A new nationwide survey of 2,000 parents of under-fives, released today by Ella’s Kitchen Brands Limited, reveals how parents across the country are feeling the heat in the kitchen when starting their little one’s weaning journey for the first time.
With parents spending nearly a working day a week (7 hours) preparing their little one’s meals, nearly a quarter (22%) said they find the weaning journey super stressful and 26% admit it has made them feel anxious.
Less than a third (29%) of parents said they felt excited about introducing new foods to their little ones, with 15% admitting the whole weaning process brought them to tears.
Ella’s Kitchen has come to the rescue to help take the stress and worry out of weaning to make it an exciting time for little ones, with a brand-new online hub called WEANURSERY, jam-packed with everything you need to know about weaning! WEANURSERY features top tips, handy guides + yummy recipes from the experts, providing parents with lots of support to help alleviate those weaning worries.
With more focus than ever being placed on the importance of healthy eating habits for children, parents embarking on the weaning journey are feeling the pressure even from before their little one’s very first taste of broccoli.
Top weaning worries included:
- Fear of choking (39%),
- Knowing if their child was getting enough of the nutrients they need (30%),
- Food refusal (24%)
- Confusion about where to start and what foods to try first (17%)
Ella’s Kitchen – whose Mission is to improve children’s lives through developing healthy relationships with food – created the WEANURSERY hub to help parents navigate these weaning worries and misconceptions, so that they can focus on creating a super fun and sensorial, tiny taste bud adventure for their baby, giving them even greater support, education and inspiration to make the weaning journey an enjoyable and stress-free experience.
Other weaning woes that parents shared include, how half of parents wrongly worry that fussy eating runs in the family, with two thirds (66%) concerned that their own personal bad habits will rub off on their little ones. 40% also worry that they aren’t feeding their children the ‘right’ foods, with 15% admitting the whole weaning process has brought them to tears.
This comes as parents remember their own negative early memories with food - with over a third remembering being told they had to eat their veg or they couldn't have dessert (35%), being told they couldn’t leave the table until they’d eaten everything on their plate (35%) and being told not to play with their food (34%).
With all these worries adding to the many pressures that parents face, WEANURSEY is set to become an invaluable destination for new parents across the country. The WEANURSERY Classroom provides a host of weaning videos and expert advice on topics like ‘how to introduce big tastes’ ‘signs your baby is ready’ ‘play + learn with finger foods’ ‘veg-first weaning’ ‘making weaning fun with sensory play’ and ‘dairy-free weaning’, the Yummy Kitchen is packed with lots of easy peasy nutritional recipes created by Ella’s recipe developers, Show + Tell provides wisdom and tips from parents (who have done it all before) on their weaning journey, and the Shop offers something for every stage of your little one's journey, from veggie first tastes to perfect puree blends, along with unique bundles and delicious deals. This brand-new venture from Ella’s Kitchen is the perfect one-stop destination for all parents seeking inspiration and support in creating a super fun weaning journey for their little one.
Claire Baseley, Ella’s nutritionist says: “Weaning is a super exciting time for any parent, but we know it can be really emotional and stressful too. We hear the same questions from lots of mums, dads + carers: When do I start? How do I start weaning my little one? How do I know when my baby is full? What foods should I offer first? We’re thrilled to be launching our WEANURSERY online hub which we hope will provide a really helpful and supportive environment for new parents on the weaning journey. It’s jam-packed with handy weaning videos from our experts as well as recipe hacks, nutrition advice and top tips from fellow parents. We focus on experiencing food with all the senses so you and your little one can have fun exploring new tastes and textures together.’’
TOP TIPS FROM ELLA’S NUTRITIONIST CLAIRE BASELEY ON HOW TO TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF WEANING:
- Go at your own pace + be led by your baby - try not to worry + compare yourself to others as every baby is different + will be ready for new experiences at different times.
- Be kind with your time - try to plan your meals, shop online + try recipe hacks so you have more time to enjoy the experience with your baby.
- Pick a time to start when your baby isn’t too hungry – the best time to introduce your baby to the wonderful world of food is when they aren’t too hungry or sleepy. Just after a lunchtime milk feed might be a good time to try.
- Try a puree first - start with a perfectly smooth puree that has the same texture as double cream or runny honey. For now, one or two spoonfuls at a time is probably enough – it’s just to get your little one used to food that isn’t milk and to help them experience new tastes.
- A veggie a day - for the first few days of weaning try offering a different veggie a day, so you can get tiny taste buds used to a range of flavours. Try soft cooking veg in a steamer and blend with a little of baby's usual milk.
- Don’t give up - if your little one pulls a funny face, it doesn't mean they don't like something…it's just reeeally new! It can actually take up to 8 tastes for your little one to learn to love a new food, so keep trying.
- Have fun with it - if you eat the same foods as your little one at the same time, they will love to copy you! Show them how yummy you think your food is, so they feel happy trying what’s in their bowl or on their plate.
- Engage the senses - we believe that little ones who explore food with all their senses are more likely to grow up as happy little eaters! Let them feel fruit + veg, from a bumpy avocado to a furry kiwi. Their eyes will show them that what they eat comes in a rainbow of colours and their noses can sniff new + exciting smells.