Read of the Week

Weaning made simple

Annabel Karmel

Pan Macmillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

When Annabel Karmel refers to weaning, she means introducing a baby to solid foods, so if you are looking for books specifically about how to wean babies from the breast or bottle, this book will probably not be what you are looking for.

The book is UK-based and Ms Karmel is billed on the cover as being the “UK’s no.1 children’s cookery expert”. It is therefore a bit out of joint with the South African guidelines, which advises that babies should be exclusively breastfed for six months, while the book advises introducing solids at four months, for example.

The book is very artfully put together and looks good enough to eat – it’s a bit masterchef for babies.

It is divided into three sections, which are colour-coded for easy reference.

The first section is a very detailed and comprehensive chapter on “weaning basics”, which covers nearly everything from nutrition, portions sizes, myths, meal times and more.

The second chapter deals with babies’ first foods and what I liked about this section was the meal portion sizes.

The pictures were the actual sizes of the portions without using measurements so it gave a good visual indication of what is recommended.

The last section was about feeding older babies and included mostly recipes – the kind of recipes I would never have dreamed about giving a baby, such as mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef.

My baby is still too young for such complicated meals so we did not try any of the recipes out.

To me, the book didn’t quite live up to its title. I think, 272 pages about introducing solids over-complicates, rather than simplifies baby food.

The advice which I was given about weaning came from a qualified nutritionist who won an award for developing her own baby food range and it has stood me in good stead with all my children.

All she said was, babies will develop a taste for the foods you introduce to them first, so if you want your baby to grow up to eat healthy foods, make your own purees of simple fruits and veggies, with no salt and sugar, and introduce it gradually.

The baby clinic and the road to health card – two pages of it – told me the rest.