If up until now a little one has been breastfed, then weaning is a great time for Dads to shine and get involved with feeding too. Irish brand Cognikids, a leading provider of innovative parenting solutions, want to acknowledge and celebrate the active role Dads are taking in their child's weaning journey. A lot of the advice around weaning is aimed primarily at mums and recognizing the significant impact fathers can have on this milestone, Childhood Development Expert Ollwyn Moran has put together a collection of expert tips to equip fathers, or any caregiver for that matter, with the knowledge and confidence to engage meaningfully when their baby starts on solids. By actively participating in weaning, fathers and caregivers can strengthen bonds, foster healthy eating habits, and contribute to their child's overall development. Ollwyn has even managed to get some insights from fitness superstar, Dad and “Wean in 15” author Joe Wicks.
Ollwyn Moran’s Tips:
- Decide with your partner or other caregivers when the right time is to give your little one first foods. Maybe on a weekend morning when you are both around. You can both be involved in the preparation – whether it be mashing an avocado, slicing finger food, or steaming vegetables. Start with single foods - purée or finger foods or a combination of both.
- Make sure you have the right equipment, a Cognikids Dip spoon is always perfect for starting solids!
- Be prepared to give little sips of water from an open cup too. It’s advisable to introduce open cup drinking at this stage. Large amounts of water are not advisable as you don’t want your baby filling up on water rather than their food or milk. The Cognikids Sip cup is a wonderful starter for babies on their weaning journey.
- You won’t be able to be there for every meal but discuss with your partner or other caregivers what foods are going to be given and when. You could even make sure that they are in the fridge for the week ahead or do the shopping for this fun and messy time!
- Be familiar with gagging versus choking. Know when to intervene and when to let your little one work it out themselves.
- Remain calm and supportive. Don’t put pressure on baby to eat faster or more. This is a great time to be present and tune into the cues that your baby is giving you when they are eating.
- Be positive and relaxed. Your baby picks up on your emotional regulation. So calm, relaxed and happy vibes!
- Have any devices off and out of view. You want to have your child fully focused on the task at hand, and you need to be concentrating on your little one. Some calm music in the background is ideal and helps to set the tone and the intention for mealtime. Being consistent with this approach will be a cue for mealtimes for your baby going forward and set up a great habit.
- You’ll see some very funny faces being pulled as you introduce new foods, flavours and textures! Remember that these do not mean that they do not like the food - we are waking up their taste buds and wiring them into the brain. It takes 17 separate tastes to accept a new food, keep offering.
- Starting solids is supposed to be messy, especially if child is doing baby led weaning. Be okay with mess, on you, your little one, the highchair and the floor! Keep in mind that this is huge sensory input for your baby and an enormous amount of brain wiring is happening.
Cognikids fan Joe Wicks MBE is a renowned fitness coach, TV presenter, record-breaking cookbook author, and dedicated father. As a father of three children, Indie, Marley, and Leni, Joe has shared his personal weaning journey with his followers and even published a highly successful weaning guidebook titled 'Wean in 15' in 2020.
Ollwyn Moran, Cognikids founder and child development expert, first connected with Joe back in January 2019 during a Swim Rise event in Greystones, where she introduced him to their hero products, Dip and Sip. Since then, Joe has been a devoted fan, including Cognikids in his book and frequently featuring their products on his social media platforms.
Joe Wicks’ Tips:
Joe comments:- “Don’t be nervous if things like finger foods do make you nervous you can just try purees and spoon-fed foods. I did a combination of baby led weaning, so a mix of steamed broccoli with some puréed broccoli to give them the option and let them make a bit of a mess. That was the best path for us, but just go with it and you can’t get it wrong – eventually all children end up eating solid foods but it’s a fun thing to be a part of, rather than just letting the mum take part in it. Reading with children, cooking, and being involved in the kitchen with children is a powerful role and it’s a very special time, so give it a go, get stuck in and have fun with it!”
Link here to see Joe chat about weaning and Cognikids at Wellfest 2023.
Cognikids is available from leading pharmacy and grocery stores nationwide including selected Boots, McCauleys Health and Beauty Pharmacy, Dunnes Stores and SuperValu.
For more visit www.cognikids.com.