Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Six Baby Weaning Foods That Are Messier Than You Might Think

The outcome of last week's EU Referendum has turned our lives upside down and the future feels bleak and uncertain.

I am concerned about what the Leave result means for my daughter, but - as those running the country appear to know as little about what will actually happen next as I do - I feel unable to put my worries into words.

So I thought I would focus on a subject of constancy and stability instead.

My baby will always need to eat, and her eating will always create a great deal of mess.

But here are six foods that took me by surprise with the amount of clearing up I had to do afterwards.

1. Breadsticks

These seemed like an ideal snack. So compact and hand-sized, I naively believed I could just snap a bit off, pop it in my baby's hand and she'd merrily chomp away without smearing it all over her face or dropping it.
How wrong I was. Her tight little fists shatter dusty crumbs in every direction, while she sucks it into a sticky cement texture which she then drools and mashes into clothes, carpets, buggies, you name it.

2. Mango

I expected sticky juice from this soft fruit. But I was not prepared for the strings of flesh it would leave behind on every surface it touched. I have quickly learned the best tactic with any baby mess is, "NEVER let it dry!" But all it takes is one filled nappy or crying fit at the end of a meal for you to take your eye off the ball, and before you know it you are attempting to scrape mango off the highchair with a knife. The other day I found some still crusted on to dress that had been through a hot wash.

3. Peas

Don't be fooled by the non sticky texture of these sneaky little vegetables. Their ball-like shape should have been the warning sign. They roll everywhere. I keep finding dried up shrivelled little peas in the strangest of places, days after I last served them.

4. Rice cakes

These are the worst part of breadsticks and peas combined. They seem a great portable snack, but they quickly disintegrate into soggy Rice Krispies which will turn up everywhere, most likely your hair.

5. Pear

Now I clearly am naive when it comes to how much chaos a baby can create at mealtimes, that much we have established. But I was knocked for six by the dirt that pear leaves behind. Bananas and avacados go black and leave dark stains on everything, I knew that. But pear?! If you don't get that into soak instantly then all those pretty, pale, pastel summer clothes will be sullied forever.

6. Broccoli

When the health visitor held a Weaning Advice talk at my Mother And Baby group, my daughter was only eight weeks old and solids seemed a world away. But one thing stuck with me. "A nice thing to try for baby-led weaning", she said, "is steamed florets of broccoli, that your child can hold like lollipops and suck the tops off." How sweet, I thought. Now, kindly tell me what kind of lollipop sheds a slimy green snowstorm all over every surface, so fine it seems impossible even to wipe up?! The worst part was the aftermath in the bath - covered with a film of floating broccoli bits that stuck back onto my child as quickly as I attempted to wash it off.

So now that my eyes have been opened to the perils of weaning, I am resolved to picking spaghetti off the floor and mopping sweet potato from between neck folds - at least I am expecting the result.
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