Meet Natalie Peall: Baby-Led Weaning Recipes App Creator
We got to know Natalie Peall in our latest in our ‘getting to know’ series. Natalie is a mum of three and creator of the number one bestselling Baby Led Weaning Recipes app. Over the past seven years, she successfully helped just under 1 million parents wean their babies.
What inspired you to help others on their weaning journey?
When I was weaning my daughter, I struggled to find any support. I was extremely nervous and felt completely out of my depth. My daughter also had a cows milk allergy, so with that added into the mix, it felt even more daunting,
I turned the fear into motivation and started educating myself and experimenting with my own weaning-friendly family recipes. Then, as a hobby, I started sharing my creations on my Facebook page, which quickly exploded with new followers and questions. I would often be up until the early hours answering questions from parents who needed help.
The response made it clear that I wasn’t alone in my initial nervousness and that parents needed this support and guidance - from there on, it’s become my goal to help as many parents as possible.
Is there a meal that is best to start with when weaning?
If you have decided to take the Baby-Led Weaning route, then you may be a little confused about how to get started. I generally find parents pick either one of the following:-
You take the slow and steady approach of offering one new food per day for the first month, starting on main meals from 7 months and working towards 3 meals a day by the age of 9-10 months. This is ideal for parents who are managing allergies and are exceptionally nervous. I have a lot of information on this approach in my app.
The most popular route is to dive straight into between 1 and 3 meals a day, a relaxed no-faff approach.
You can, of course, take whatever route you want, or create your own plan. Maybe you skip offering one new food a day for the first month and dive straight into breakfast on month 1, add lunch in month 2 and add dinner in month 3. It’s OK to go with the flow and decide as you go along.
I often get asked if certain foods I post are suitable for babies between the ages of 6-12 months, or I’m asked what age specific foods can be introduced to baby. The simple answer is babies can eat most foods from 6 months, just be aware of the few foods they can’t eat, this article from the NHS breaks it down really clearly for you: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-giving-babies-and-young-children/#raw-shellfish
Always be mindful of the following choking hazards and never leave your baby alone during mealtimes.
> Grapes and foods of a similar shape, i.e. cherry/plum tomatoes, olives - always cut lengthways.
> No hard foods, especially boiled sweets and whole nuts.
> Blueberries are not listed officially as a choking hard but for peace of mind most parent either cut
in half lengthways or squash prior to serving.
What support do you offer Mums on their weaning journey?
I have my Baby Led Weaning Recipes app, which holds over 400 family-friendly Baby Led Weaning recipes. In addition, I recently launched my Baby-Led Weaning Made Easy course, which teaches parents how to wean safely and confidently.
I am also very active on social media and love connecting with parents and supporting them to have a successful weaning experience with their little ones.
How do you balance motherhood and running your own business?
I have become unafraid to ask to help when I need it. I ask for support and always say yes when it is offered. When I first became a mother, I wanted everyone to think that I could do it all,’ but this had a highly detrimental effect on my mental health, and as soon as I let others support me, motherhood became a lot easier.
Alongside a great support network, I do a guided meditation before bed every day, which has positively impacted my level of patience and overall happiness.
What is your one top tip for motherhood?
Make sure you make some time for yourself. We do so much for others and are so selfless 99% of the time, and if we don't carve out even a tiny bit of time for ourselves, it can affect our mood. As the saying goes, 'you can't fill from an empty cup'.