Timehop: the daily struggle of the phone app that tries to kill you off by reminding you of either how gloriously pregnant you looked (Note: you looked so fresh because you could sit and watch box-sets all day on the weekend and sleep whenever you fancied, remember?) or it’s reminding you of how teeny tiny your little baby was a year ago and you end up having the daily conversations with your partner that go something along the lines of “can you even remember him being so small? He looks so different!”
Anyway, the dangers of Timehop aside, today it flashed up with some funny photos from Oscar’s first try of solid food – this February marks a year since our weaning journey began. I remember the excitement of that day and all the (hundreds) of photos I took, and how excited I was to see him putting a bit of chicken in his mouth, trying some egg for the first time or spitting some broccoli out onto his tray. When I took those photos I was probably rather naive and assumed it would be the fun journey I had read about and not the minefield of worry that it became!
Confession: I hated weaning. The early
days weeks months anyway. Looking back, realistically, a couple of months isn’t that long, but at the time it felt never ending.
I put off looking into anything weaning related until the last minute. Up until this point, Oscar had been exclusively breastfed and this was now an “easy option”, it worked for us and was hassle free. Anyway, it came to the time to bite the bullet and think about weaning and a friend told me about the theory behind Baby Led Weaning. I read all the wonderful stuff online about it, talked about it with Robin, bought the book on Amazon and started to get excited. I was hell bent (as I so often am with ideas) to follow it to the letter. This was going to be brilliant, a total breeze…
Reality was different. I stand by BLW completely, however, the reality of fitting food into an already busy schedule was a struggle and no matter how much I prepared for the gagging and equipped myself with knowledge & know-how to help in the event of him choking, I still found the whole process stressful. I’m fairly laid back in most aspects of my life, and that includes parenting, but weaning was my first big hurdle –
I hated him gagging
I hated putting him in a high chair if we were out and giving him food in case he choked and I didn’t know what to do. Or even just gagged and worried people. So I just didn’t.
I honestly didn’t know how to fit in three meals a day, and then people were telling me that he should be having snacks too! But where are the hours in the day when your kid is taking over an hour to play with a few pieces of veg to probably only ingest one leaf!
Then people tell you that their baby is eating 200ml of food 3 times a day and I’m sat over here saying “Oh that sounds good… Oscar’s eight months and ate a pea 3 days ago”
Family member: “I hope you know CPR, because you’re going to need it when he chokes to death” – need I say more?
In my heart I knew that he was just experimenting and exploring and that it was positive. But sometimes you can’t help but have a little panic regardless. It was around this time I met group of local mums, many of which had older babies and toddlers and they had all the reassurance I needed –
He’s just exploring.
Food before one is just for fun!
Just relax and allow the mess to happen.
Don’t get hung up on how much he eats.
It will fall into place…
And sure enough, it did. Probably at around 9 or 10 months we finally saw him eat full meals at the table with us, and eat when we were out and about, and that was when it became fun. The kind of fun it should have been at the start. He now enjoys a Nandos… what more could I really hope for?
So I suppose this post isn’t really advice. It’s just full of the stuff I needed to hear at a time when I was struggling. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s common sense, but sometimes you just need to hear it from other people that have also experienced it. If you’re the first-time parent that lived by this approach from day one and enjoyed it, I applaud you, and I hope I can be that parent if there’s ever a second time.
In a lot of ways, this post is coming at an important time for me as we are entering a new territory of “The Fussy Eater”, the baby that once ate pretty much anything put in front of him is now a toddler that throws meals cooked with love on the kitchen floor and has a passion for beige food. Maybe I needed a little reminder to relax, and remember that everything is a phase, and it will pass. I will relax and (hopefully) laugh at the raspberry overnight oats that are catapulted at my newly painted white walls because I want my kid to enjoy their food as much as I enjoy mine (and that’s a lot).