Sid’s cracking on for six months old now, and we’ve already started the weaning journey. This is week three, in fact. I’ve been a little bit naughty, because the current guideline is to offer only milk until six months.
I’m unashamed to say that I was excited about weaning- it sounded like great fun, and so tentatively, from just over five months, I decided to start offering tastes of things I was eating. Nothing major- just a lick of a finger with some mushed up banana on it, that sort of thing. Even though he was showing all the other signs of being ready to wean (able to sit up without slumping and hold his head up, great coordination and he’d more than doubled his birth weight) Sid remained resolutely unbothered about actually the actual eating thing for a good couple of weeks and was much more interested with playing with toys and mastering rolling over.
I’m a big believer that while guidelines are generally there for a reason, there are always exceptions and when, at 22 weeks he made a grab for my quesedilla, and stuffed it straight in his mouth, I reasoned that he was probably ready.
I was really keen to go down the baby-led weaning route, as I was really into the idea of letting Sid explore and eat what he wanted, as well as being really quite lazy: I didn’t really want to rely on jars or pouches of baby food, mainly because they are always such mad combinations of food that they don’t really taste of anything in particular- I gave Sid some butternut squash, sweetcorn and pear stuff the other day that just tasted of nothing, and I just plain can’t be bothered getting the blender out because is a pain in the arse to clean.
Because we’d started earlier than six months, however, we decided to start off with purees and spoon feeding, so Sid’s first few meals were baby porridge or half a pouch of a single fruit or veg puree- pear, apple and butternut squash were particularly successful. After a few days of that I got the confidence to give him some other bits, so he had sticks of courgette, that I microwaved for about 30 seconds so they went soft, and boiled butternut squash as I was cooking some for us for dinner, which he coped with admirably. Not much eating- just a bit of nomming at the sticks, followed by throwing things on the floor.
My mum was, and still is reasonably against baby-led weaning. I think she’s just really scared of him choking (hope it’s that, rather than her thinking that I’m a bad parent or anything),. And the choking thing is pretty petrifying, to be honest- its like you’re trying to make a situation more dagerous on purpose. Sid has ridiculously good hand eye coordination, so I think normally babies would spend a good few days or weeks getting to grips with actually picking anything up and getting it to their mouths under their own steam, but he’s managing to ram in whole stalks of broccoli unaided from day one. Because of that, he gets a bit overexcited and has been gagging A LOT. I know it’s a defence mechanism to stop food from going down the wrong way and actually to prevent choking, but it’s really scary to watch and he’s thrown up at least four times- a proper fountain-like ejection.
We’re on week three now and I think that he’s kind of getting it. There’s still gagging, and he still seems to be ramming loads into his mouth, but I’m much more confident that he’s able to deal with it- be it a bit of cough to ease something up or down, or just letting something that’s too big dribble out again, he’s doing really well (even though I’m still sitting on my hands at every single meal!)
I can’t say that we’re doing baby led weaning at the moment, because the purists would tell me off- You can only call it baby led weaning if you are not getting involved at all, and quite frankly, I don’t think I could be bothered with loading up spoonfuls of porridge, handing it to Sid, and having him smear it all over his face, and I think he’d get the hump because he can’t do it proficiently yet. He’s good, but he’s not superman!
So what is he eating? Well here’s a sample menu from today…
05:30- Wake up for 4oz of formula, back to sleep for an hour before coming into bed for a play
07:30- Sid cries, so Gem makes up 4oz bottle and we have breakfast in bed. Sid gets bored after 2oz and tries to grab at my toast.
08:30- Downstairs to the highchair for an official breakfast of peach slices and yoghurt. Peach slices administered by Sid, yoghurt lovingly spoon fed by mummy. Sid makes appreciative grunting noises while eating yoghurt. Side note- I invested in a crinkle cutter, which is good for cutting up slippery things like peach slices to make them a bit more grippable. Sid also has what I have termed woofy water (drunk from a beaker with a dogs head on- brilliant. It’s from Ikea)- he can pick up the cup and get the spout into his mouth, but hasn’t mastered tipping his head back enough to get water out, so I lend a hand here too.
09:00- Breakfast done, we retire to the sofa to finish off the last of the milk and watch a bit of Cbeebies. This is followed by an epic three hour nap, which is virtually unheard of, but I digress
12:00- Wakey wakey- I make up 7oz of formula and he downs 5oz of it in one go- again, pretty much unheard of- it usually takes him about 2 hours to drink that much… a very unusual day. Once he finished with the bottle, I tipped the rest into the woofy cup and we practiced drinking it from there while we mucked about on the floor
16:00- Dinner- Today was our first go at bread. After debating the options for about 10 minutes in tescos, agonising over salt content of the various brands, I got some Warburtons danish bread- It’s 0.25g of salt per slice which I figured would be ok given that he doesn’t really have anything else with salt in at all. So today’s dinner was a slice of toast with a tiny bit of cream cheese, cucumber fingers and strawberry slices. All in all it was pretty well decimated and after he’d done what he could with all of that, he burst into tears and would only be consoled with half a pouch of pear puree. Piggy
That’s a pretty typical day- with the exception of the toast, which was an exciting new addition, our days usually consist of two meals of mostly fruit and veg, with a handful of bottles interspersed between. I have to be quite careful with the bottles because he’s not a massive fan of formula and never has been, and seems to be enjoying actual food a lot more, but he’s so young still,that he needs to get most of his calories from milk, so it’s a bit of a juggling act, but seems to be working so far.
My next big challenge will be to try and get through a week of holiday without my mum freaking out that I’m trying to choke my wee man- wish me luck!!