Weaning

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Here it is, finally a post about weaning. I’ve been putting this post off now for quite a number of weeks. I can’t really rationalise why, apart from the fact at the start I didn’t massively enjoy the process of weaning and I still don’t feel 100 per cent confident about what I’m doing with it all. But then I figure I’m in no way holding this blog up as a place to come for professional advice, I just tell anyone who cares to read a little bit about my baby and how life’s going for the pair of us. So I’m taking the plunge and at least starting this post. No doubt I’ll have more to talk about as the months go on and Alexandra starts having a more exciting diet.

Beforehand (as in during pregnancy and the first few months of Alex’s life), I’d always said I’d probably try a combination of baby-led and traditional weaning. For the non-weaners, baby-led is essentially giving the child finger food for them to feed themselves with rather than spooning purees into their mouths. When the time came to wean at six months (ended up being a week before due to various reasons, not long after I published this post which I’d actually written weeks before so it probably looked as if I’d done a massive U-turn!) we initially started giving her purely foods she was feeding herself. I say feeding herself, pretty much none of it ended up being chewed and even less actually swallowed. People around me then began talking about the importance of getting a variety of flavours into them before around the eight-month mark when they can become fussy. So we decided the introduction of purees couldn’t be a bad thing and that we could always go back to solely baby-led if traditional weaning wasn’t working.

As it was, she took to purees like the proverbial duck to water and, although she does have finger foods to try herself, we now spoon feed her something three times a day. She’s on a variety of foods now: sometimes she has what we’ve had for dinner but blended down, sometimes she has something specially made for her. Our steamer and the blender we bought ages ago in readiness for weaning have been excellent as it takes less than ten minutes to get something prepared for Alex, or occasionally I have a mass blend and then freeze some stuff up ready for future use.

So far we haven’t used any pouches of shop-bought baby food, not being a snob about it but thankfully I’m managing to find time in the day to make our own. From what I’ve heard, Ella’s Kitchen are best as they don’t add any unnecessary junk into their food, but when I had a look in one shop they were £1 each! Which seems really steep when I can get quite a few meals from £1 worth of veg, or by simply taking a bit out of what I’m cooking for us. Despite not being a keen cook (I’m one of those people who can throw together a basic meal but I cook to eat rather than enjoying the process, Dylan is definitely head chef in our house when it comes to anything fancy!), I’m actually really enjoying putting meals together for her and seeing which flavours she enjoys. She hasn’t refused anything at all which is fabulous, for some reason she absolutely loves Weetabix! The process of eating it is always accompanied by ‘mmm’ and squealing if I don’t get the next mouthful to her quick enough.

At first I was very worried about weaning, whether I was doing the right thing, whether she should be spoon fed or baby led etc. There just seemed to be all sorts of things to worry about after we’d got into a nice little routine with our days and knew where we were with bottles. I knew I had to be positive about the experience otherwise Alexandra would pick up on the weird vibes, but finally weeks in I’m not really worrying too much any more. She got weighed recently and is actually now nearer the 75th centile than the 50th so she’s piling the weight on. It’s stopped feeling like such a faff now and it’s just a normal part of our day to feed her as well as her having her bottles. I could probably still do without the dreaded ‘weaning poos’ though!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Whining About Weaning

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Weaning is one of those topics which really divides mothers (and prospective mothers, and even just incredibly nosey people). Some people believe we should be forcing tasty morsels down our baby’s throats from pretty much the second they cut the umbilical cord. Others see no rush to get onto solids and are happy to wait a few months before they try out proper food with their baby.

I’m firmly in the latter camp. I accept there are occasions where a health visitor or doctor may advise early weaning, usually if there’s some sort of medical problem which necessitates it, but other than that I think all the research screams ‘wait til six months’ so that’s what I’d rather do.
Now Alexandra is five and a half months there’s almost a temptation to start trying her with foods, but equally she’s not quite sitting up by herself yet and I just don’t think she’s ready. Yes she puts everything in her mouth: tasting things is part of exploring and there’s nasty teeth coming through making her want to rub her gums along things. Yes she watches sometimes when I eat: but equally she watches me while I fill my pill box every week, should I be encouraging her to try some warfarin? She’s five months old and the world is new and distracting and amazing, colours and noise astound her and she wants to know what’s going on.
As someone choosing to wait to wean it seems like there’s a lot of pressure to ‘cave in’. Examples of people being weaned early and not immediately keeling over are banded around regularly. I myself was on baby rice aged 12 weeks. But the facts speak for themselves. We know early weaning is more likely to cause problems later on in life.
Plus I invite anyone advocating early weaning to look at my child, really properly look at her. She’s 23 weeks old and putting on weight along the 50th centile. She’s been following the 50th centile for as long as the health visitor’s been tracking her weight. She sleeps all night and is a happy, smiley baby. Does it look like she’s desperate to eat? Does it look like she’s malnourished?
Alexandra is perfectly happy on a bottle. She knows no different. But as a mom I feel confident to rely on the experts as well as my own instinct that we’re fine solely on milk for the next few weeks. Yes it will be amazing trying out different foods with her and hopefully instilling her with a healthy appetite for the rest of her life. But she has years and years of eating solids ahead of her, there’s no rush to make her grow up just for the thrill of telling people your baby eats solids or a cute Instagram picture. My baby thrives on milk and I thrive knowing she’s fine and dandy doing just that!
Harriet and Alexandra X