How To Reduce Food Waste During Weaning
Hi Nimble friends!
We've partnered up with our friends from Mamamade to give us tips about the (messy) phase of weaning and how to navigate this special time in a thoughtful way.
Have a read below to learn more about their founder's weaning journey and some tips to reduce waste along the way!
Hi! I’m Sophie, a New Yorker in London, mother of 2 and founder of Mamamade – we’re a direct-to-consumer brand specialising in infant and toddler nutrition, with a focus on supporting parents.
When I was first weaning my eldest, I remember feeling shocked by the amount of waste we were creating - that was partly why I wanted to start Mamamade in the first place! I would spend hours batch cooking only for the meal to be thrown back into my face or rejected entirely. Even when it came to pouches, I found I was regularly throwing away half-eaten pouches and bars. I thought there had to be a smarter, more sustainable way to introduce solids.
So here we are - What started from my home kitchen in 2019 is now a community of over 60,000 – all of us sharing the highs and lows and offering a listening ear for everything life throws at us, and over the years I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of parents with their weaning journey.
Here are my top tops for reducing food waste during weaning:
🐣 Don't offer too much
Bulk or batch cooking can seem like an amazing idea for saving time, but actually, while your baby is just starting out on this exciting journey of learning to eat, it can be best to start small. So while I totally appreciate the desire to cook a 5* meal for your baby, there’s nothing more frustrating than watching your baby spit out or not touch something you’ve worked hard to create.
Try offering your baby just a small amount of food at a time, and when that’s eaten you can offer a little bit more. This is a good idea because 1) there’s less risk of a whole plate of food going overboard, and 2) there's no risk of the remaining food being contaminated with baby's saliva and fingers, so it's safe to store again for re-heating. It can also help keep baby from feeling too overwhelmed.
🥕 Offer foods you eat too
In the beginning, you may think about offering your baby foods you'll also enjoy, such as smashed avocado or some banana. That way, if they’re left untouched, you can finish them up yourself. Avo toast for mum or dad + no waste = winning! Another reason why we’ve packed our Mamamade meals with flavour ;)
🥣 Invest in the right tools
For babies who prefer bowls to be thrown on the floor (goodbye beige carpets!), consider investing in bowls and plates with suction pads on the bottom that can be fixed to the table or high chair. We know teaching baby not to throw bowls on the floor is the ultimate goal, but it's one way of solving the problem! 🤷♀️
It's also a good idea to buy practical bibs which catch large chunks of food before they hit the floor, if you're concerned about mess.
💿Cover the floor
Try placing a clean, plastic floor covering (like a tablecloth, or some vinyl) under your baby's high chair. This isn’t just great for saving carpets and hardwood floors. It also means if food gets dropped then can be safely picked up and put back on the tray without contamination.
♻️ Compost food waste
Another benefit of covering the floor is that it's easy to scoop up any leftovers and pop them straight into the compost bin. This is great for babies who are being weaned on a plant-based diet, as the ingredients will all be compostable. This helps food waste ending up in landfill.
🧘And lastly, relax - it won’t be forever
Remember, this very messy period really only lasts for a short time, and whilst no-one wants to waste food, your baby won't be exploring food in this way forever (trust us!).
In the long term, a child who develops picky eating habits is likely to waste more food throughout their childhood than a baby who rejects small amounts of food offered while they're learning to eat.
Babies who are encouraged to explore with their senses and make a bit of mess during weaning are less likely to develop picky eating habits in the long run. So really - you’re saving yourself some hassle by encouraging the exploration now!
So try not to stress too much about food waste during weaning - you're doing a great job!!
Don't miss out! Use code NIMBLE10 for £10 off your first box at mamamadefood.com.
Thanks for Sophie and the team at Mamamade for this great blog article!