Q&A with weaning expert SR Nutrition – part 2
Here’s the second part of our invaluable Q&A with Charlotte Stirling-Reed of SR Nutrition who talked to us recently all about weaning and specifically about learning to sip with an open cup. You can find the first part here. Charlotte has used our Babycup First Cups with her daughter Ada and is an open cup advocate so talks from first-hand experience. She uses role-modelling to show her children how best to use the cups and uses small amounts of water to practice – great tips to get started! If you want to catch the full video you can watch it on SR Nutrition’s Instagram page.
How do you support your baby in learning to drink from an open cup?
Many babies are excited when they first see the Babycups and want to chew and mouth them – after all, putting everything in your mouth is fun at this age! It can be a game at first where they tip everything out. I find that perseverance is what it takes and they soon get bored and move on to the next new exciting thing – it can be frustrating, I know! You don’t want to get cross about it. It’s positive reinforcement and praising specific skills is a thing these days. Rash than saying just ‘good girl’ you can say ‘good girl for using the cup’ so baby knows that you’re referring to. It comes back to role modelling and showing them what to do with your own cup. It sounds silly and you can feel a bit crazy doing it but it can really help with positive reinforcement back. Try not to draw too much attention to it, the same with throwing food, which can make them do it more. That’s why it’s also important to keep to little amounts of water because when they spill, it’s just water, and let’s be honest, it won’t ever make that much mess. One other thing that’s worth saying is if you find your little one is super excited by the cups, try introducing them at playtime so it slightly loses its novelty at mealtimes. They are then more likely to have lost their desire to play with it at mealtimes. Also, introducing the cup at the end of the meal so it’s not a distraction throughout may be a good tip to try as well.
With Ada, at first introducing a cup alongside food was a bit overwhelming for her so I decided to try it bit by bit to let her get used to it. There’s so much going on for them at the beginning so introducing an open cup gradually is a good idea.
You can download a helpful guide on how to learn to sip here, but they’re also found in every pack you buy.
My baby does what she does with everything and chews it, is that ok?
Chewing is such a natural exploration for every baby and it’s fine if they gently mouth and chew the cup (not that we would encourage it). If you find it’s getting too much and think they might hurt themselves then keep an eye and gently move it away and start again when you think it’s time to try again.
I’m worried to offer an open cup as I’ll be offering breastmilk in it and don’t them to spill it?
Breastmilk is precious and I understand it can be a worry. You might want to try and master the skill of using an open cup first before trying breastmilk. But sometimes it doesn’t take long to build up the skills. Speak to your health visitor about the use of bottles.
You have to do what you feel comfortable with. Start with a tiny bit at a time and try guiding it to their mouth to minimise the spilling in the early stages of learning how to sip. Also, if they really enjoy their milk, your baby may be even keener to lap up the milk in a Babycup as well.
I have a 7 month old baby and he won’t eat anything. What can I do?
This is very common and I get comments like this everyday from people who are just starting weaning. The main reason is that weaning is so new to babies and a new skill they need to learn. All they’ve had until now is milk and suddenly there’s new flavours, new tools like cups and cutlery and it can take time. Some babies can take to it straight away and some don’t. Try not to panic and the main thing I’d say is try to stick to a routine so it’s the same time each day that you offer food, the same environment, just until they get more used to it. Also make sure you’re not moving to introduce the amount of food too quickly from one to two, and then two to three meals a day, give them time to adjust. Move through those meals nice and gradually and wait for them to accept the first meal before moving on.
I’d also suggest make mealtime an occasion where you join in to. So rather than you sit there looking at them with a spoon, you sit back, don’t worry about what they’re doing and eat your food and let them copy you. Also worth thinking about what time of day you’re offering food to make sure baby is not too full after a milk feed, for example. And also have a look at how much milk your baby is having.
You can watch the Live in full here.
And don’t forget to pick up Charlotte’s new book from Amazon – we highly recommend it for top tips and meal inspiration!