Once I had got over the hilarious word that is ‘weaning’, I did some reading to find out what we were in for when making the transition from milk to food. I consulted Annabel Karmel, Ella’s Kitchen and numerous threads on BabyCentre before I decided to take the plunge. I felt Ted was showing all the signs that he was ready for weaning, even though he wasn’t quite 6 months, so started by trying him on a spoon of baby rice a day. He seemed to enjoy this and after a while we moved on to pureed fruit and vegetables. He preferred the sweet taste of fruits and was a little bit more challenging when it came to vegetables, but we persevered and enjoyed trying lots of different foods with him. Although I really love the concept of Baby Led Weaning I wasn’t brave enough to fully go down this route – so whilst we fed Ted pureed foods we also have him solid foods to explore the texture and attempt to self-feed. Any finger food that we gave to him in the early stages would pretty quickly end up on the floor, and sometimes it seemed like a pointless and tedious exercise. I always felt he just really wasn’t interested in feeding himself, and although I kept offering him food for himself, he stayed on pureed food for quite a long time. We tried different combinations of veg, adding baby pasta, and eventually adding meat – but it was always in some form of mush or other, and fed to him by spoon. He expressed his joy of food with lots of “mmmmm” sounds and has always had an impressive appetite. He is quite a big baby, on the 98th percentile, and rightly or wrongly I have always been paranoid that if he didn’t have enough food in him, he wouldn’t sleep. I think this is another reason I couldn’t fully commit to Baby Lead Weaning – it felt like if he was going to feed himself then he wouldn’t eat at all!
He is now 13 months old and we have come a long way with his eating and feeding. He feeds himself his lunch every single day – no more slop! An example of what he might typically eat for lunch would be chopped up ham, cubes of cheese, hummus in a tortilla wrap, rice cakes, a slice of melon, finished off with his absolute favourite: a yoghurt. He LOVES fruit and and crunchy food, like the Organix Goodies range that we are currently testing out. (Review to come soon!) I love following Baby Lead Weaning accounts on Instagram and seeing the beautiful lunches some mums make their lucky babies – I particularly like the bento-style lunches, check them out! Whilst I have some shape cutters and have once or twice made a sandwich in the shape of a bear, I am by no means one of those culinary artists. My friend is really into this and makes beautiful lunches for her daughter, and through her I have discovered what a yumbox is and one of her favourite websites that sell amazing accessories to create these lovely lunches.
We are now at a really nice point in Ted’s weaning journey where he can eat a variety of foods and textures, without any fuss. I really like that we can go out to eat and order him something from the children’s menu now. He will eat most kinds of pasta in restaurants and loves a bit of toast if we are out for brunch. I have found weaning quite stressful, but we are in a good place now. Here are some things that have been great for weaning:
- The IKEA Antilop Highchair – It’s just too good. Easy to clean, easy to transport, and a bargain. If you are a parent of a toddler in Bristol you probably have one of these anyway!
- An Apron – For some reason, wearing a bib completely angers Ted and puts him off his tea-time game. So many clothes have been ruined by unsightly orange stains. We now use a painting style apron to preserve his clothes and keep him calm – they are wipe down and roll up nicely to take out with you. We got our from trusty IKEA, but Tu at Sainsbury’s also do them.
- A spill-proof beaker – Ted literally just waves his beaker of water around like a loon, and used to end up soaked and thirsty. We bought a beaker that was spill-proof so that he could learn how to drink properly and still be in charge of it himself.
- Ella’s Kitchen Pouches – These were so good in the early days when we were out and about for lunch. At home I would try to give him fruit and vegetables that I had pureed myself, but on the move these were a God send.
Other things that worked for us were eating all together – he seemed to learn through watching us and it being quite a sociable activity, and also… keep trying! It can feel stressful but it is a huge learning curve and something to just persevere with. How did you find the weaning process? What tips would you give to others? Let me know in the comments below! Xx