There, I said it. I do. I hate weaning. I just don’t get these people that say “oooh i love weaning, it’s so much fun watching them explore food!” For me, it’s a lot of pressure and a massive ball ache! Some say that parenting in general is a lot of pressure and I suppose it is, pressure to parent them into half decent human beings that don’t lick windows and eat their own poop. With weaning though, there are so many options, so many different foods, so many ways of weaning, it’s messy and with most of it, the child is in control which, in my book, is never a good thing!
Take Baby Led Weaning (BLW)…I LOVE the IDEA of BLW. I love seeing all those little bamboo plates on the ‘gram with lovingly made finger foods but the reality is completely different. A baby clutching hand fulls of Bolognese is my worst nightmare. I am forever passing clothing over to my mum who is “Chief Stain Remover”, according to her I wash the stain in rather than remove it. Who even knew that was possible! Back to the topic, Bolognese plus baby = stains…lots of stains and not just on the child. I can hardly send a wall to my Mum can I?
Despite all this, I did intend to do more BLW with Sienna, mainly because Lucas was such a pain in the a**e with lumps in his food when I was weaning him. The slight lump in his baby food and he would spit it out in a way that made him look like a turtle. At ten months old, I was convinced he’s been on puree till he was 18. As it turned out, Sienna didn’t give me any choice, she refused to be spoon fed at first so it had to be finger food. There was no way I was going to give her sloppy stuff so my BLW was veg sticks, cucumber, cheese, sandwiches, mini sausages etc and then I kept offering her some baby slop via a spoon and now we do a bit of both, which works for us. Sometimes she still refuses point blank to be spoon fed so I usually chuck her some of whatever Lucas is eating. You’ll be pleased to know he adjusted to lumps once he started nursery and had no choice but to eat or starve. Now he has a great appetite and isn’t fussy really apart form with meat, which he will only eat if it’s in something – like a curry or chilli. When he has a carver or Sunday dinner, he just has a plate of veg!
There is also the pressure to feed them healthy stuff all the time but, let’s be honest, anyone who says they don’t love some beige food is lying. By ‘beige” food I mean oven food – chicken nuggets, fish fingers, chips, beans etc. Easy food that takes no time too prepare or cook…but it’s not the most healthy is it? As someone who has been on some sort of diet since being about 21, I am well aware that healthy food is important and I don’t want either of my children to be fussy eaters or only eat beige food. Lucas loves vegetables, but isn’t so keen on salad or fruit. Currently, Sienna seems accepting of most foods but, during this weaning phase, she’s not had a lot of beige food. Not for any other reason other than it’s not the easiest to give a baby. She’s had chips but actually a floret of broccoli or some sticks of carrot or cucumber are much better for her and easier for her to eat. My biggest worry this week is that she will turn into a cucumber if she eats much more.
As much as I hate weaning, and can’t wait till Sienna is fully weaned, I have to say that the second time round has been a lot more relaxed. I refused to stress myself out with it like I did with Lucas and so far, so good on that front. I like spoon feeding her because I can see how much she’s getting. Considering I have mostly breastfed her, you wouldn’t think that would be an issue for me but I think i associate sleeping through with her eating. Lucas slept through the night at ten months when he was eating three meals plus snacks every day. I’ve actually given her some porridge supper on the night I started writing this post because she’s regressed to wanting feeding every four hours in the night from just one feed at 11pm. I do find that, mostly, she sleeps better if she’s eaten well during the day.
It’s totally hilarious how your attitude changes with the second child to the first. I began weaning Lucas by smushing down apples, pears, broccoli, carrots etc into a perfectly smooth puree then freezing it for convenience. Second time round I can honestly say I haven’t pre-made any baby food for Sienna. I did hand blend a meal that Ric, Lucas and I were eating and she point blank refused it, ungrateful diva. She prefers baby food and yes, it’s more expensive, but like I said I’m not stressing out so I’m doing what’s easy. One think I do stand by is holding off on giving them chocolate until they are AT LEAST over one years old. Once they realise that sweets and chocolate are like crack, it’s a slippery slope so I give myself a break on that one – ha ha!
So, to finish, my top tips for weaning are:
- Try not to take it too seriously. As they develop they will eat and will love food.
- Go with the flow – spoon feeding, baby led weaning, a bit of both. Do what suits you and your child.
- Prepare for mess!
And if all else fails, let them lick a pint!