Thursday, 28 November 2013

Guest post- Weaning

Hello! My name is Alex.  I usually blog as Medicated Follower of Fashion.  My blog is a parenting and style blog with a big dash of family life thrown in!  The lovely Emma is letting me take a little of your time today!

When I weaned my first son, Ethan, I just went straight for the baby rice.  I didn't have any friends who had older children, only friends with babies who were exactly the same age, and we were all told the same thing by our Health Visitors.  Start plain and start with purée.  So, that's what we all did!!  Ethan didn't take to solids for a long time.  In fact, after a dreadful stressful 5 days filled with screaming and tears from both of us and me feeling like some sort of force feeding food Nazi, we postponed weaning again for a few weeks.  Even when we started again when he was somewhere between 6-7 months old it still took a long time for him to get into food and for a long time I felt like I was force feeding him.  It was horrible.  

A couple of years later I made a friend who's son was a younger than Ethan and she told me all about Baby Led Weaning.  I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it before.  It all seemed so logical.  The idea is simple really.  Wait until baby is 6 months old.  At that point they can pretty much eat anything.  You have to be a bit careful if you have a history of allergies in the family, as we do, so things with nuts in aren't allowed for quite a while (whole nuts should never be given to baby's anyway).  I don't believe whole nuts should be given until children are very confident eaters, some say not even until 7 years of age.  Until they are over 12 months old, the following should be avoided:

Shark, swordfish or marlin (high mercury content)
Goats & Sheeps milk
Mould ripened soft cheese

It's a bit like when you're pregnant really!!  It's also a good idea to be cautious with apple - it's a really common thing to choke on.  I'm offering it stewed at the moment.  Another good idea is to be aware of what to do in a real choking situation.  There are courses you can take (speak to your Health Visitor - they often offer them).  Don't forget that they will gag on things but babies have a fantastic gag reflex, which, whilst a little gross, is very effective!

So - I had heard about Baby Led Weaning and I stored the idea away at the back of my brain, ready to pull out if and when we had another child...  Of course, Felix came along and suddenly, here we are.  The little monkey is already 6 months old!

I had a feeling Felix was ready for solids for a while.  He had been staring at us when we were eating for a few weeks and trying to grab things from our hands.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago he had successfully relieved Pete of some bread and sucked on it!!  I decided to just go for it a few days shy of his 6 month "birthday" (yesterday) and so we started!

His first "meal" was a banana and some toast.  He really loved the toast.  Gave it a real good suck!  He had some difficulty holding the banana, it kept slipping from his grasp which was annoying him.  I ended up mashing it up and offering him some on a spoon which worked better.  He held the spoon and popped it in his mouth himself.  Hardcore Baby Led Weaners believe that spoons should not be used at all, but I'm of the "whatever works for you" school of thinking.  If he really wants the food and is getting cross because he can't get it in, I'm going to do something that helps him!  If that means handing him a spoon, so be it.  I have even fed him from the spoon a few times myself.  I hold it in front of his mouth until he opens it and gently pop it in.  At this point he often steals the spoon anyway.  For this reason, I usually have two or three spoons on the go.  It's like a rotation system!!

We are 5 days in now, and in all honestly, apart from banana,pineapple and some toast, I think most food has been sucked and dropped back out.  I don't think that is at all unusual at this stage though.  It is hard in a way because I do want him to actually get some into his tummy, but I have to let him do it on his schedule.  It is his body after all!  I'm very impressed by how much he has "tried" at this stage, even if he hasn't swallowed it.  So far, he has tried:

Rice cakes
Stewed apple
Marmite sandwich

I think that's pretty impressive!! Five days in with Ethan, everyone was tearing their hair out and he'd just slobbered at some baby rice!

Obviously. we're at the very beginning of Felix's journey with solids and I'm sure that some issues will arise in the future, but for now, I'm happy with him tasting new foods, improving his pincer grip, sitting more confidently and exploring.  I may well help him by offering spoons, and even on some occasions, feed him myself, but I will never force feed him and if he shows signs of wanting to stop, we will stop.  The difference for me this time is that it is on his terms.  Something I know from experience is that solids does not signal the end of night feeds.  It didn't with Ethan and it doesn't seem to be with Felix either.  That seems to be unrelated!

What approach do you follow to weaning?  I love hearing what others do!

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Style & Parent blogger
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  1. Thank you for letting me write on your blog honey :-) xx

  2. We're currently doing a combination of both spoon feeding and baby led. I wish I had just done strictly baby led but I wanted to up her food intake in the hopes of sleeping better, though it turns out the bad sleep was 2nd tooth related. argh!

    1. Yes, I think that really, sleep and food intake aren't really related!! Tooth pain is the cause of a lot of night waking...