Weaning. That time I dreamed about after months and months of exclusive breastfeeding, with a little one that would not take a bottle. I was excited about weaning it would give my husband a chance to feed her, and hopefully respite for me from breastfeeding. We started weaning just over 2 months ago when our little was 5 and half months, as she started showing the classic first signs that she was ready:
- Hands in mouth
- Toys in mouth
- Grabbing food of my plate
- Really interested in what we were eating
Her first tastes of food were pureed carrot, pureed pear and pureed apple. Obviously the sweet fruit went down much better than the carrot.
I decided to go with a combination of traditional weaning (spoon-feeding) and baby-led weaning, spoon-feeding so I was sure that she getting food in, and baby-led so that she would learn all about different food textures and learn how to feed herself. For the first few weeks I focused solely on spoon-feeding, by trying to introduce a variety of different flavours and then once she was 6 months old I started to introduce finger food at meal times too. At about a month in I found that milk feeds started to drop. Our eating plan for the day looks a little like this:
- Breakfast – We offer her Weetabix or Porridge, usually with toast as a finger food.
- Snack – Either this is a muffin or rice cake. She loves the Organix Carrot Sticks (I’ve not seen a baby who doesn’t).
- Lunch – Often this is pureed vegetables, with breadsticks, pitta bread, falafel as finger food.
- Snack – This could be cheese on toast, or another topping.
- Dinner – I try to feed her with what we are eating for dinner. She loves a lot of tomato based foods – chilli, spag bol, and pasta. I have found that she loves the Sainsburys Alphabet pasta.
- A little bit of porridge before bed, this is my ploy to get her to sleep longer.
I offer water throughout the day, with all meals and snacks. I have a Tommee Tippee straw cup and find that she drinks about 5oz, I don’t think that this is enough so I’m trying to up her water intake.
I initially thought that we would go down the baby-led weaning route, and purchased the Baby-Led Weaning book by Gill Rapley. This books contains loads of recipes that are suitable for the whole family to enjoy, and are delicious too even without salt and sugar. Even though we are going with a more traditional approach the book is brilliant at providing recipe ideas, and food to feed your baby.
I find that a lot of my time especially at the weekend goes into thinking about food for our little one, and preparing food. I purchased the larger food trays, tuppaware and freezer bags, and dedicated a whole draw in our freezer to food for our little one. Where possible I try to portion out part of our meal and make smaller meals for her, or I will batch cook at the weekend and freeze a lot of mini portions.
My weaning learnings:
- Take your baby’s lead sometimes they are hungry and sometimes not, she may want a full Weetabix one day and then none the next. I’m trying not to have too many expectations on how much she will eat in one day. Like us sometimes we eat a lot and sometimes we eat a little. It can be disheartening when you’ve spent hours make her food for it to be thrown on the floor or refused.
- I offer water with all meals and snacks. Just like food, she will either take loads or very little.
- We have definitely cut down on breastfeeding from about 8/9 feeds in the daytime (not nighttime) to 3/4 feeds. I can see that these will only drop further as she learns that food relieves her hunger.
- If all food fails to go into the mouth, yogurt is a winner. I seem to get through a big tub every couple of days. The good thing about yogurt is you can hide fruit in it.
- Preparation is key, I often find that I don’t know what to feed my daughter or I’m feeding her the same thing over again and again, and not offering enough variety.
- Have plenty of space in your freezer for lots of small pots of tuppaware, and freezer bags of food. Make sure that these are labelled, as in the early days everything was blended and orange.
- Most importantly I have learnt to stick to what feels right, and not to put too much pressure on myself. She will learn to eat by herself, and will not be breastfeeding forever.
Weaning: Next steps
The next steps for me are to continue with our routine, and to eventually start phasing out breastfeeding. What is key for me is I need to offer her more variety of food including fish (which I don’t eat myself), and start to let her use a spoon. I also need to up her water intake too. I hope that by the age of 1 in August she is nearly fully weaned – things are definitely moving in the right direction currently.
I would love to hear about your weaning journey.
Hope you enjoyed reading.
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