Sarah Almond Bushell, The Children’s Nutritionist
Sarah is a registered dietitian and children’s nutritionist with over 22 years of NHS and private practice experience working with families on all aspects of children’s nutrition. She hosts baby weaning courses, provides top tips on all aspects of weaning on her blog and social channels and an oversubscribed Happy Healthy Eaters Club to support parents in having mealtimes without drama.
“There’s so much nutrition nonsense out there and my mission is to set things straight in my blog and also with the press like Made for Mums, Gurgle, Mother & Baby, The Guardian & Yahoo!”
“My experience with fussy eaters led me to train as an SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Feeding Therapist. Starting solids is such as important milestone, nutrition is crucial as there are certain nutrients that babies need by 6 months that breast milk and formula alone can’t provide and so the food you give to your baby is extremely important.
But weaning is so much more than basic nutrition.”
A few things to bear in mind when you start out:
Eating is not a skill that babies are born with and so they have to learn how to eat during the second 6 months of life. A lot of this learning involves using their senses and the more sensory experiences your baby has the more his brain develops. Giving your little one lots of different experiences with food means that he is stimulating his brain development, leading to new skills and behaviours.
Sarah developed Tidy Tot’s Sensory Weaning materials including a useful guide for parents which explains how their baby’s senses can be stimulated throughout the weaning journey.
Sarah's top tips for Sensory Weaning:
- Offer a wide variety of different textures for your little one to try.
• Let him get involved with the food and explore with his hands.
• Invest in a decent high chair that supports your baby’s waist, knees and feet. They should be at a 90 degree angle and little legs shouldn’t be left dangling.
• Put away the wipes! When it’s clean up time bring over a bowl of warm soapy water or sit baby on the side of the kitchen sink and let baby play in the water.
• Talk about the food, whether it’s the colour or the noise it makes! Describe what they’re experiencing such as ‘the pasta is hot’ or ‘your yoghurt is cold’. When they indicate they want a drink say ‘you’re thirsty’, if they indicate they want more say ‘still hungry’ and when they finished tell them they’re full.
There’s no doubt that weaning is a messy business and it needs to be otherwise your baby isn’t getting the full sensory experience she needs in order to learn about food and eating.
“This is why I love the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray kit which ensures that your little one’s clothes, highchair and floor remain pristine! If only they made something for the walls and ceiling!”