Weaning, how to make it a family affair

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Weaning for the whole family

When to start weaning? How to carry it out correctly and without stress? And how to make it a "family business"?

Verdiana Ramina, one of the most popular dieticians in the country and one of the best known on the subject of infant nutrition, has created an innovative book on the subject of weaning. The text, entitled Weaning for the whole family. Information, tricks and recipes to be all together at the table (Gribaudo), clarifies some questions that every new parent, sooner or later, is destined to ask himself and contains many recipes to create entire menus, season by season. 

The preparations are specially designed for the whole family: thanks to a few simple gestures, what has been cooked for the children, following all the rules on safety and health, turns into tasty dishes for the whole family. We interviewed Dr. Ramina to ask her for some more information on the subject.

In this article

  • Weaning, why set up a family menu? 
  • Is the traditional method better or self-weaning?
  • Weaning, what are the foods to avoid? 
  • Weaning, what are the biggest fears of parents?
  • Make weaning a family affair
  • Recipes (or menus) for the baby from the book
Read also: Weaning: how to tell when the baby is ready

Weaning, why set up a family menu?

Dr. Ramina explained that with the birth of her daughters, the need arose to deal more deeply with the issue of weaning. «Since I had only found obsolete information, I started to get more information by investigating the subject through official guides, WHO, Ministry of Health.

I then started giving the first consultations to parents in difficulty. In the beginning there were mostly mothers: in making an anamnesis of the family's food history, all their attention was paid to the child and to whether she ate or not. When I asked mothers: "What did you eat?", They almost always replied: "A piece of bread or a leftover of what the child ate". Then I realized, day after day, that the crux of the matter it wasn't choosing what to prepare for the baby.

I realized that concentrating the activity in the kitchen only on the child was a waste of time: we find ourselves preparing many things (various baby food, ad hoc recipes, etc.) and not to think in the slightest about what the family can eat. 

The book was born to offer a focus not only on feeding the baby, but on nutrition for the whole family. The weaning of the baby is also a way to understand if the nutrition of the whole family is good: it can be understood from the fact that the food of adults can be transformed in a simple way even for the little ones. Therefore, no more separate preparations for the children, but healthy and correct nutrition for all the members of the family.

This is not just about mothers, but of course fathers too, who are increasingly interested in feeding their children and who are often at the forefront of preparing food for children ». 

Is the traditional method better or self-weaning?

«The child has to reach some physiological steps: this does not always happen immediately. For example, at around 5 or 6 months the baby may show an interest in food, but it could not having the ability to manage swallowing well. 

It must not last too long: in Del Paese the classic stage weaning often lasts over one and a half years of age. Some two-year-olds still eat baby food. This is wrong: doing so the child does not activate an important phase of development, which is chewing

The baby, even without teeth, needs to activate chewing: through the activation of the musculature and the development of the bones of the facial skull it also develops everything that has to do with language and more. 

There is no law for weaning or self-weaning: the right word is "graduality". The first tastings can be made with creamy foods, with the help of the teaspoon. The parent must understand that he is a "means" with which the baby wants to eat, he must not replace him. 

In general there is one first phase of weaning (not necessarily with baby food or flours): you can use small pasta, cheese melted in the baby food, mashed fish, etc. Later he can move on to "small mouthfuls", which allow him to activate chewing. From nine months onwards, unless there are delays, children should be able to eat the famous "finger food", the food that he can grab with his hands and bring to his mouth independently ». 

Read also: Weaning: 40 expert answers to your questions

What are the foods to avoid?

“There is a" list "of foods to avoid. These include honey, obviously alcohol (even that blended in risotto, for example), sugar and salt. 

Pay attention because there are products, specific for the infant food industry, which they contain in a hidden or veiled way high percentages of sugars: for example, fruit juices are made with fruit concentrate (i.e. fructose, like sugar). 

The baby food itself is not like a pureed fruit or a mashed banana. These are two different things. Overdoing it with fruit juices or baby food shifts the baby's taste to a very high level of sweetness, which makes him no longer accept fresh fruit.

The same goes for salt. In many baked products (for example crackers, bread sticks, biscuits, etc.) there is a very high content of salt. There is a difficulty in understanding that there is a large amount of salt in these foods. It is also necessary to pay attention to a spoonful of grated Parmesan cheese: in it there is the quantity of salt that a baby should take every day.

Cow's milk is generally not included in a baby's diet in the first year of life. However, attention must be paid to the yogurt, which is instead used in abundance. Yogurt should always be added in small quantities to the baby's diet.

Furthermore, fresh mushrooms are not digested by the child: children do not yet have the ability to manage this food. In the end, industrial products and raw meat and fish should be avoided», Explained Dr. Ramina. 

What are parents' biggest fears about weaning?

"The great fears of parents are basically two: the first is that the baby does not eat or that it can, in some way, "die of hunger". This is a fear that we must get rid of, since one of the principles with which weaning is initiated is "complementary feeding" to milk. Milk remains a food that provides energy and nourishment as long as the baby wants to have it. 

The second shared fear is that of suffocation. But with this fear we have created a generation of children who up to two years old ate only baby food and baby food. This accustomed the little ones to only certain foods and took away from them the initial and important phase of "chewing".

It is therefore important that we parents:

  • let's start gradually weaning by limiting baby food,
  • that we do a course of pediatric unblocking,
  • and that we supply food safely, avoiding "dangerous" foods ». 
Read also: The weaning calendar from the fifth month

Make weaning a family affair

«Family planning allows to optimize times, to minimize waste and to see in advance how the week will develop. 

Yes they can prefer certain foods, to the detriment of others, and the level of time savings is invaluable ». 

Recipes (or menus) for the baby from the book

“There are some very interesting recipes with legumes. For many years, legumes were not taken into consideration in the nutrition of the little ones. In reality, with the decortication, we can administer the legumes already from six months. 

The recipes I suggest are the following: 

  • Reinforced polenta;
  • Cannellini beans and pumpkin cream;
  • Chickpea and beetroot croquettes ».
Read also: Weaning, the 15 things to know

1. Reinforced polenta


(The portion of a weaning baby is 1/4 of that of the parent)

  • 170 g of instant polenta
  • 170 g of chickpea flour
  • 900 ml of water
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • lemon juice
  • 150 ml of tomato sauce
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt.


Bring the water to a boil and pour in the two flours. Stir for a few minutes, until you get a creamy polenta; then immediately pour it into a baking tray lined with baking paper and level it. Once cold, cut it into diamonds and brush it with a drizzle of oil. Bake in a convection oven at 180 ° C for about 20 minutes, pass the polenta under the grill for a couple of minutes and serve with the warm tomato puree and an avocado sauce obtained by blending the avocado pulp with lemon juice to taste. . Salt your portion.

2. Cannellini beans and pumpkin cream


  • 3 large slices of pumpkin
  • 200 g of cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • vegetable broth
  • 80 + 20-30 g (depending on the age of the child)
  • of spelled couscous
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • sale


Heat the broth. Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and brown it in a tablespoon of oil with the sprig of rosemary. Add the cannellini beans and cover flush with hot broth; cook until the pumpkin is tender. If necessary, add more broth from time to time. Remove the sprig of rosemary and blend everything. Separately prepare the couscous and add it to the cream, completing with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper your portion to taste.

3. Chickpea and beetroot croquettes with yogurt sauce


(The portion for a child is equal to one or two croquettes, depending on the age)

  • 250 g of drained chickpeas
  • 1 piece of cooked beetroot
  • 1 spoonful of water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • sugar-free yogurt
  • sale


Blend all the ingredients except the breadcrumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, stirring. Let it rest for ten minutes. Shape the croquettes with an ice cream portioner directly on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a convection oven at 180 ° C for about 20-25 minutes. Serve the croquettes with yogurt. Salt your portion.

Read also: Weaning children: when, how to start, methods

V. Ramina, "Weaning for the whole family" (Gribaudo)

Source: Gribaudo

  • self-weaning
  • gradual weaning
  • child-led weaning
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