My weaning philosophy is simple…give your baby healthy food whatever way works best for you…and don’t be a bitch about it.
Unfortunately it’s not that simple for some other mums, who use it as another excuse to put other people down.
I thought once we got to 6 months the breast/formula divide would dissolve away and mums would be sitting at groups swapping positive recipes and food ideas. I was wrong.
Instead when I go to baby groups and classes there’s always plenty of mums who bring up weaning, but it’s just so they can show off the quantities or adult nature of their baby’s diet. I end up avoiding those conversations.
Online is even worse. Last night I came across a braggy post on the BabyCentre forums where someone was asking what other babies were having for their tea, so she could show hers was eating the same as her older sister. The responses were unintentionally hilarious examples of one-upmanship. These are genuine responses (I’ve just changed the names):
Meadow will be having some of what we’re having which is venison steak, sweet potato chips, green beans and babu corn.
Yes I’ll admit I’d never heard of babu!
Grayson enjoyed Katsu curry with nan bread.
I found it genuinely interesting looking at the variety, but I felt sorry for someone posting that she was still giving her 7mo “baby food”, and she feels bad about it. I wanted to give her a hug, and say you are feeding your baby, you are doing great
It’s a bit of a broad generalisation but I do find the most passionate proponents of baby led weaning are also the most judgemental. I saw one say she couldn’t understand how anyone doing traditional weaning could “force feed” their baby.
I really like the principles behind baby led weaning, and it makes sense for baby’s to control their portion sizes, but I looked into it and decided it wasn’t for me. I eat dinner with my husband when he gets home from work which is too close to baby bedtime, so it doesn’t make sense for us to eat all meals together yet. I am also due back in work at 8 months, and I won’t be able to express as much milk as she currently gets directly from me, so I need her to be eating some quantities of food in the crèche, and traditional weaning seems to get to that stage quicker.
Therefore, I decided to do a blended approach. I started spoon feeding purees at 6 months. I started with single flavour vegetables, and then starting mixing, before moving to blended leftovers from our dinners or purpose made baby foods. Gradually over time the quantities and thickness and texture have increased.
If you could see my baby eating and smiling and giggling at the same time, it would be very clear there’s no force feeding involved. She grabs the spoon to bring it to her mouth quicker and sucks it clean. If she’s had enough she grabs the spoon and waves it away, so she is leading me.
I’m a big fan of cooking her food myself, as it’s cheaper and easier to alter the quantities and textures as I go along. I also happen to love cooking so it’s not a chore for me.
I’m also not averse to using baby ready meals, especially when out and about. The quality has greatly improved in recent years, and you can get some great flavours. The only disadvantage I can see of using ready made foods is they have a lovely uniform texture, which is great for first tastes, but they are so easy for baby’s to eat it can be hard to get them to progress to more lumpy foods, if you use them exclusively.
At 7 months I also started introducing finger foods. She loves to play with them, and at first nothing was actually eaten, but now she is chewing and eating pieces, although more still ends up on the floor.
At the beginning I was also adamant she wouldn’t have any processed sugar treats, but when granny really wanted to give her a biscuit I gave in, and they both enjoyed it, so I don’t regret it.
I’m really pleased with our weaning progress, and happy with where we are on the journey. It wasn’t always easy though. She was a bit indifferent at the start and slow to get started. It would have been lovely to chat to other mums about it. The one time I brought it up with a nice mum at a baby group I was just told what a wonderful eater her son was, so now I just keep it to myself and close friends and family.
They say you should find your tribe, so if you have a similar philosophy to me and would like to swap recipes and tips please get in touch. I promise I won’t judge!
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