Willow started Baby Led Weaning on the day she turned 6 months. I had eagerly awaited her reaching 6 months, so excited to start her weaning journey and introduce her to food, seeing which flavours and textures she liked the most. I've explained Baby Led Weaning before, in my features 'Choosing Baby Led Weaning' and 'The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook Review', but essentially it means that whatever you eat, your baby eats. It can be really messy to start with but it's lots of fun and after a couple of months your baby will be much better at aiming for their mouth, eating more food and not making such a big mess (we couldn't be without our Cosatto Noodle Supa Highchair, it makes cleaning up so easy with its easy wipe down surfaces!).
You might be wondering why we use Piccolo, a brand who produces pouches of pureed food for various stages and ages, when Baby Led Weaning is so well known for weaning babies on solids. Actually, Piccolo pouches make a welcome addition to Willow's diet, and we use them in our own ways to contribute to the healthy goodness that Willow can get from her meals and snacks.
I cook a huge variety of cuisines each week and we change up the kind of foods we eat on a daily basis. Our meals are always packed with veg and I try and change things up as much as I can, so that bad habits of eating the same foods don't settle in. One thing I use a lot is sauces and marinades, some of which I make myself (rarely), but mostly shop-bought jars. For adults, these jars and sauces can have a far higher salt content than we realistically need to be consuming, and much too much for little mouths. So often, when I make a meal where I'd use a shop-bought jar, we make up Willow her own variations using Piccolo pouches. The Stage One pouches are particularly handy for this and make sure she gets a good healthy sauce without all the unnecessary added extras.
The 'dessert' pouches on offer from Piccolo, either puree fruit or yoghurts, are in my opinion, the same as buying a multi-pack of yoghurt pots. Some brands who produce yoghurts marketed for babies and young children pack them with so much sugar, that we much prefer giving Willow healthier organic options and the Piccolo pouches make a great choice for a snack in between meals (great for when out and about, too!).
The Stage One pouches cover smooth textures and include options you could pick for meal times and sweet options for snacks or a little dessert. We love using the Squash, Red Pepper, Chickpea & Apple with a hint of rosemary, makes a lovely sauce for pasta dishes. Desserts wise, Willow is a particular fan of the fruity Banana, Blueberry & Apple with a hint of vanilla, which makes a nice change from her daily yoghurts and a light dessert after dinner. Willow does love her yoghurt pots though and I find the pouches to be just like any tasty yoghurt, just in pouch form; Cherry & Yoghurt with whole grain oats is Willow's favourite from the Piccolo range.
The Stage Two pouches have a little bit of texture to them, so if you are choosing to do early weaning using purees, these are ones you would wait a little while to add into your routine once your baby had got the hang of purees. For Willow, as a Baby Led Weaning baby, we use these much the same way as the Stage One pouches, as alternatives for sauces and jars, mixing them with pasta, adding a lovely flavour to Willow's mealtimes. She seems particularly keen on the Sweet Tomato Ricotta Spaghetti with a hint of basil, which I've also recreated before and makes a fab family dinner!
We love being a Baby Led Weaning family, but there ae ways to use pouches and purees to benefit your babies diet, just like the ways we use them. They make a really great alternative to shop-bought jars which can be full of salt and sugar and can be an easy way to ensure your little one is getting a really healthy, balanced and nutritious meal. Plus, I really do love the sweeter options on offer from Piccolo, as supermarket yoghurts tend to stick to the same fruits, whereas Piccolo offers a much nicer variety of flavours for Willow to enjoy.
Find out more about Piccolo and where to buy, over on www.mylittlepiccolo.com.
*PR Samples - Disclaimer.