I feel like the topic of weaning could go on forever! Just because every baby is so different and will take or not take to various foods at their own pace! I get a lot of questions about Maddie's weaning journey so far and how I started so I thought I'd share it all for you!! Hopefully this helps any mums that are about to start weaning or are already weaning their baby but are stuck for ideas etc. It's funny because despite doing a weaning course and a weaning workshop.. I still felt a bit stuck on where to start with Maddie. So using the information I gained, I just went with my gut, played it by ear and went with the flow following Maddie's cues!
(Also along with this blog post will be a video on my YouTube channel, with a food diary video of "What my baby eats in a day", so keep your eyes peeled for that!!)
So rewinding all the way back to December... Maddie was 5 and 1/2 months old and majorly teething! So I actually started giving her some cold cucumber sticks to munch on to help sooth her gums. Although she never properly "ate" it, she just sucked the water out of the pieces and chewed on it a lot, but I guess you could say this was her first proper "food". She LOVED them! It also meant when we went out to dinner she could sit with her cucumber sticks and feel like she was joining in with us!
A few days after that we tried some baby rice at breakfast. Bland, boring, not very nutritious, I know... BUT I made it with her formula thinking if it was a familiar taste so she wouldn't immediately reject it, also I just wanted to see how she'd cope with a texture. She gobbled it all down in the blink of an eye! Right then, time for something a little more fun...
For the first 2 weeks of feeding, we just tried some food at breakfast time, thinking it's nice to start the habit of having breakfast (and being the most important meal of the day to fuel you!) I didn't always stick to your typical breakfast food though.. I just wanted to start seeing how she would react to different tastes to give us some options and variety. These ranged from mushed banana with cinnamon, mashed sweet potato with a dash of cream cheese, peas, apples, butternut squash and broccoli. The only thing she rejected (and still does to this day), is avocado which is annoying because it's so good for you nutritionally haha!! I'm sure we'll find a way to disguise it... once we'd established a few thing's one their own, I then started mixing up food combinations straight away and adding spices or herbs to get her used to interesting tastes and not just bland pureeed food.
I also decided to dive straight in with some BLW (Baby Lead Weaning) along with her pureed food. Maddison has always been a very independent baby, she's always wanted to sit up and take charge from an early age (god help me...), so I knew she'd thrive on BLW. And I was right.
Along with her cucumber sticks, I actually gave her sticks of cheese straight away. Now I know a lot of people would panic at this because of chocking hazards, of course I sat with her just in case and pulled out the chunk if she'd bitten too much off. But it just really worked! I think again because of the teething, she liked having something hard she could chew on, and due to all the slobber the cheese did slowly mush up making it easy for her to try to chew and swallow it. She managed to grasp the chewing and swallowing concept fairly quickly, so I do feel lucky that this hasn't been much of a challenge for us.
It's difficult when it comes to chunks of food and letting baby gag a little so they can learn to to cope with coughing/chewing/swallowing vs actually chocking. I was surprisingly impressed at myself by not freaking out whenever Maddie coughed on food, waited to see if she could cope with it and if not, then intervene, rather than jumping down her throat the second she coughed. It's a fine line, and I think it's down to the parent and baby. All I'd say from my personal experience is don't be scared of harder foods when you feel your babies ready, they soon learn how to cope with biting, chewing and swallowing on their own. And you know the difference between a little gag or proper chocking!
Anyway, we next started to have 2 tastes a day.. I won't say meals yet, because it wasn't enough for meals, but she'd have a breakfast taste and then a dinner taste. This then did very quickly turn into proper meals and a midday snack as her lunch. By 7 months, (beginning of Feb) Maddie is now having 3 meals a week with her bottles in between.
I think she actually prefers food to her bottles now, with a bottle she gets bored after a while and will only drink for so long, then want to play a bit and come back to it. Whereas food she loves it! Each meal we start with a spoon fed dish, and then finish with a finger food. I've found having this 50/50 balance with each meal ensures Maddie is good with a spoon but also gets to enjoy her BLW independence. She also has her sippy cup of water with each meal, which now she will rarely let me hold and just loves to be in charge! She'll normally have her water the the end of the meal but sometimes might need some sips during just to help wash her food down.
As I said earlier, I feel our weaning journey so far has been fairly easy and straight forward because Maddie has taken SO well to any and every texture and taste we've given her, (except of course avocados haha!) But here below are some examples of all the finger foods we have tried so far...
When it comes to Maddie's meals, it's 50/50 whether I've made them or if its from a pre-made food pouch. I'm not opposed to food pouches, sometimes if you have a busy and hectic lifestyle they can be very convenient and handy! Although now Maddie is eating more they are starting to become less cost affective!
The thing I do ALWAYS look out with the food pouches is the sugar content. Sometimes if a pouch says it contains broccoli, carrots, kale and apple, you'd presume the percentage of each food went in that order... when actually a lot of the time its made up of 50% or more of apple and only 7% broccoli!! Which is SO much sugar for little one! So I always check the packages and make sure I go for the pouches with little to no fruit in them to ensure Maddie's getting all her nutrients from the veggies then having excessive amounts of fruit sugars. I much prefer giving her fruit as finger foods so I can control the amount. At the beginning I was a little too controlling with this and actually didn't give Maddie enough fruit so she got constipated from not enough fibre bless her!! Nothing a few apricots and prunes couldn't sort out though haha (poo-narmi!!!) But I think I've now got the balance perfect!
So that's all our weaning details so far!! I hope you find it useful and like I said make sure to check out my YouTube coming soon for a video to go long with this blog.
If you have any further questions please feel free to ask below or via any of my social media platforms! And of course would love to hear your weaning experiences so far! Lots of love, Beth x
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