So…weaning. I say with a huge sigh. Is it just me or is the whole process overwhelming and confusing? If I said the word confused to my pre-baby self, I probably would have wondered what the fuss was all about – you just feed your baby actual food, right? No, not right. I’ve had information overload and just got myself into a bit of a pickle about it all with thousands of questions going around in my head…
- When do I feed Jack?
- Does he have his milk too?
- What do I feed Jack?
- What if he chokes?
- How do I take the food out of the house?
- How much do I feed Jack?
- What texture should the food be?
- When do I give Jack finger foods? And if I don’t, will that be an issue?
Oh the list is endless…
So I took my pickled self and decided to try what I heard everyone suggesting first – baby rice and porridge. I found it a real struggle to try and fit in just one meal a day. By the time I remembered to try the food it would soon be nap time, a nappy change, time to go out….or it was even coming up to bedtime. Corr blimey it made feeding Jack milk from a bottle seem like a breeze.
Is it me or does it feel like as soon as you’ve cracked the milk feeding bit, and looking after your baby gets that little bit ‘easier’, it’s time to move onto the next stage? How did weaning come around so quickly?
Anyway our weaning diaries went on like this for quite a few weeks and I’d throw the odd carrot or pear puree in there that I somehow had managed to find the time to make myself. Try and use a blender to make purees when your baby is scared of every loud noise and wakes up easily. It’s near impossible. Little Jack really is #scaredoflife bless him. He hates hand dryers, hairdryers, ambulances, electric toothbrushes, dog barks…he’s even scared of a frog I bought him for the bath as he doesn’t like the ‘ribbit’ sound. Unfortunately, I think he got all of this from me. I can’t even walk through the spooky bit at Madam Tussaud’s without crying (can’t believe I just admitted that)!
Ok, back to feeding…
One night I realised Jack was approaching the six month mark and I felt I needed to pull myself together, work weaning out and really put my mind to it. Whilst in this frame of mind I stumbled across Cow & Gate’s 5 step weaning plan. This was exactly what I needed to read to make everything click into place. Five easy steps. Realising we had cracked step one of trying news foods (phew), step two was to start establishing a breakfast time. The next day I got up with one mission – set a breakfast time. An hour and a bit after Jack’s first milk feed, I gave him some porridge. Bingo. He ate it. I continued this for a few days and it all started to seem a bit more do-able to commit to lunch and dinner. I say dinner – it’s laughable but Jack goes to bed at 5.30pm, so ‘dinner time’ tends to be at 4.30pm!
With time to myself being so rare, making enough purees got harder and harder. I then discovered Ella’s pouches. My pre-baby self was completely up for being mother earth and making all of Jack’s food, but these pouches truly are a godsend! All natural ingredients and nothing else. If you buy ‘sweet potato’ it literally is just sweet potato in the pouch. If you buy ‘apple’ it literally is just apple in the pouch. You get the idea. Sometimes the ingredients sound so natural I think they must be hiding something…
We’ve recently been trying Ella’s:
- Sweet potato
- Sweet potato, broccoli and carrots
- Lentils, pepper and tomatoes
- Mangoes, pears and papayas
Jack loves every single one of them. The pouches have allowed me to get used to feeding Jack hassle-free without the stress of keeping up with making purees, while growing our confidence with different foods at the same time. Now we’ve managed to crack three meals on the odd day, I’ve got some head space back to actually think about making my own food for Jack. So much so I ‘treated myself’ to a Tommee Tippee puree blender at the weekend. It’s funny as soon as you have a baby ‘treating yourself’ is normally something to do with them – like a blender, or clothes (for Jack, not me), or a new toy (again, for Jack not me!). It turned into a ‘treat’ week as I also bought myself Annabel Karmel’s Weaning book packed full of simple recipes. Even for a very poor cook like me, the recipes look do-able. I’ll let you know how I get on.
After a few weeks of fitting in a few more meals that just one, I’m now at the stage where I’m trying to work out how I take Jack’s food out with me and how I feed it to him. We were out and about yesterday and even though I managed to take an Ella’s pouch, spoon, bib and cup of water with me, I didn’t manage to find somewhere to feed Jack. What did I do? I skipped a meal and gave him milk instead. Eek. If anyone reading this has any tips, please let me know. It’s baffling me big time at the moment.
So as you can see I’m no weaning expert, but for any mums who are feeling as baffled as me, I do have some tips to make things fall into place a little easier:
- Start by trying your baby once a day on porridge, baby rice, pureed carrot, apple or pear.
- Make things easy for yourself – don’t feel bad if you use the odd pouch here or there while you get used to the process. There’s always time down the line to make your own food.
- Once you’ve tried a few foods and want to get ‘serious’ about the whole thing, start introducing a breakfast time. I found it was after this that lunch and dinner started to fit into place
- Don’t run before your baby can walk – I bought Jack some Organix rice cakes to use as finger foods. As soon as he started putting them in his mouth I felt pure panic at the thought of him choking. Annabel Karmel’s book says to start on smooth purees first. The next step is to mix a few ‘lumps’ into the puree, like a mashed banana into the porridge, to get your baby used to chewing food in their mouth. After this you can introduce finger foods. To me this makes perfect sense, so the rice cakes have gone back in the cupboard for now. I will say though that you can use soft finger foods from day one – I’m just a worry wart mum who’s just too scared to take this step yet. #scaredoflife spring to mind?
- Get some baby wipes – I hate mess with a passion. I realise I’m going to have to get over this and embrace Jack exploring with his food. Just saying that makes me twitchy.
- And finally…buy a lunch box!
I’ll keep you updated on our weaning diaries. Hopefully next time I put pen to paper we would have cracked three meals a day and feeding Jack real food when out and about will be more achievable. The next thing on my mind is how the hell do I then start to reduce Jack’s milk? I find now he’s eating every two hours he’s hungrier than ever before…oh help me…
Love me x
P.S My final plea for votes for the UK Blog Award, I promise! The voting period closes on 3 December, so if you haven’t yet, it would be amazing if you could please vote for me. Simply click here – it’s easy to do, I promise.