Taking place during weaning, approximately 6-12 months old, weanagers display some distinctive characteristics these are:
1. Your baby won't let you leave, ever.
Separation anxiety is possibly the hardest developmental phase for a weanager, but it is a sign of great parenting and a good indicator that your baby will grow to be happy, confident and independent.
2. Your baby ends up wearing more food than they eat.
Research shows it's super important to let your baby play with their food, babies who do so may be less fussy eaters as they grow. Eating isn't just about the food that goes into the baby's mouth though, it's about the touch and smell too.
3. Your baby loves to empty stuff.
Weanagers spend a lot of time working on their 'filling and emptying' skills, whether it's the laundry basket, toy box or the kitchen cupboard. This habit of theirs actually helps your little one learn about the world, through repeated actions and experiences.
4. Your baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth.This is a sign that they are developing their hand/eye coordination, practicing their pincer grip and investigating objects via the most sensory part of their body - their mouth!
5. Your baby does a great impression of you.
You are your baby's best teacher and babies learn best by imitation. Every minute of the day, they are looking to you to see how to behave, so be sure to set a good example!
6. Your baby becomes a big fan of dropping things.
The desire to drop and throw everything is a common stage in the weanage years. Don't worry though, your weanager isn't being naughty; far from it, they're actually being incredibly clever experimenting with gravity.
7. Your baby will have a favourite food one week, then go off it the next.
We're all entitled to change our minds, right? Especially if you're a weanager. During this time, your baby has increasing ways to communicate their preferences, and you'll soon become familiar with what these are.
8. Your baby enjoys testing out their new pincer grip, even on you.
Towards the end of the weanage months, your weanager will really start working on that pincer grip of theirs. All of the practice picking up raisins will now come to fruition - just keep an eye on your keys and phone!
9. Your baby starts spontaneously waving hello or goodbye.
Weanagers are social little beings and their communication skills increase by the day - prepare for lots of waving 'hello' and 'goodbye.'
10. Your baby makes their mark on the house.
Your baby is becoming increasingly mobile and learns a lot about the world by touching everything. This exploration phase is likely to be marked by tiny sticky handprints collecting over your house, on everything from your TV screen to your light coloured linen.
To celebrate weanagers all over the country (there are currently about 350,000 in the UK), Ella's Kitchen is launching a new fly on the wall documentary series, 'Britain's Weanagers' on its YouTube channel. Exploring the exciting and, at times, hilarious weaning journeys of babies, the series stars four families who have all featured in the popular Channel 4 TV programme, One Born Every Minute.
Sarah Ockwell-Smith, parenting expert, comments "The weanage months, from six to twelve months, are a constant series of firsts, exploration and wonder for both the baby and parent - from first foods and first teeth, to first steps and first words. Commonly glossed over in favour of the cute new-born phase and the challenges of 'the terrible twos', it's time this period of development got the recognition it rightly deserves."
Mark Cuddigan, Head of Ella's Kitchen, adds "At Ella's we are passionate about helping little ones develop healthy relationships with food and that really starts with the very first tastes. Weaning is a really exciting milestone for little ones and their parents. We created the 'Britain's Weanagers' series to give mums + dads who are about to start weaning a fun insight into what to expect. It really brings to life our view at Ella's Kitchen that every baby is different and that there isn't a 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to weaning. We think the series perfectly captures the reality of weaning in a very charming, yet honest way and hope that we're able to bring a smile to parents watching it."
The videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC45fApllSht23XjSrcbRvIw