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A great guide to weaning!


Clear, easy to understand and lots of great ideas and inspiration

A few small niggles but nothing major

Recommendable Yes:

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Value for money

How useful was it?Very useful

29 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (17%):
  1. catsholiday
  2. Absinthe_Fairy
  3. 80smusicreviewer
and 2 other members
very helpful by (83%):
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  2. charlsayslol
  3. marymoose99
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A parents' favourite
I bought this book when my daughter was approaching six months and I was thinking about weaning her on to 'real' food and - as with most things to do with babies - I didn't have the faintest idea what I was doing! This seemed to be the book that everyone recommended so when I found it in a discount book shop for £4.99 I didn't hesitate to pick it up. It's currently on amazon for £8.69, but definitely shop around and keep an eye out in secondhand bookshops if you don't mind a used version!

This book is divided into five chapters:
1. The best first foods for your baby
2. First-stage weaning
3. Second-stage weaning
4. Nine to twelve months
5. Toddlers

Simple layout
The layout of this book is fairly simple, with some recipes being a few to a page. Some spreads don't have any images which is a shame - although I guess there are only so many photos of purées that are required! The recipes are clear and the methods are straightforward and easy to follow.

I found the first chapter - although short at only 14 pages - quite indispensable when I entered the world of weaning. It gives advice on allergies, nutrition, sterilising and so on. My daughter is now three so it has been a long time since I've looked at this section of the book but, flicking through it to write this review, lots of it is very familiar which suggests that I certainly referred to it a lot during those early months!
Get blending!
Then on to chapter 2 which outlines the first purées you can safely give your baby, beginning at between four and six months (depending on various factors which, again, Karmel outlines here in the useful introduction to this chapter).

Pretty much every recipe in this section uses a range of fruit and/or vegetables that you whizz up into a purée. Although this may all sound quite obvious, what is clever about this section is there are a lot of ideas for more unusual concoctions such as watercress, potato and courgette purée or a dried fruit compote (which is also puréed). The recipes are all pretty simple, of course, but this section is really great for getting ideas and it definitely helped me find inspiration and try a range of foods on my little girl.

Also handy is the little key besides each recipe which includes a symbol if you can freeze the purées, as well as a smiley and sad face, which Karmel suggests you can tick to show if your child liked or disliked this particular recipe. There is also a meal planner at the back which is again useful to refer to and help you plan baby's meals for the day!
Things get interesting...
Chapter 3 - second-stage weaning - covers the period from seven to nine months and this is where things get more interesting! Recipes now include meat, fish, lentils and pasta, and Karmel suggests that this is a good time to introduce slightly textured or lumpy foods. Again, I used a lot of the recipes in this book as they are all nice and simple - and I found they really inspired me when I was running out of ideas. Recipes include chicken, sweet potato and apple and an array of pasta sauces including bolognese. To this day my daughter adores her pasta and I am sure that trying out some of these tasty recipes from an early age helped develop her taste for it.
Up to a year
The next chapter covers nine to twelve months, and includes more 'meals' and items for baby to pick up and eat such as fingers of sole and chicken balls. The recipes here get a little more complicated and I must admit that at this stage in my daughter's development I was starting to feel more confident and was preparing more and more items without referring to this book so much. However as before, it did help to get ideas, and there are ideas here that can be adapted for grown-ups too!
Toddler treats
On to the final toddler section - I probably referred to this section the least as I felt I knew what I was doing in the kitchen now and I didn't worry so much about what my daughter was eating. She was also developing her own tastes and knew what she liked! What I do like about this section, however, is that there are "spicier" meals here such as Thai noodles, kedgeree, satay chicken and so on, and I am glad that this book gave me the confidence to introduce my daughter to spices at a young age (she was eating curry very early on!). There are also lots of puddings at the back - although none of them look very healthy so to be avoided if you don't want your little ones to have too much sugar!
A very handy read
All in all, I found this book pretty indispensable when my daughter was at the weaning stage and, with baby two on the way, I can see myself using it again when the time comes! It is full of useful information and ideas and it gives good advice without being patronising or overwhelming. Like I say, I didn't refer to the latter chapters so much but the useful info at the front more than made up for this.

My only small complaints are Karmel's occasional plugs for her own range of baby foods, and also it is worth mentioning that some of the things she states here are her opinion rather than being fact so you may want to get a second opinion on certain statements that Karmel makes.

For a fiver, this was a great buy and I highly recommend it to any parents who are about to start weaning!

Summary: A very useful book for new parents!

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Comments about this review »

catsholiday 27.12.2011 16:05

I think your final thoughts are certainly worth pointing out!!

Absinthe_Fairy 27.12.2011 11:50

Fab review.

80smusicreviewer 26.12.2011 21:38

Great review. E.

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Since it was published in 1991, Annabel Karmel's essential guide to feeding babies and young children has become es...

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Type Non-Fiction
Genre Lifestyle
Subgenre Family & Baby


Listed on Ciao since 06/05/2005

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This review of Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner - Annabel Karmel has been rated:

"very helpful" by (83%):

  1. Panda.Eyes
  2. charlsayslol
  3. marymoose99

and 21 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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