Moms’ stories: Our journey through weaning
Watching him stuff his face at dinner today, I find it hard to believe it's over a year since I started my Little Man on solid food!
Our journey through weaning was a bit of a mixed approach. A month or two before we were due to start weaning, I had bought the baby-led weaning book by Gill Rapley to learn more about it. Reading it, I really liked the explanation that she provided about how starting proper foods or finger foods earlier at around six months can actually be beneficial. She explained that at that age, baby still has a strong gag reflex that helps teach him to control how much food is safe to put in his mouth while protecting him from choking.
At the time though, while I believed what I read in the book about the benefits of baby-led weaning, I had a bigger issue – my Little Man was waking up to three or four times at night, and people kept telling me that I needed to get solid food into him to help him sleep. One of the things that was clear about baby-led weaning was that it wouldn’t be a quick approach. It would take time to build up to baby feeding himself a decent meal, but I didn’t have that patience. I was so worn out from lack of sleep that I needed the hope that spoonfeeding him would help fill him up. I’m sorry to report that it didn’t work! It took another two months before he finally started to sleep for longer and longer stretches.
In the end I took a half-and-half approach to baby-lead weaning. Besides my primary need for sleep, the second reason I went with some spoonfeeds was because I knew that eventually Little Man would be starting in a crèche, where he would be spoonfed. I didn’t want him to run into problems then if he wasn’t used to taking food from a spoon.
So I did some baby-led weaning at breakfast (in the form of toast fingers and fruit pieces), together with spoonfed yogurt or puréed fruit, or cereal. Then his main meal was a spoonfed meal at lunchtime. Usually at this time, I gave him mashed or puréed potato, veg, and after a while chicken, meat or fish.
Then for his tea, I went with a baby-led weaning approach. When we were getting started with this meal, I put a selection of fruits and vegetables, all steamed and cut into long sticks, in front of him. Later I added well cooked meat or fish to this selection. For the first couple of weeks, we didn’t get very far! He mainly just played with the pieces of food. But after a while, more and more pieces started to make their way into his mouth. Without a doubt, this was our favourite meal of the day. It was stressfree for me, and it was great fun for my little man.
Do you have any tips for weaning? Share your comments below!