The first 18 months of my son’s life were, well a roller-coaster. Highs, lows and pretty much everything in between. But weaning? Weaning has been fun. It has, by far, been my favourite part of helping my baby turn into a little chap. There are loads of things I’ve learned along the way about what it means to nourish a child AND it isn’t always what you had planned in your pre-kids head…crikey there are so many things I wished I’d known. But then, on the other hand, I’ve learned so much from my experiences as a Mama, maybe I wouldn’t want to change any of it? I guess the first part, the bit I’m going to explain to you now, but the rest…wow. Just an amazing learning curve. Here are the things I wished I’d known…
For those who know me or have followed me for a while, you will all know Dexter’s rather dramatic entrance into the world and the subsequent problems I had with breastfeeding.
Because of the trauma of a difficult pregnancy, anesthetics and a c-section, my body went into panic mode and didn’t produce any milk.
At five days old my son had lost over 20% of his birth weight and was really quite poorly. He was rushed to A&E and fed through a tube in his nose to help him gain some of the weight he had lost. I was attached to a pump every two hours, trying to breastfeed in between and he was being topped up with formula. Although I gave it my best shot, after around six weeks I decided to bottle feed.
Now I can totally see this was the best thing for all of us. However, these early feeding problems haunted me for months and I felt like I’d let my child down. I now, with the perspective of sleep and a new self assurance I had lost, know that this wasn’t the case. But, it’s so hard to be rational when you are seriously #wingingit right?
So, when it was time to wean I was super excited. I love cooking and baking and I really felt it was my second chance to nourish my son with all the good stuff. And it really has been the most wonderful journey. There are things I wish I’d known or done earlier or differently. So, here they are!
Weaning will not make your kid sleep through the night
It’s a myth. Or at least it was in my house.
Nobody likes baby rice
Except the dog. The dog thinks it’s ace.
They really do tell you when they are ready
Dex was five and a half months. He was physically taking food from our plates and eating it. He told us he wanted to eat. The world health people do recommend six months. But you know your kid, right?
Give a fork
I don’t know why I didn’t give a fork sooner, but he actually finds a fork easier.
Learn the signs for ‘food’ and ‘more’
My niece is REALLY good at signing. My son only does a few, but these were a BIG help. It’s not about being crazy good at signing or anything like that…in fact it doesn’t really matter what the signs even are, really. Just a way of your child being able to tell you that they want to eat or they like it!
Keep it simple
It’s fine to keep it really simple. If you don’t eat beetroot…don’t suddenly start cooking with it. Offer your own family foods and build from there. I found porridge bites, veggies, toast and yoghurts or smoothies to be the best first foods. (Shout out to Suzanne at @nomnomkids here – amazing pouches for homemade smoothies and yoghurt).
It’s fine for it to not be homemade
Sometimes. I do think homemade is best but a cheeky Ella’s pouch never hurt anyone.
You are doing great
And you won’t tell yourself enough. Well done you.