Mastering Baby Weaning: Expert Tips with Sammy Hammond S4|EP109

Mastering Baby Weaning: Expert Tips with Sammy Hammond S4|EP109

On this week’s episode of “Sense, by Meg Faure,” we delve into the intricate and exciting world of baby weaning. Joined by special guest Sammy Hammond, a speech therapist turned feeding specialist, this episode unpacks the journey of transitioning infants from milk to solids. Hosted by Meg Faure, an experienced occupational therapist and parenting book author, the discussion is tailored for new parents navigating this crucial stage.

Signs of Readiness for Weaning

Sammy Hammond elaborates on recognizing when a baby is ready to start weaning. She emphasizes watching for baby’s interest in food and development of head, neck, and trunk control. She points out that readiness can occur as early as four months or as late as six.

First Foods and Safety

The conversation shifts to the safest and most nutritious first foods for babies. Hammond advocates starting with simple fruits and vegetables and explains the importance of introducing allergens gradually. She stresses that fresh, homemade meals are ideal but acknowledges alternatives for busy parents.

Techniques and Approaches to Weaning

Different weaning approaches are discussed, including traditional spoon-feeding and baby-led weaning. Hammond shares her personal experiences, suggesting a combination of both methods to cater to different baby needs and family lifestyles.

Managing Parental Anxiety

The episode addresses common anxieties parents face during weaning, particularly the fear of choking. Hammond provides reassurance by distinguishing between gagging, a normal part of learning to eat, and choking, which is less common and more serious.

Listeners should tune into this episode of “Sense, by Meg Faure” for its practical advice and empathetic approach to baby weaning. Whether you’re a first-time parent or looking for a refresher, Meg and Sammy provide expert insights and supportive guidance to help you feel more confident and informed. Their discussion not only demystifies the weaning process but also encourages a joyful and explorative experience for both baby and parent. Don’t miss this opportunity to equip yourself with the knowledge to navigate one of the most rewarding phases of early parenthood.

Guests on this show


Sammy obtained her honours degree in Speech, Language & Hearing Therapy from Stellenbosch University and is a South African Certified Lactation Consultant. She has a private practice in Rondebosch, Cape Town and works in various private hospitals around the City Bowl and Southern Suburbs. Sammy specialises in neonatal and paediatric feeding and forms a part of several paediatric multidisciplinary teams. She is passionate about working with and supporting babies and their special families. Dietitians with a special interest in growth and development of children and paediatric feeding, i.e.  prematurity, Introduction of solid foods, food allergies & intolerances, feeding therapy for picky eaters and problem feeders, tube feeding and modified texture diets.

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Mastering Baby Weaning: Expert Tips with Sammy Hammond S4|EP109


So can you give us a little bit of insight into what parents can expect during the process of weaning? I think sometimes parents think that their little ones as soon as they start eating they’re going to be having bowls full of food and it’s actually not like that at all. How do you know when your child is ready? I mean even if you are going to take it slow, what are the signs that you should be looking for that your little one is actually ready to start weaning? Watch your child and just see, you know, if at four months you see your little one is really not showing interest in food then just hang tight, you know, give it a few more weeks. Now you’ve decided that you’re going to start solids, what are the safest and most nutritious foods that you can start your little one on as first foods? Welcome to Sense by Meg Fora, the podcast that’s brought to you by ParentSense, the app that takes guesswork out of parenting.

If you’re a new parent then you are in good company. Your host Meg Fora is a well-known OT, infant specialist and the author of eight parenting books. Each week we’re going to spend time with new mums and dads just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenges and the questions of the moment.

Subscribe to the podcast, download the ParentSense app and Catchmaker every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life. And now meet your host. Welcome back mums and dads, I am Meg Fora and this is Sense by Meg Fora and I’m delighted that you have chosen to join us again this week.

We are here each week to kind of unpack a little bit of the mysteries and the actual wonderful joys but also the challenges of early parenting. So I focused very much on pregnancy through to five years old and each week we choose a different topic and I pick an expert to join me and to kind of unpack that topic with me for you. And today the topic is weaning.

So it’s all going to be all about weaning your baby, how, what, when, where. And so usually I actually do chat with Cath McGaw on this type of topic because she is a dietician who works alongside me. But one of Cath’s colleagues who she’s introduced me to over the years is a lady called Sammy Hammond and Sammy is just an amazing therapist.

She’s a speech therapist. She has a little girl of her own, Kyla, who’s seven months old and she’s going to be joining us today to talk all about weaning. So welcome Sammy, it’s lovely to have you here.

Hi Meg, so nice to be here again, thanks. So Sammy, a lot of people would be wondering how on earth a speech therapist ends up being a feeding specialist. Tell us a little bit about your journey.

Yeah, so I get that question a lot Meg. I have to laugh because a lot of my work is in the neonatal ICU with all the neonates and when I introduced myself as a speech therapist the mums look horrified at me as to why a speech therapist is coming to work with their newborn. But I, so my undergrad is as a speech therapist and obviously a lot of our training has got to do with all the sort of muscles and the anatomy and physiology of speech.

And that actually is the exact same muscles and physiology that we use for for feeding and swallowing. And so that’s where our sort of training can lead into the feeding direction. And so I’m actually a speech therapist and I laugh because I’m a speech therapist that doesn’t do any speech therapy, I don’t do that anymore.

And I focus solely on pediatric feeding and so that’s from breastfeeding to bottle feeding of neonates to weaning and then to to older kids like our picky problem eaters as well. Very, very interesting. So that’s your journey and then of course your journey became all the more real this year or last year, seven months ago when Kyla was born.

Was she an easy feeder? How was that journey? Sure, we had quite a journey. So she was a brilliant breastfeeder, I was very lucky. But she does have Carlsmall protein allergy.

So we went down that whole allergy journey which was really tough. But having said that in the end, you know her eating and drinking has always been great. So she’s on solid now, fully on solid and she absolutely loves it.

She eats well, she’s drinking fine. We finally got our head around the whole Carlsmall protein allergy. And so all in all besides that, she’s a great feeder.

I’m very pleased about that. So for a lot of parents before you start weaning your baby, it like is a stage you really look forward to. You know, you kind of buy those beautiful recipe books and you can see exactly what meals you’re going to be making.

And then suddenly the day comes or the week comes and you hit the skids because, oh my gosh, what is going to happen? And you become really, really anxious about the whole weaning process. So can you give us a little bit of insight into what parents can expect during the process of weaning? So, I mean, look, you know, the big thing is obviously following your baby’s cues. So you need to decide when your baby’s ready.

And you know, you’ll probably have friends and that around you that are starting at different times or families. But you read your child and you start when they’re showing you those cues. And then the main thing is to not rush.

So I think, you know, we need to manage our expectations. And I think sometimes parents think that their little ones, as soon as they start eating, they’re going to be having bowls full of food. And it’s actually not like that at all.

So for example, with Kyla, we literally just started with allowing her to kind of lick if I was eating a pear or a nachi or any type of non-allergenic food, we’d let her just lick it just to get used to the flavor of something other than milk. So you really, really, really are going to start so slow. It’s going to be one teaspoon once a day.

And so, you know, you’re going to have, and I laugh because you have these ideas of these amazing recipes that you’re going to do. And in the beginning, you’re kind of like, oh, well, I don’t think my child likes it. They’re not having much, you know, they’re figuring this all out and they will get there.

But my big thing is, you know, be an explorer with your child, like be a scientist. You’re going to have to learn and figure out, you know, what your child likes. Are they going to be slow to progress through the weaning journey? Are they going to go quite quick through it? And you don’t know, but you’ve got to start somewhere, but start slow and start small with the weaning.

Yeah. It sounds to me like your approach is not to complicate it too much, but to kind of go with the flow of it. I suppose one of the questions that parents would ask is then how do you know when your child is ready? I mean, even if you are going to take it slow, what are the signs that you should be looking for that your little one is actually ready to start weaning? Yeah.

So sometimes, you know, they shout out at you. So I had a little, if we call it in your book, social bite supply. So she basically screamed that she was ready to start solids.

But obviously some babies are a little bit more subtle. You kind of got to see. And, you know, the good time to start solids is when research shows between four and six months.

So anytime between then, we started Kyla at around five months. So slap bang in the middle. I didn’t feel at four months she was ready, but a lot of babies are ready at four months and some are only ready closer to six.

So that’s kind of our timeframe. And then the main thing is you want your little one to be showing interest in food and they do start showing interest in food. So that’s a big thing is they are starting to watch what you’re eating.

They’re starting to kind of grab up and try and, you know, take it for themselves. You just see that interest in, oh, you know, what are, what is mom and dad doing or what is the nanny doing? I’m really interested in doing that too. So there’s that interest.

And then a big thing. And I like to clarify this because some, some parents get the information that their child needs to be able to sit independently. And so they’re waiting and waiting and waiting for their child to sit independently.

And it’s, it’s not independently, it’s supported. So they can still get support. You can put them in the high chair and a little roll around them.

And they can, you can sit and kind of like hold them a little bit and just stabilize them. But you want that good head, neck and trunk control because you need that for safe swallowing. We don’t want a little one who’s going to flop over because then the airways are going to flop over.

And the risk of choking is high. So that’s really important is that, you know, that head, neck and trunk control. And then also, you know, if you’ve got a child that’s got a little bit of a medical history, whatever that might be, it’s then to also check with your pediatrician.

So you can also always ask a feed and just say, when do you think it’s the right time to start salads? Or do you think my baby is ready? And they can give you some guidelines as well. Absolutely. And, you know, you alluded to the fact that it’s somewhere between four and six months of age.

And I think what gets very confusing for some parents is that there’s this thing that the World Health Organization says exclusive breastfeeding all the way through to six months. And yet you and I and Kat and most other, you know, advisors now are saying somewhere between four and six months. That’s super confusing for mums.

I mean, what would you say to mums who are feeling a little bit conflicted by that? Well, again, I would say, you know, that’s the guideline, that’s the time frame. Watch your child and just see, you know, if at four months you see your little one is really not showing interest in food, then just hang tight, you know, give it a few more weeks. You know, there’s nothing wrong.

I even know some little ones that start a little bit over six months because they just weren’t ready, especially let’s say like our preemies, obviously we work on corrected age, not actual age. But, you know, it’s a guideline. Again, I definitely wouldn’t start before four months.

And unfortunately, I have heard some guidance saying that you now need to start at three months. And when I heard that, I was like, oh, please, absolutely not. So definitely not before four months.

And then if you’re starting to go over six months and you’re reaching seven and you’ve seen that your little one is really not showing interest, then you can start saying, okay, hold on, you know, what’s going on here. But it’s a guideline. And again, you know, don’t panic about it.

Your friend is probably starting at four months. If your little one’s not ready, then hang tight. You know, it’s that guideline.

It’s a general guideline. But that is a good time to start is between four and six months. I quite like the way that you spoke about that sitting confusion, because I actually had that the other day where a mom literally reached out to me on Instagram and she said, I’ve heard you say that my child has to be sitting and she’s not sitting, but she looks like she’s ready.

And I’ve never said little ones have to be sitting. I say they need to be sitting supported. Now moms don’t know what that is.

And so a nice kind of little test for that is if you’ve got your little one sitting on your lap away from your body, so not resting against you, and you can put your hand around her waist, between her waist and her hips, and she’s actually able to sit with that much support. She’s obviously not, she would obviously fall over if you weren’t holding her around her waist or her hips, but that much support. And she’s sitting upright with her chin off her chest.

That’s sufficient. So she’s not sitting on her own at all. It’s just sitting supported.

Yeah. Yeah, exactly Meg. And if you were now looking at, so now you’ve decided your baby’s four to five to six months old.

Now you’ve decided that you’re going to start solids. What are the safest and most nutritious foods that you can start your little one on as first foods? This episode is brought to us by Parent Sense, the all-in-one baby and parenting app that helps you make the most of your baby’s first year. Don’t you wish someone would just tell you everything you need to know about caring for your baby? When to feed them, how to wean them, and why they won’t sleep? Parent Sense app is like having a baby expert on your phone, guiding you to parent with confidence.

Get a flexible routine, daily tips, and advice personalized for you and your little one. Download Parent Sense app now from your app store and take the guesswork out of parenting. What are the safest and most nutritious foods that you can start your little one on as first foods? So generally, you know, we like to recommend, and I know that Kath is also big on this, is to start with your fruits and your veggies.

So, you know, the old school way of thinking was start with your rice cereals and that type of thing, and some people do, and that’s absolutely fine, but our preference is generally starting with fruits and veggies. So, single fruits or single veggies. Again, like I said earlier, you’re going to start super slow.

You’re going to choose one of them, offer it to your little one once a day for certain, I did, for example, three days, and then you can start getting an idea of how fast or how slow you can progress them. So, for example, Kyla loved butternut and avo and sweet potato, the general favorites of the weaning, the starting of weaning. And so, that’s how you’re going to start, and then, you know, you’re going to start looking at your allergens.

Also, to introduce at an early stage, research is showing, you know, by around six months, in and around there, you want to start introducing the allergens. And then, again, you’re just going to do it slowly because, remember, your little one has just had milk up until now. Their little digestive system and taste buds and their sensory system has to get used to this new food, how it tastes, how it looks, how it feels, how to digest it, and, you know, I always say, like, fresh is best, so go for your whole foods.

If you can, make it yourself, but, you know, if you’re a working mom and it’s hectic, there’s some amazing companies out there that can prep the food for you, or on a weekend, just go and bulk prep, pop it in your freezer, and then you’ve got some on hand. But I always find fresh is always braised, and whole foods in their whole form is going to be your most nutritious for your little one. Okay, so now you’ve just spoken about two different types of foods there.

So, you’ve got your foods that is prepped food, so that would be either that you’ve made yourself prepped on a Sunday morning, ready for the week, popped into some ice cubes, you know, done the whole batonette thing, so that, or have gone out and bought a reputable brand of mush, mushed food. But I also heard you mention their whole food and whole steamed food. Now, can you talk a little bit about that? So, Meg, are you referring to, like, in their actual whole form? Well, actually, good question.

Great question, Sammy. So, I guess, so maybe I misunderstood you. When you were talking about whole food, are you talking about food that is nutritious, unprocessed, or are you talking about whole form food? I was actually talking about nutritious and unprocessed.

Ah, okay. All right. So, let’s start there.

Okay, brilliant. So, first line of defense is you’re going to go in with whole food as in not whole pieces of food, but whole food as in real food in the format that it looks like when it comes out the ground. So, things like sweet potato, batonette, courgette, and not your highly processed grains like rice cereal, as an example.

So, that is whole food. Okay, excellent. Thank you for defining that for us.

And then, of course, moms would also then potentially be looking at whole steamed food, which actually is a piece of broccoli that has been well steamed and given to your baby to eat whole. So, yeah, I mean, we’re going to get some confusing words here. So, whole food, which I guess has been very much associated with what’s called baby-led weaning.

What are your thoughts on that? Yeah. So, there’s two processes of thoughts or kind of approaches to follow nowadays with weaning. It’s your traditional spoon-fed approach, which is basically purees that the parents or the caregiver is going to feed the child.

And then, we’ve got baby-led weaning, which is looking at the whole form of the food. So, pretty much how we would eat it, but in a safe way, like super cooked and soft, and where the child is actually going to feed themselves. I like both.

I like the combination approach, Meg. I think that they’re both great. I think that when I recommend an approach or speak about the approaches to clients, it’s what’s best suited for you and your family, what your goals are.

So, for example, in our family, we did a combination of the two. So, we did a bit of traditional spoon feeding with purees. That’s how we knew that we were getting a certain amount of puree in.

And then, at the same time, I would give Kyla some pieces of food. So, if I was doing sweet potato, I’d have a nice sweet potato puree, and then I’d have nice little sweet potato chips that were soft enough for her to mush with her gums. And she would kind of play around and squish that and try to get that in her mouth.

And while she was kind of playing with that, I’d give her a spoonful of puree. And so, I like them both. And I think that there’s pros and cons to both of them.

And it worked well for our family. I must laugh because my husband is the typical spoon feeding approach. He hates mess.

And I’m all like, let’s, the more the mess, the better. I’ve even got one of those mess mats and everything. So, when he feeds, it’s just spoon feeding.

And when I feed, I like to get kind of messy and do a little bit more of a baby-led weaning approach. Amazing. Well, I must tell you, Sammy, that this week, as this podcast flights, the new revised edition of Weaning Sense is coming out.

And we have actually added in a whole chapter on baby-led weaning, which is weaning into whole foods. And the reason for that was exactly what you’ve said is that, first of all, some babies go in one direction or the other. Our sensory-sensitive babies do not like touching their food.

They’re much more comfortable with the spoon, although they often resist the spoon as well. But they are more comfortable with the spoon than touching the food. And our social butterflies actually want to dive straight into the mess, the color, the flavor, everything.

So, they dive in and actually want to do it themselves. And so, it is specific to babies. And I am like you.

I always had what I called the two-bowl approach, which was whatever I was making for mush was also available on hand for them to play with and eat themselves. And of course, they got very little in that way, but just the playing was a really good experience for them. So, I also like a combination of both baby-led weaning and bowl weaning.

And of course, that is available. Moms, if you are looking for that strategy, there’s a brand new chapter in Weaning Sense, chapter 11, and it’s all on baby-led weaning. How, when, what, how do you prepare the food? And then we’ve got recipes for that as well.

So, yeah, very, very excited. And I’m glad we touched on it today. No, I think that’s amazing.

Sorry, Meg, because I just wanted to say that baby-led weaning is great, but I know I’ve had a lot of mommies chat to me about it and say that they’re really nervous about it. And they’ve worried about choking. That’s a big fear with baby-led weaning.

And so, I think, you know, that moms can go and read that chapter in the Weaning Sense book. It can also give them a little bit of a guideline and, you know, where to start and, you know, kind of how to go about doing it. Because I know it is a big fear, you know, of the parents is the whole choking and how to start baby-led weaning.

Yeah, I mean, it really is a fear. And I think that for moms is, yeah, it’s a challenge. And I do think it is, if you’re going to go the baby-led weaning route, you should do a choking course.

There is a Get Confident with Choking course that’s actually inside the ParentSense app. So, for any parent that hasn’t done it, that’s really, really worthwhile doing. But, you know, the little ones are amazing.

They’ll do a lot of gagging with baby-led weaning. And I think the important thing is to recognize that gagging isn’t choking. No.

So, that’s a big recommendation of mine is familiar yourself with what is choking and versus what is gagging. Because gagging is going to happen a lot in your solid journey. And, you know, the biggest thing is to not actually freak out about it.

Because, you know, if your baby’s gagging, they are learning how to protect themselves and actually avoid choking. And so, if your baby starts gagging and you lift them up and start patting their back or try and intervene, the chances of that little piece of food or whatever they were gagging on, you know, if it’s a piece that they’re gagging on, could then actually go into the airway and lodge into the airway. So, you actually then are doing almost more harm by intervening.

But obviously, if your baby is choking, you then want to intervene. So, it’s so important to know the difference between gagging and choking. Well, you know, I mean, it brings me to a question, Sammy, that actually I would love to ask you.

This was a question that came up literally this week on my Instagram page. And it was just such an incredible question. This mom said, I have a beautiful seven-month-old baby who absolutely loves her food.

She eats so well. And she started this journey at five and a half months. I started with letting her feed herself, steamed everything and letting her navigate food, which she was doing so well with.

But then a friend of mine was casually talking to me one day and talking about how a baby’s food pipe is the size of a pea. And if they chew anything that comes off and gets stuck, it would difficult for them to get it out on their own and could be life-threatening. The mom goes on to say, ever since that conversation, it has honestly ruined my relationship with feeding my baby because I’m constantly anxious.

I reverted to blending everything for her seven-month-old. And then I question myself if it’s even been blended enough. I honestly feel my heart is out of my chest every time I feed her.

And when I’m at work and I help her feed her, my daughter absolutely loves her food. But with me, there’s just so much anxiety. So when I got this, I was just absolutely devastated by it.

And it finishes and says, I’m starting to worry that my baby is feeling my anxiety. And I’m also trying to navigate how I’m going to get through this block. What advice would you have for moms who are feeling this absolute complete incapacitation of anxiety when it comes to feeding their little ones? Oh, man, I’m so sorry for this, mama.

I mean, she was on such a great journey. And it just shows how what people say can actually really get to us. And you know what? I think being a parent is an anxious journey.

I think I’ve found it myself. There’s anxiety, and I don’t think it ever ends, Meg. I mean, your kids are older.

I think you’re forever anxious being a parent. And I think, you know what? You’ve just got to trust yourself. Again, if it’s working for you, and your baby’s doing well, back yourself.

Don’t compare. Don’t let other people’s fears hinder your progress. For example, my mom also had a massive fear of choking.

And so she looks at me feeding Kyla with these big round eyes. I mean, she started solids with me at a year because she was petrified of choking. I’m surprised I came out OK.

But I can’t let her fear get into it. And I’ve often seen that. Then I started adapting, and then I would give Kyla extra smooth stuff because I’m worried.

And it’s actually like, no. I know my child best. We’re on our journey.

I know what she can cope with. If you know what’s safe and what’s not safe, go through your weaning guidelines. What is safe foods to offer? How big must they be? What’s the size? What are choking hazards? And then, you know, back yourself.

Be confident in you know your child best. Absolutely. And you know, there’s another skill that I’ve learned as a seasoned mom of three, two of which are adults, is the poker face.

And the poker face is when you are dying inside, like your anxiety levels are so high or your emotions are screaming through the roof. And you just pull the poker face and act as if everything’s absolutely fine. And I mean, Sammy, I’ve had to do it with conversations my kids have had where I really wish they hadn’t shared that information with me.

And I kind of sit there and go, OK, you know, kind of matter of fact. And then I go away and I think about it for a while before I respond, because otherwise they’re never going to tell me the next thing. So, you know, you have to pull the poker face quite often.

But I do think with, you know, I think just going back around to the gagging, you know, gagging is not something that’s dangerous. It is learning a skill. It is actually the way in which babies close their air pipe for little bits.

The tongue goes up at the back and it kind of forces the food forward. But in doing so, it stops it from going backwards. So it’s actually a very, very important skill.

And it’s one of those ones that when they do it, you think, oh, my gosh, what’s going on? And that’s when you’ve got to pull the poker face. You’ve got to go, OK, I’m happy. You’re fine.

Nothing’s going on. Meantime, inside your stomach is in a complete knot and you’re thinking, shit, are they actually going to choke now? Like, do I need to hook that up with my finger? What must I do? But the best thing to do is to just watch and smile and treat it as normal and they’ll get through it. Completely, completely.

And they do. They do read off your anxiety. So like you say, Meg, that poker face, you just hold it inside, even if you have to go scream in a pillow later or go have a cry or whatever it is.

You do not show that in front of, you know, whoever it might be, your little one, family. You just hold it together. Exactly.

And, you know, Sammy, a month ago, it was the beginning of April. So if anybody wants to go back and have a look in the first week of April, Kath and I did a podcast on picky eating, which if you do have a picky eater, please go back and listen to it. It was just an incredible episode.

I think it was episode 103. But what was very interesting in that episode is it came out that a lot of our anxieties, if we bring anxiety to the table with our children, we are much more likely to have our picky eaters later on. And so by having that poker face, we’re not just getting them through that moment of that gagging, but we’re also actually preventing picky eating long-term as well. Absolutely, absolutely.

I mean, you can even just see how, you know, you having a bad day and not being present. Even now with Kyla at this age, she feeds off of it. You can realize her whole demeanor is different from when it’s a happy, exciting, positive environment.

And so, you know, whatever you’re going through, just like you say, put your poker face on. And yes, you can prevent things, you know, long-term if you just keep that environment positive and happy and neutral and just non-reactive, like you said. Yeah, I love that.

Non-reactive. Really, really good. So just on the practicalities of weaning, I’d love to know how you did it with Kyla.

So you indicated that you started off with predominantly your starchy veggies and some fruits. And then at what point did you start to, A, mix fruits and vegetables together and B, pop some allergens in and kind of give more mature casserole type food or whatever? So, I mean, we did start off very slowly, but soon realized that, you know, Kyla is that social butterfly and she really craved more flavor, you know, more excitement. And so quite soon into it, I think it was maybe by the second week, I was starting to mix well-tolerated foods so that I knew that, you know, she didn’t react to them.

And the reason I say this is we were really more careful with Kyla because of her allergic profile and knowing she had cardinal protein allergy. So we just had to really kind of go really extra slow with her, but then we saw she was fine. And then I was mixing and, you know, matching and adding things.

She’s a huge fan of avo, so I’d add that to most meals. I could actually add quite a bit of texture in from an early stage. Initially, there was gagging, like we say, because it was a completely new texture, but she actually loved it and she kept going back for more.

And so I would say by week two, week three, I was definitely adding, you know, a different veg. And I still remember messaging Kath and being like, we already at this stage with Kyla, is it fine? Is she going too fast? Because she was dying for it. Dying through it, yeah.

And then, you know, with Kath’s help, you know, I’m very lucky in that she’s a colleague, but also a close friend. And she helped us with the allergens with Kyla. And we did that really slowly.

So I think the first allergen that we exposed her to was egg. So we did a little bit of scrambled egg and we did that for three days. And most importantly, I think when trying a new food or an allergen is we always did it in the morning or over lunch.

So never in the evening. And obviously in the beginning, she was only on one meal and then she quickly moved over to two. So it was generally breakfast and lunch that she was having.

And that was because if she was going to react, at least we would all be awake to see it. You know, if you’re going to do it in the evening, everyone’s going to go to bed. So you want to be aware for those reactions, especially in the early days.

And then once she passed the one allergen, we then move on to the next one, take that one off. And once, if it was a safe allergen or a safe food, we then incorporated it into her diet. So she was having, like you said, as casserole type dishes, I would say by three, four weeks into weaning, you know, she was already having those nice and textured casseroles and that.

But I also understand that she was very quick. You know, I have friends that have babies at similar ages to Kyla and they were a lot slower. That’s what your social butterfly does though.

And that’s okay. Yeah. We just followed.

Exactly. And our social butterflies do that. They go straight into all the texture and the color and the flavor.

Yeah. Excellent. And she lets you know as well if she’s bored or something.

I mean, oh yeah, no, she tells you. That’s so funny. Excellent.

So as we finish off, can you give us your top five tips for the weaning period and particularly for the early weaning period? Yeah. So, you know, I think like I’ve touched on a lot today, Meg, is, you know, start when your baby is ready. So like your baby in big, bold capitals, it’s your baby, not your friends, not you when you were a baby that your mom’s advising you, follow your baby and their cues and don’t prepare your solid journey.

So you kind of, you know, choose. That’s my second tip. Choose an approach, whether it’s spoon feeding or whether it’s baby led weaning and loosely choose it because it’s probably going to change depending on how your baby is and their personality.

But say, this is how I’m going to start. Use a guide so I can highly advocate for weaning sense. We did that as well with Kyla.

It’s a brilliant guide on where to start, their personality. So stick to that because it’s obviously also a whole bunch of different approaches that you could use or different guides. So choose one and then don’t compare your journey to somebody else who’s doing a completely different journey.

Have fun, be creative. Like I said, be a scientist, figure your own child out, figure what they like, what they don’t like. And then also don’t put pressure on yourself and your baby.

There’s no need to put pressure. Milk is still the main form of nutrition up until a year. There’s no need to be having massive full blown meals and choose snacks in the early days.

So take that pressure off and then just go with it. Have fun. And have a poker face like you say.

I love it. That is just wonderful advice. Super practical, Sammy.

Thank you so much. I really do appreciate that. Now I’m sure lots of moms would love to know where they could get hold of you for their feeding journey, for their picky eaters.

You’re based in Cape Town. Yes, so I’m based in Cape Town. But I have a lot of mommies and daddies that I’m helping all around South Africa, some overseas as well.

So I do do online consults. But for obviously in person, I am here in Cape Town. That’s brilliant.

And where would they get hold of you if you’re online? Have you got an Instagram profile or a website? I do. So our website is just busy, you know, finishing up. So I am on Facebook and I am on Instagram.

So ask Sammy feeding therapist and they can just contact me there either with a DM. Otherwise, all my contact details are on my profiles as well. Excellent.

So that’s at Sammy feeding therapist on Instagram. You can go and look Sammy up there. Well, Sammy, thank you so much for your time.

Always lovely to chat to you. I really do appreciate it. And very sensible, kind of grounded wisdom.

Thanks Meg. Always nice to join you. Thanks for having me.

Excellent. Thanks, Sammy. Cheers.

Thanks to everyone who joined us. We will see you the same time next week. Until then, download ParentSense app and take the guesswork out of parenting.

Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.