Similarly, when we began thinking about starting Aeneas on solid foods, I rushed to Peter Jones to buy up the entire baby department. Or close enough. I took the list in Annabel Karmel’s book – which is the British weaning bible, by the way, in case you didn’t already know it – to a ‘t’. So when she recommended that I needed a hand held blender, a food processor, a masher and a mouli, I duly bought them all. Even though, to this day, I’m still not entirely sure what a mouli is.
The problem with all the baby kit, however, is that – unlike my snazzy running hoodie that fits neatly into a drawer – it’s cumbersome. It takes over your house. Unaesthetic appliances and accoutrements that you use once and then banish to the top shelf in favour of a fork – because it’s just easier to mash a banana with a fork than it is to get the wretched blender out and do it that way. I realised this when I got all my kit home.
So here is the list of what you will actually need to get your baby started on food:
2. Steamer. This isn’t essential, as you can just gently boil the vegetables in a saucepan, but it is helpful and it saves time. You can also use it again for other things.
5. Very small spoons. These are pretty sweet.
And, in time, you will also need a highchair. Although when we first started feeding Aeneas, he struggled to sit up properly so we did it in his bouncy chair. Equally, in time a microwave may come in useful too.
Once you’ve got the kit, you can get started. Most given wisdom in Britain is to give babies a concoction called baby rice: a powder of grains that you mix with water or the baby’s milk. I tried it and it tastes like very, very bland sawdust.
So we opted for carrots. I like carrots. Steam them for 20-30 mins until they are very soft and then blend until smooth like yogurt or a creamy soup. You can add a little boiled water, if you like, to make it more runny. Then spoon the carrot purée into your snazzy new little pots, label and freeze. Defrost, warm and serve as and when you like.
To begin with Aeneas would only take one or two mouthfuls. Apparently, that is normal. But by the end of the week, we had increased his food/carrot intake to ten or fifteen mini spoonfuls. Officially eating real, actual food. Happiness.
PS Photo of Aeneas at five months when he first started on solid foods!