A wee bit of weaning

By A Wee Bit of Cake - February 13, 2017

Weaning, it’s something I never expected to feel emotional about.

When I was pregnant with Ethan I was adamant that I would breastfeed and that the only type of weaning we would do would be baby led weaning (BLW). Older members of the family were baffled that I wanted to wait until the NHS guidelines of 6 months to wean as we were all introduced to solids at 3 months old but I knew he was plenty satisfied by my milk so I followed my gut and waited until he started to show an interest in food.

Around 5 months Mr T offered him a piece of cucumber to help with teething and I remember watching them and feeling very tearful. Up until that point my milk alone had nourished and fed Ethan from the day he had been born yet suddenly we were giving him real food.

During the weeks between 5 and 6 months we started offering Ethan bits of food to play with and explore. We weren’t too bothered if he didn’t eat anything, it was more about him getting used to meal times and what food was all about.

Once he turned 6 months we started actively weaning and it’s been an interesting experience to say the least. At the start I was adamant we would only do BLW. I never offered purees and only gave preloaded spoons. Initially Ethan took to it really well and everything I offered he put in his mouth but this stage was short lived. He then started ignoring what was on his high chair or chucked it on the floor, it was so disheartening.

It was also hard to judge when to offer food. I was advised to offer it about 1 hour after milk but not when they are hungry or tired which often proved difficult to time just right.

After a while I decided to start trying some purees just to see how we got on and Ethan took to it really well. Initially he was wary and wanted to feel the food before he ate it but it finally felt like we were getting somewhere with meal times.

To begin with I didn't want to give him pouches or pre-made baby food as I always cook from scratch and felt guilty that I was cheating somehow but I soon realised that they aren't a bad thing. Pouches turned out to be so handy if we ended up being out at a meal time or if we got home late and there wasn't time to cook. I guess it's a difference between using them every now and again compared to using them for every meal. Ethan loved them too so if he was having a day where he didn't want solids it was useful to be able to top him up with a pouch.

Some days he clamped his mouth shut and wouldn't let me near him with a spoon while other days he lapped it up. Even though the BLW mafia (they are on Facebook and are so strict!) said you couldn't do mixed weaning, we found it worked really well for us. A typical day went like this:

7am: milk
8am: weetabix with toast/crumpet/fruit loaf
9/10am: milk
12pm: sandwich thin with cream cheese, cucumber fingers, tomato wedges and yoghurt
1230/1pm: milk
3pm: milk
4pm: snack (ricecake/fruit)
5pm: whatever we had for dinner or a pouch with fruit for pudding
630pm: milk

As we progressed with weaning Ethan proceeded to drop his milk feeds and is now on 3 full meals a day plus snacks with a milk feed first thing when he wakens and just before bed. At one point it felt like a never ending cycle of milk and solid meals but slowly it all clicked with him and now he's a bin that I sometimes feel like I can't fill.

One thing I found with weaning was that I had to be organised. I always cook from scratch so meals at home were fine but if we were out I needed food to give Ethan and didn't want to solely rely on pouches (those things can be expensive!). I then discovered Pinwheels and oh my they are so so easy to make. 

All you need is a roll of ready rolled puff pastry and a filling of your choice. Roll, fill, slice, brush with egg and pop in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes. They are great to take out with you and freeze well too. Perfect for little hands to hold and minimal fuss! These ones I filled with tomato puree and grated cheese and Ethan loved them. I actually haven't made any in ages so I definitely need to make some more to keep in the freezer. I'll pop a proper recipe and photos in another post soon but they are are so easy to make.

Weaning... it's be interesting. Disheartening when you see food chucked or ignored yet exciting too when you see your little person tucking into a meal with gusto or their reaction to trying something for the first time.

We have now discovered Ethan loves Yorkshire Puddings, Roast Potatoes, Carrots, Oranges, Yoghurt, Sausages and Black Pudding. He flaps his arms in excitement when he sees any of them coming his way. At one point I thought we would never get there and he would be stuck on the boob juice for life but honestly it does get easier. One day it all clicked and now my little man loves his grub.

Now the next task is to wean him off the boob completely! Any tips would be gratefully received.

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