Weaning is the one area of being a parent that so far I feel unbearably smug about. I apologise; if anyone wants to slap me silly then I will happily share my address (I won’t, but I’ll meet you somewhere public. Well, I won’t do that either. But you get the sentiment).
At first, barely struggling through life with this small, yowling, non-sleeping little creature who I had no idea how to do ANYTHING with, weaning was a complex mystery. I read about it, I did the postnatal course with a session dedicated to it, I read the guidelines and the brochures and learned about Annabel Karmel. I’d also read the super scary BABY RICE IS EVIL things plastered all over various baby forums. And the bibles dedicated to baby led weaning and how awesome it was and how it produced genius children who ate everything. And it all seemed like Serbo-Croat. I was SO confused.
It didn’t help that at 4 months my son Tom was already showing the signs that were listed about being ready for food. He was incredibly strong and desperate to always be DOING from a very early age – perfect neck control at about 4-5 weeks, hand to mouth coordination perfect, always wanting more more more milk.
In the end, we started gently at 20 weeks. I gave him some baby rice (BLWers fall over in horror all over the UK). He swallowed it straight down. LOVED it. Huge grins. We started giving him a small amount of that once a day for one week. Then twice a day for one week. Then three times a day for another week. Then I began introducing baby porridge. That was also appreciated, so in that same week came puréed fruits, just singular at first, but then mixed combos. The one time I gave him a piece of banana he put it in his mouth with the tip sticking out and sucked it. Not ready for BLW yet, I thought. We progressed to vegetables, again single at first but then mixed in combos. And then as soon as he hit six months, I began meats and dairy.
These were such lovely times. He genuinely enjoyed every single thing I gave him, apart from papaya (we have an hilarious video of his reaction to that). Yes, I did a lot of work in the kitchen, cooking and blending and cooling and freezing and bagging and labelling, but it paid off in such huge amounts. I began taking a BLW approach just before 7 months, at lunchtimes only. He ate ham, he ate pasta, he ate and threw grated cheese EVERYWHERE, he adored chunks of cucumber, whole fruits, Babybels, breadsticks, rice cakes. He even ate some rocket and a tiny bit of olive, occasionally. And yogurt! Oh god yogurt. It’s like his main love. He began eating huge meals, meals the size that people would gasp at, but he packed it all away and still does and remains a petite little thing, thanks to how constantly he is on the go. Just before one year old, he started feeding himself with a spoon, although we had to help him load it.
The downside was that Tom is, unfortunately, a slow developer in terms of teeth. At 16 months, he still only has 4. He has frequent bouts of teething, with no appearances, so every now and then he refuses food, cries, regresses to only wanting yogurt or purées. But I’ve learned to expect that now, and cope with it. It’s still frustrating, but it no longer makes me fret and cry.
Now, Tom eats pretty much everything, including with his hands or with a spoon. He is very independent and rarely likes to be fed these days. He just wants to do it himself. Which I’m fine with. I’m fine with all of it. I’ll do exactly the same with any next child, if that suits them. Which is the most important thing really, for me – doing what suits the individual child. They’re all so different. Why try to force something that isn’t working?
Weaning for us was fun, happy (most of the time), not TOO messy, and successful. Yes I am a bit smug. Email me for the slapping address.
Thank you Halina! If you’d like to link up please grab a badge, add it to your post and then link up below! (You need to click on the link to add, sorry stupid wordpress) Can’t wait to read your experiences.
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