Thursday, 23 October 2014

REVIEW Cow & Gate 5 Step Weaning Plan

I published a quick introduction to the new 5 Step Weaning Plan launched by Cow & Gate, you can find this here. But I thought I would take the time to go through the 5 Steps and tell you what I thought.

My first thoughts on the plan was that it was a great idea for new parents who were just beginning to wean their babies. As I said in my initial post, beginning to feed your baby 'real' food can be incredibly daunting so any help is great. 

As a mum who started weaning early I felt a lot of places you might look to for help around weaning, were quite judgmental. I know that the NHS are quite strict about beginning weaning at 6 months, however as I've said before that just didn't work for us. I started just before Logan was 5 months and I don't regret the decision. Even though I've been told by family members that what I did was wrong, I don't care. I made the best decision for my baby and it was definitely the best decision for us. So when the Anabel Karmel app splits recipes into 6-9 Month categories I find that a bit off putting. I understand that its a guideline but some people may be put off trying these things till their baby is exactly 6 months old when that baby might have been ready for them earlier. So I really like the fact that Cow & Gate don't split their steps up by age. I feel like its more 'these are the steps we think you should follow, you're clever enough to try them at your own pace'

What is Weaning?
Before you start they give you some information on weaning. What signs your baby will display if they are ready to start weaning and what you need to begin. The 5 Step Plan is very much based around purees and not Baby Led Weaning though if you are interested in BLW they give you links to more information. 

Step 1 - First Spoonfuls 
By the time we started following the plan we had already passed this stage. However I think its really great at showing you how to start. They start with Baby Rice and recipes for 9 Fruit & Veg purees. They give you some really handy tips on what to do if your baby rejects a new food, when and where to try their first time and what foods to avoid.

Step 2 - Introducing Breakfast
Step 2 is the shortest step and I felt it probably could have been combined with step 1. It only tells you how important breakfast is and to establish it early, not that breakfast isn't important, I just didn't feel like it needed a step all to itself.

Step 3 - Introducing Variety
We were just between steps 3 & 4 when the plan launched but we had already followed the plan pretty closely so it was reassuring to find out what we had been doing was correct. In general I found step 3 very reassuring. If it hadn't been for step 3 I may have given up quite easily with a few foods that didn't seem to go down well the first couple of times but they encourage repetition of new foods. The recipes it gives you at every step are really easy to follow and I love that they give you a shopping list so you can buy everything you need to try the recipes for that step. Its a great way to stay organised.

Step 4 - Meat, Fish & Alternatives
This was the step I found most helpful because it was the step I was most apprehensive about. I'm not a great fan of meat, I hate preparing it, and I'm not overly confident in cooking it so I found this a great step to follow. This step tells you how to prepare the meat, how much you should be giving them and importantly what to avoid. At first I thought the recipes for introducing meats were really basic when you compared them to the likes of the Anabel Karmel recipes. She adds oil, herbs, stock, etc so I thought the Cow & Gate recipes might be quite boring but after trying the Chicken & Carrot recipe for the first time I remembered that the taste of chicken on its own must be such a big change that adding herbs and spices at such an early stage would probably be disastrous.

Step 5 - Establishing 3 Meals A Day
We followed this step at the same time as Step 4. Again this is a pretty small step but I thought it was reassuring to know I was feeding Logan the right amount and at the right times. 

The Weaning Plan encourages you to make your own foods in big batches and freeze them which we have chosen to do but Cow & Gate kindly sent us some of the pouches and jars to try as well and they were a big hit. Although, as much as possible, I want to make my own food for Logan so I know exactly what is in each dish I think the jars and pouches are really convenient if we are going out for the day or if I forget to take food out the freezer (which can happen quite often and has just reminded that I haven't taken any meat out the freezer for my dinner!!!!)

If you would like any more information on the plan or would like to try it out yourself please check it out

1 comment:

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