Weaning William

I’ve had a few people ask me recently whether I’ve done baby- led weaning or traditional weaning. The answer is that I have done both, and I thought I’d explain why.

Before having a baby, and if I’m honest, until Will was about 5 months old, weaning hadn’t really crossed my mind. Then out of the blue, my milk-guzzling newborn started staring at us when we ate, really piercing stares! His little mouth would open and close and he would try to grab food off our plates or out of our mouths! As a clueless new Mum, I did what I always do when I want to learn about something new; I bought a couple of books! I read about traditional weaning and baby-led weaning.

In brief, baby-led weaning involves providing your baby with foods they can eat themselves. The benefits of this include improving your baby’s dexterity and coordination as well as ensuring they aren’t over fed, leading to healthier eating habits as an adult. It also introduces babies to a variety of food textures and teaches them to chew. Traditional weaning on the other hand involves introducing babies to puréed foods which are spoon fed, and slowly introducing texture to these.

As a self-confessed greedy person who has always loved variety, baby led weaning really struck a chord with me. I love my food to be interesting and thought that giving Will finger foods would be a fun and  exciting way to introduce him to solids. The pharmacist in me however, wanted to ensure that Will was getting to vitamins and minerals that he needed, most importantly iron. Because for me, this is where baby led weaning could fall down. I have, on many occasions put a healthy, balanced tray of food in front of Will, and he’s rejected all but one food. You can’t force a baby to eat beef or egg if they don’t want to, and in the early days of weaning when babies are being slowly introduced to foods, it can be hard to disguise foods that they don’t like. A purée however can ensure your baby has the nutrients they require. Baby- led weaning can also be incredibly wasteful, especially when eating out. If Will drops food at home, he has a mat under his highchair so I pick it up and hand it back to him – in a restaurant, once it’s been dropped, that’s it. It can be so disheartening to see the food you’ve made thrown away within a couple of seconds of starting a meal!

I started weaning Will with a mixture of purées and finger foods, he enjoyed both and it became apparent that the most important thing to me wasn’t whether he was fed from a spoon or not, it was whether we were sitting at the table, enjoying family meals together. I wanted to cook one meal and us all enjoy it. So sometimes Will has our food blended, and other times he has our food as finger foods. It completely depends on the meal. Essentially; food we eat with a spoon, he eats with a spoon!

There seems to be a lot of judgement surrounding weaning these days, and people seem to follow either baby-led or traditional weaning, but I can’t help thinking that a mixture of the two can be a great option too!

This has worked really well for our family but I would never judge what another family choose to do. Becoming a parent makes you realise that all Mums and Dads are constantly trying to do the best for their children! How did you wean your children? What were your reasons for doing so? I’d love to hear about your weaning journey! 

Feta Filo parcels 

We are going away this weekend to Cardiff; it’s going to be our first trip away with Will. I know people travel with much younger children than this, but for us it’s a first, and I must admit I’m nervous! Nervous of leaving something behind, nervous of  a mid John Lewis meltdown and most of all, nervous that Will’s routine will get completely disrupted. It took 9 and a half months for Will to sleep for longer than 2 hours in a row, and for the last couple of weeks he has been sleeping through the night, it’s been absolute bliss and I would hate to end up back at square one! So this week I’ve been making lists, lists of lists and using up everything in the fridge!

We grow courgettes and this year we are inundated! So they are constantly in my fridge and I’m forever looking for new ways to use them. This recipe is a quicker, modified version of a Jamie Oliver recipe for a filo pie.

Filo makes brilliant crispy carriers for little hands to grip, making these brilliant finger food. I made Will some spring roll shaped versions, while we had rustic parcels. Its also lighter than puff or shortcrust pastry, making these feel almost saintly. This recipe is incredibly simple, and it really showcases the ingredients, so buy the best tomatoes you can. This same advice goes for the feta and the courgettes too but the tomatoes should be lovely and sweet against the salty savouriness of the cheese.


This would make 5 parcels or 4 parcels and some finger rolls for babies. 

  • 200g grated courgette
  • 100g fresh tomatoes
  • 150g feta cheese
  • 1 medium egg
  • Small handful of basil
  • A few mint leaves
  • Butter for greasing
  • 5 rectangular filo sheets


  • Preheat oven to 180c and add place the baking tray in the oven to heat up
  • Remove filo from fridge, it’s easier to work with when it’s room temperature but keep the packet sealed until the last minute. If it dries out it becomes brittle and cracks.
  • Using a course grater, grate your courgette and add to a large bowl
  • De-seed and finely dice the tomatoes and add them to the courgette
  • Crumble in the feta and add the egg, stir to combine
  • Finely chop the mint, shred the basil leaves and add to mixture.
  • Melt a small amount of butter in a dish
  • Remove filo from packet

For the parcel shaped adult versions: 

  • Cut 1 filo sheet in half to make 2 squares.
  • Lay one square in front of you, using a pastry brush, lightly cover it in melted butter, and place the other square on top of it, at an angle (see photo).
  • Spoon roughly two tablespoons of mixture into centre, gather the pastry and scrunch into he centre with a little twist as you go. They are meant to look rustic! Repeat this until you have 4 parcelsimg_5892-1.jpg

For the baby finger food versions:

  • Cut one rectangular sheet into 4 small rectangles.
  • Spoon a line of mixture into the middle of each rectangle
  • Fold the both ends over the line of mixture and then roll up to form a spring roll- like appearance
  • Once you have made your filo shapes, lightly brush them with the melted butter.
  • Remove hot baking tray from the oven, cover in baking paper and add filo parcels and/or rolls
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is golden and crispy (mine caught a little so these photographs aren’t as good as I would have liked, but for me food is about taste, and they tasted lovely!)

These are delicious hot or cold, but the pastry is crisper when warm. We enjoyed ours with some garden-grown salad. Will enjoyed them for a few minutes before throwing them on the floor for the dog!

I’d love to hear from you if you give this a go or if you have any great courgette recipes I could try!


Too Hot for Porridge

IMG_5879.JPGHas anyone mentioned that its been rather warm in Britain this week? Pre- motherhood I could never understand people that would sit, fanning themselves in a vastly over the top fashion, moaning about heatwaves (summer, I think they call it in most places, but that’s not nearly dramatic enough for us Brits)! I live in Wales and despite what my husband says; it rains here, a lot! So for me the odd warm day came as a lovely surprise, and it didn’t matter if the bedroom was a bit warm, or the butter had melted over the kitchen worktop because I could sleep the next night, and I would have plenty of time to clean up the butter pool. Post- motherhood however, my feelings towards these balmy  roasting days has changed! I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times in the last 72 hours I have googled ‘how to cool a baby down without air conditioning’. We have dunked poor Will in bowls of water, he’s hasn’t worn clothes for days (brilliant for my washing pile) and my husband and I have been taking it in turns to stand by the chest freezer with the lid open. But the facts remain the same; its hot, and its totally out of my control!

One thing I can control though is food, or more accurately, breakfast. We usually have porridge as its filling, suitable for everyone, quick to make and cheap. A perfect meal in my humble opinion, but not at all summery. So I set to work creating a recipe for overnight oats that would be suitable for Will as well as us adults. Its hardly a recipe, more a combining of a few ingredients, but the key to making this baby friendly is simply to make it a little more milky than usual, and to use fruit that is pureed rather than whole berries. The quantity below is for 1 portion for a baby (although it obviously depends on how much of an appetite your little one has). My husband and I had double the amounts written with 20ml less milk to make it less liquid.


  • 2 inches of banana, mashed
  • 2 level desert spoons of porridge oats
  • 50ml of fruit puree, I used blueberry and cherry
  • 50ml milk (almond milk, cow’s milk and soya milk are all lovely)
  • pinch of cinnamon (or a few seeds from a vanilla pod)


  • Mash banana and add to the base of a small jar
  • Add the porridge oats and the cinnamon
  • Add the fruit puree
  • Top with milk and close jar
  • Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next morning

You can stir it together before serving but I don’t as Will responds really well to having different tastes and textures throughout a meal. For younger babies, blend the porridge oats until you get your desired texture before adding to your jar; I use a milling blade on a Nutribullet.

So there we are, porridge with a summer makeover! What are your favourite overnight oat flavour combinations? And if anyone out there does have any tips for making heatwaves with babies more tolerable I’d love to hear them!