_1421

Rex starts every day with baby rice, or porridge, as I’ve been calling it (I intend to start making him more of a textured porridge, with oats, very soon). I make it with his formula. I love this stuff, as it’s basically a free-for-all, regarding adding-in new textures and flavours. Mashed avocado took some getting used-to, but was definitely a hit in the end. Cinnamon, however, was a different story (both my husband and I are not fans either), but, we’ll persevere. I’ve just ordered some baby almond butter to mix-in. We are currently working our way up to toast; exciting times.


img_1420

Now, I know you can find recipes online, where the veg, legumes, and the rest of the ingredients, have exact weights. This is not how we’ve been doing it. Batch cooking Rex’s food means that a whole can of legumes can be used, then, it’s about trying what’s in the fridge, in terms of veg. Usually, the can of beans, peas, or lentils, is roughly half the size of the ratio of vegetables used. Then, about half a teaspoon of spice is used, maybe, a little more, for herbs, ensuring you can still taste the other ingredients.

  • 1 can butter beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 swede
  • 3 parsnips
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala

You can steam the veg if you’d prefer. However, it’s a little easier to boil them, together with the legumes, in a bit of water. All the water will be kept and will assist with the blending, or purée-ing process. You also won’t lose any of the good stuff that ends-up in the water.

  • Peel and chop swede and parsnips as small as possible
  • Pop veg and butter beans in a saucepan
  • Add enough water to boil, more can be added if needed
  • Bring to boil, then simmer until veg is soft enough to blend (25-35 mins – test/try)
  • Add Garam Masala
  • Blend! We use a handheld blender, but use whatever is easiest for you/what you have
  • Once blended, push mixture through sieve to ensure the purée is smooth enough for tiny babes
  • Leave to cool before putting into ice cube trays and freezing – we usually portion-out enough for a couple of meals, to put in the fridge too

img_1419

  • Half a broccoli – just the florets at the top
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 2 heaped handfuls frozen peas
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Rex absolutely loved this combination, I think it’s quite sweet. Sometimes, it gave him a little bit more wind than usual, so, we only feed him this meal at lunch times now. It’s just for added insurance, in the hope that he’ll be as easy to settle as possible, in the evening. If your little one struggles with painful wind; this might be something to consider. You could also add-in some potato or chickpeas to this dish, to bulk it-up a little. I’ve sometimes mixed a dollop of natural yogurt in; this adds some sharpness, along with a creamy texture.

  • Rinse and chop mint (if fresh) broccoli and courgette
  • Put chopped veg into saucepan of water and bring to boil
  • Simmer until cooked (about 15-20 mins – test/try)
  • Add in mint (fresh or dried) and peas and boil for a further 5 mins or so – test/try
  • Blend and sieve mixture
  • Portion into ice cube trays, and into pots for the fridge, as desired
  • Stir-in a dollop (teaspoon) of yogurt, before serving, if you wish

img_1418

  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 (ish) fresh coriander leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

This one is so simple. It provide such a great base (as do most of the recipes), for added-in some random veg you have in the fridge. We’ve added cauliflower to this in the past, along with a red pepper, butternut squash, or sweet potato. All I’d suggest is make sure it’s not too many when you start weaning so that your baby will be able to identify separate flavours. Also, make sure you check that each ingredient is suitable for their age, before you pop it in.

  • Peel and chop carrots
  • Put carrots and chickpeas in a saucepan of water, bring to the boil
  • Add coriander
  • Simmer until cooked (always a bit softer than you’d want your veg, 25-30 mins – test/try)
  • Blend and sieve
  • Portion into ice cube trays, and into pots for the fridge, as desired

img_1417

  • 1/3 butternut squash
  • 1 mug dried red lentils (you could use a can of pre-cooked also), rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

I feel like this is another dish where some red pepper, or a dollop of creme fraiche, could change it-up a little. If there’s a portion of the same food, for both lunch and dinner; adding something different, as mentioned, to one of the meals, would help to add variety within the day.

  • Peel and chop butternut squash (as smaller as you can
  • Add lentils and squash to saucepan and cover with water
  • Bring to the boil
  • Add cumin
  • Simmer until cooked and soft (35-45 mins – test/try)
  • Blend and sieve
  • Portion into ice cube trays, and into pots for the fridge, as desired

img_1427

As for sprouts, avoid! During the first stages, anyway. It was over Christmas (unsurprisingly) and there were sprouts about. So, we thought we’d add a few into a mixture of other green veggies. Big mistake. Rex had extremely painful wind, and it was a sleepless night ahead. After heading to Dr Google, we soon realised that sprouts aren’t great for a 6 m/o baby. They can be introduced at a later stage.

However, that’s why I now check every ingredient first, and have mentioned for you to do the same. We all know how frustrating and upsetting, lost sleep / crying babies, can be, especially when it could have been easily avoided. I felt so guilty; I think it’s put me off ever giving them to him again. Although, he actually loved eating them!


Although I’ll be talking more about this in a future post; each of these recipes are great for introducing texture too. We’re now at the stage where we don’t use the sieve; rough blending and mashing are fine, as he grows. I’ll give him foods on his highchair tray, while I’m heating his meal. This way, I found a mixture of BLW and spoon-feeding, has become a successful way to feed Rex.

The BLW foods are more for him to practice eating with his hands, and feel (play with) food, and experience various textures. Spaghetti was fun, and he adored tender-stem broccoli and baby corn.

img_1422

I’ll share some of the more varied recipes we’ve been trying lately, in the next weaning post. We’ve all be getting braver with food (I’m forever nervous about choking), and I’m figuring out some meals that I can cook for the whole family so that we can eat together more often. I hope you’ve found this helpful, or it’s given you some ideas. Let me know of any recipe successes you’ve had with your babies; I’d love to gather as many ideas and recipes as possible.


Peace, love, and no sprouts, Fay x

One thought on “Weaning a preemie no.01: when, why, and recipe inspo…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s