Monday, 28 May 2012

Weaning Your Baby - Are there Cultural Differences?

I've spent the last few weeks up to my eyeballs and in pureed carrots, courgettes, broccoli and sweet potato. Not to mention chicken and fish blended until they are unrecognisable as edible substances. Yep, it's weaning time again. My only consolation is that this will be the last time I will be knee deep in mushed greens.

Baby weaning - are there cultural differences?
Photo: Alfonso Romero
I was talking recently to a Dutch girlfriend on the school playground after we had dropped our kids off at school and I told her that the kitchen and the blender were patiently awaiting my arrival to make batches of chicken casserole for the smallest member of my family. She expressed some surprise at the news,

"You make your own food for weaning?" she asked.
"Yes.... I did it for my two eldest too," I replied.
"You don't just give ready made pots to the baby?" she asked incredulously.

Erm, no. Later when are are out and about with him he'll get jars of food because it's easier. For now though I'd rather make my own stuff for many reasons (and if you want to know what they are: cost; I know what is in it; it's fresh; I can cook in batches....).

I mentioned my exchange on the playground to my husband later and he said giving ready made pots is the Dutch way........

Of course, there is always an element of personal choice when it comes to feeding your baby but it got me thinking. Are there trends and norms where weaning is concerned in different countries? Is is really the Dutch way to give babies jars of food from the outset? Is home made food for babies more popular or the norm is some countries but not others? What types are food are given first in other countries?

The Dutch are keen to get bread into babies as soon as humanly possible, I have noticed that.... but have you weaned a baby whilst living abroad? Was it done differently than in your home country? What advice did you receive locally?

I would love to hear your experiences of weaning overseas - and I am curious to hear from other Dutch mothers what they give/gave their babies as first foods - homemade or ready made?

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