Okay, Mamamates, let’s talk portion sizes. I get a question about portion sizes on nearly every weaning consultation call or webinar I do, and in a recent poll with our community, 84% said they struggled with portion sizes when they started weaning. It’s such a worry for so many parents, but it really doesn’t need to be! The top-line answer is that it doesn’t really matter how much your little one eats when they start weaning. As they’re still getting the nutrients they need from milk feeds, introducing food at this early stage is mainly about acquainting them with new tastes, textures, and the experience of eating. Enjoy watching them try new things (a first-taste face can be priceless) and worry less about the amount on the plate.
It’s hard to predict how much a baby will eat or take to new foods. So, for your own sanity, we’d recommend starting small. Perhaps a few spoons from one of our organic puree pots (you can keep the rest and use it up slowly over the next 24 hours), or one of our fam-fave Mamamade dairy-free pancakes, cooked and cut into strips. If that’s enough for your baby, you’ll know about it. But, if they finish it all, feel free to offer them a little bit more! You’ll soon get an intuition for how much they usually like, which will make weaning easier as you spend more time developing through it together.
Even when you do start small, it’s important not to be discouraged if your little one straight-up refuses a food. Babies have around 30,000 tastebuds, as opposed to the roughly 10,000 we are left with as adults, so it’s no surprise that new flavours can be very overwhelming for them. It can take up to 20 tastes for a baby to learn a new flavour, so keep at it and eventually they’ll come around.
If your little one really enjoys a certain food - that’s great! Keep a notebook where you can note these down to remember, and refer back whenever they’re having a bad eating day. It can also be super helpful to introduce a food they like and are familiar with alongside a new flavour which they might otherwise find slightly challenging. This will help to assure them that there’s nothing scary going on, and might even encourage them to try the other item on the plate out of curiosity (’what’s the association between this new thing and my favourite snack?’🧐).
If you feel completely lost about where to begin, why not refer to our First 30 Days Weaning Guide - a step-by-step menu for the first month of weaning.
As your little one grows older and you start reducing their number of feeds, you might want to start filling their plate with a number of different flavours. There’s no need to worry about the different components tasting complimentary to one another - the more diversity on the plate, the more of a challenging experience for those little tastebuds! Two to three options is plenty to have going on at once. For some inspiration for how to serve multiple flavours on one plate, check out how Mamamates and TikTok supernovas Moon & Rue serve up their Mamamade here.
One key thing to remember is that your little one’s appetite will change - much like your own - every day. Just because they ate loads yesterday, doesn’t necessarily mean they'll feel like eating as much today. Keep calm, try not to panic, and don’t force the matter as it will create an unhealthy association with weaning for them and for you!
This is such an exciting time to get to know your little one, understand their likes and habits, and start bonding over the experience of mealtimes together. Try to relax and enjoy the ups and downs - it’s a rollercoaster, but that’s exciting!
If you still have concerns, why not book a consultation call with our weaning expert, who will offer you tailored advice to meet your needs?
Love, Sophie & Team Mamamade x