When the skies are blue and the flowers are in full bloom, many of us can’t wait to get outside with the family and enjoy the delights of summer. Along with all those barbecues and sunny picnics, if your little one is ready to move on to solid foods, it’s the perfect time of year to start her on her weaning journey.
“A variety of delicious fruits and vegetables are in season and are great first foods to tempt your baby’s taste buds with,” says Claire Baseley, infant nutritionist from Ella’s Kitchen. “Experiencing new surroundings can not only teach your child where food comes from, but can also help promote a lifelong healthy relationship with it.”
But before you head outside or jet off to warmer climes, there are a few key things to consider when you’re weaning on the go…
Making the transition to solid foods doesn’t have to be a housebound affair. With the right kit and know-how, you’ll be able to feed your baby with ease wherever you are. “Preparation is crucial to feeding your baby in the great outdoors,” explains Claire. “So arm your changing bag with useful equipment such as plastic bowls, spoons, wipes, bibs and food pouches.”
For longer stays in the sun, don’t forget to invest in a quality insulated cool bag and stock up on ice blocks and gel packs to keep your food cool in the heat. And remember, when it comes to the food you take and the products you pack, simplicity is key.
Food for thought
Choosing the right foods makes all the difference when feeding your baby on the go, as warm yoghurts and cold portions of spaghetti bolognese just won’t cut the mustard.
“Don’t fall into the trap of piling lots of different food options into your buggy, as you’ll be carrying around enough baby essentials as it is,” advises Claire. “A couple of fruit and vegetables that you can easily peel and mash up in a bowl anywhere make the best portable meals.”
It’s also important to avoid packing anything that’ll need eating instantly or may spoil in the heat. “Food that is dairy- or meat-based is ideal when you’re at home because your child can play and get messy with it, but is a no-go when on the move,” says Claire. “It’ll go off quickly in the heat and, if left lying around for too long, could pose a possible health risk to your baby.”
Location, location, location
Whether you’re heading to the beach or the park, where you decide to set up camp is key to making mealtimes on the move a success.
“You need to find a spot where baby will be comfortable, cool and not too close to possible feeding distractions,” says Claire. “And placing yourself close to washing and dining facilities means when you serve up your child’s meal, you’ll have somewhere to clean and heat things up.”
Although flower meadows and sandy beaches are great for frolicking in, they’re the least ideal places when it comes to dishing up. “Move to an area with tables and chairs, which are much more hygienic. Trying to feed your baby with sand blowing in her face can be tricky and messy,” adds Claire.
While you’re enjoying a day out with your baby, it’s important to follow a few safety precautions to avoid her getting an upset tummy.
“Your baby’s food should be put in a cool bag and kept in the shade, because any meal that’s been sitting in the heat can cause possible health risks,” reiterates Claire. “For short trips, homemade purées kept in chill bags are ideal, but for longer days out, opt for shop-bought purée pouches or jars that are sterile, resealable and can stand the heat.”
Don’t forget to wash your little one’s equipment thoroughly before you leave the house, and why not boost your hygiene routine by carrying a hand sanitiser to kill off bacteria with you?