Parenting // Weaning – our journey

I realised that Wilf has been eating for a year now, so I thought I would share some experiences of our journey through the minefield that is weaning.

PREPARING OURSELVES

I was absoloutely dreading weaning. We had just got into a really good rhythm of breastfeeding, naps and introducing bottles and I didn’t want to throw this curveball into the mix.

To worry about all the parafinalia you have to buy and take out with you along with constantly thinking ahead about what you would be feeding them that day or week, having time to prep food with a baby that didn’t yet nap in his cot. This sounded way too tough.

But actually it was incredibly easy. I went to an NHS weaning information session which was incredibly helpful. The midwifes who ran it answered all my questions (such as ‘can you cook food in oil?’ -answer- yes but use spairingly and avoid if possible and ‘does it matter when you introduce certain foods?’ -answer- no, from six months they can eat anything, but just be aware of things that can cause allergies or illness such as nuts and raw eggs) and gave me the confidence to get cracking.

So armed with all the information we got going.

GETTING STARTED

We decided to combine baby led weaning (blw) with purees. The reason for our decision being that blw teaches babies how to eat (picking up food and putting it to their mouths) and purees teach babies how to swallow and digest the food.

We also waited until Wilf turned six months, firstly because this meant he could try anything and secondly because he wasn’t really showing much interest before this.

We bought some bowls from boots which are made for being held by parents, one bowl which can suction to the table, some sippy cups and some soft, spatula-like weaning spoons, bibs, the ikea highchair and this mama and papas seat. My mum also bought a set of four small bowls with lids which have been really handy, along with some extra spoons and we have got a few more bits along the way.

THE FOOD

In the very early days it was mainly blw, so boiled carrots, broccoli, mini corn cobs, etc. We also pureed/mashed up potatoes, veg and fruits. These were popped straight into ice cube trays and frozen.

Very slowly, once it became clear that Wilf was actually eating the food and not just smushing it, we introduced different foods such as cheese, bread, weetabix and the like.

Later this progressed to lots more flavours and to eating the same as us. Aswell as introducing shop bought food and snacks for babies.

HOW MUCH / OFTEN

In the early days we gave him food a couple of times a day. Each ‘meal’ would be three or four chunks of veg. But once he actually started to eat we went up to three ‘meals’ a day.

One piece of advice from the nhs was that you don’t have to worry about giving them traditional breakfast food in the morning or foods that you wouldn’t necesarily combine. We took this and ran with it. We often gave Wilf weetabix for dinner to help fill him up before bedtime in the hope it would stretch out his sleep stints. Don’t know if it had anything to do with improved sleeping but I thought I would mention it.

Regarding how much, well we just followed what we felt was right. Small portions. Wilf has generally always eaten what we’ve given him so we have never given him too much. We have also tended to go by what else he has had that day meal/snack wise.

We also offer a ‘pudding’ after each meal. We didn’t do this initially but introduced it a couple of months into weaning. It is usually fruit or plain yoghurt. Or a fruity snack that we already have made up/bought.

SNACKS

Because Wilf has always eaten well, we haven’t always offered snacks. If we are out and about, we always take snack options out with us and if he naps late/early we will give him a snack. Young gums on insta is great for homemade snack suggestions, but failing that we have gone with shop bought snacks. Top tip. Instead of baby rice crackers, once you are sure they can eat/digest them, buy regular non salted ones. Much cheaper and a pack will last ages.

MORE TOP TIPS

  • Start when your baby shows an interest in food
  • Do your research, go to a class, buy a book, read blogs – as with any new step of parenting, it can be daunting so do whatever you need to do, to increase your confidence
  • Buy the gear, or ask for it for presents (when Christmas comes…)
  • Experiment. Some of my attempts at purees etc were awful but I kept at it and got confident
  • Eat with them when possible
  • Pop hot food in the freezer for a minute to cool it rapidly
  • Encourage them to use a spoon (we didn’t and it took a long time for him to use it properly)
  • Feed them what you eat. If you eat spicy/garlicky foods, they will need to get used to them so don’t stear clear of strong flavours
  • Enjoy it! Get your camera ready for some priceless shots and make eating a fun experience

If you have any tips to add, pleaae comment below!

T

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