Our favourite PE teacher has teamed up with a nutritionist for a weaning advice cookbook with clean tasty dishes you'll want to eat too (OK maybe not the purees)
The book which guides parents through the progression from milk feeding to solid food (from six months to 12month+) has Joe’s two-year-old daughter Indie on the cover (if you’re a fan of his YouTube classes you’ll already recognise the tot from her cameos in his workouts) and was inspired by his experiences weaning her and her little brother Marley, five months. He launched a Wean in 15 Instagram account back in February 2019 followed by a podcast by the same name in earlier this month and feels every parent's pain when it comes to knowing what and when to feed your baby.
"There are so many factors involved when it comes to fears and concerns around weaning,” Joe told the Don’t Tell Your Mum parenting podcast. “It is a case of having a bit of confidence, and understanding what you can or can’t give your child. There’s no right or wrong. People want to do the spoon-feeding, or some people want to do baby-led weaning. I believe that a flexible approach is best, letting your baby hold the food in their hand and feel it while having some for them to taste on a spoon."
Just as his PE with Joe Workouts have become a hit equally with children and their parents and grandparents, many of the recipes in Wean in 15 will feed generations; family meal recipes are labelled in the book, explaining how many mouths it will feed (i.e the chickpea and mushroom burger recipes says it will make two adult and four baby burgers, or eight baby burgers) and the vast majority of the meals in the book can make adult and baby portions - don't worry though, you won't be eating puree - some of our favourite recipes in the book include the butternut kidney bean quesadilla, the fish tacos and the Caribbean spiced chicken and squash curry.
Joe is known for his speedy recipes and if any in the book takes longer than 15 minutes, it is noted as a longer recipe so you know what you're getting into.
What’s in the book?
Wean in 15 (we wonder if had had the pun planned way back when he started the Lean in 15 franchise?) coaches readers through all of the daunting weaning steps from breastfeeding to first foods to family mealtimes, drawing from his own experience and calling in the help of registered nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed to ensure his advice is spot on and safe. She advised Joe and his wife Rosie introduce green and savoury vegetables within the first two weeks of weaning, for example. Babies are born with a sweet tooth so adding in bitter foods early on means they are more likely to readily accept a wider variety early on, if offered. The book also contains NHS guidelines on weaning for parents to refer to such as when to stop giving babies milk and when to introduce nuts.
The book is split into two parts; the basics which look at whether your baby is ready for weaning (including signs of readiness - one of which is chewing their fists, who knew?!), how to set out a routine that works for your baby and you, why a calming atmosphere with no distractions at mealtimes is essential for weaning and how to spot food allergies.
Apart from the adorable photos of Indie’s weaning journey (we’re not sure she’ll thank her dad for this once she’s in secondary school…) what we love most are Joe’s personal touches in the book. In the section on allergies, he regales us with tales of finding out Indie’s allergy to cashew butter and makes it all seem a lot less scary. (They'd tried various nuts but at seven months old she reacted to cashews which made her mouth swell and made her vomit, her reaction lasted 45 minutes before it all calmed down. She was still taken to hospital because she was so young but released after an hour with advice to visit an allergy specialist).
The Wean in 15 recipes
The second section of the book comprises recipes: 100 of them. They're all labelled to denote whether they’re freezable, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free and are broken down to age ranges: six months, six months plus, seven months plus finger foods, seven to nine months plus, ten to 12 months plus, and 12 months plus.
Each age range comes with an explainer about the new stage and what you can introduce, along with tips on how to encourage resistant eaters, such as cook food for longer so it’s squashier and more appealing to little hands.
Obviously some of the recipes aren't intended for grown-ups, but the combos do sound appetising, varied and nutritious - including courgette, pea and mint puree, avocado and butterbean mash and pear, beetroot and blueberry overnight oats. The recipes are also dotted with tips for reheating and altering the consistency if needs be.