The latest post in my Baby Led Weaning series is from Colette who can be found over at Going on an Adventure and on Twitter @Lollinski. Colette talks about her weaning experiences with her two children older children as she’s about to embark on weaning for a third time.
Weaning . . . aside from toilet training (which I’m currently going through for the second time) is my least favourite bit of parenting so far. It’s hard work, it’s messy and it’s wasteful. Weaning means being more organised, carrying even more stuff around with me and planning where I’m going to be at meal times. Boobs are just there and ready when you want them with minimal fuss!
Eeee I sound like a right misery don’t I?
When I was weaning my eldest I found it so stressful. I was so nervous about getting things wrong. I attended a class led by my Health Visitor, I read things online, I bought recipe books. I didn’t want to risk getting it wrong. I was worried about allergies, worried about making him a fussy eater, about over feeding him or under feeding him and I was terrified of him choking. I went down the traditional route of pureeing everything – it took forever and I have painful memories of pushing mash potato through a sieve – he didn’t even eat it. I introduced new things one day at a time in case of allergy, I followed the book to the letter introducing texture and so forth. Urgh I feel stressed out just thinking about it. What a blooming faff.
When we hit the weaning phase a second time round it was very different. I was more relaxed. I’d learned to trust that incredible gag reflex and the structured mealtimes didn’t seem such a stretch from the flexibility of breastfeeding as I was already feeding Ben. I bypassed baby rice and purees and went straight in with a mashed banana. Because I’d waited that little bit longer and Chloe was 6 months when we started I was able to give her just about anything and she was quickly eating mashed up fish fingers (with the crust removed) and basically whatever Ben was having for his lunch. We got rid of the highchair quite quickly too and just used a booster seat which meant Chlo was able to sit at the table and really able join in with mealtimes.
(Whilst I never called this approach “Baby Led Weaning” – in fact I actively avoided calling it that as I hated the idea of being sucked into this “trendy fad” but in all honesty I guess that’s what it was, I’m sure some purists would disagree but we just got on with it and it worked for us.)
When I compare the two experiences not only was Chloe’s weaning phase considerably more relaxed but in the long run I would say it was probably more effective as Chloe is certainly a less fussy eater than Ben – that’s not to say she hasn’t restricted her tastes somewhat as all toddlers do or that Ben hasn’t outgrown some of his fussiness and really how are we to know if this is down to them as children on the way they were weaned. At the end of the day they both eat a pretty balanced diet without too much fuss. And now we’re about to start weaning again for the third (and final!) time and there certainly won’t be any baby rice!!
Thanks Colette for this great post. I love hearing about other people’s weaning experiences and how they ended up doing baby led weaning – especially when they didn’t even know about it at the time!