Baby W turned 6 months a week ago, and although I was in no rush (and nor was he really) it was time to start weaning! I think my reluctance was that this signalled the end of an era… the end of a milk-only diet… our baby boy growing up!!
We wanted to give ‘baby-led weaning’ a try but would try purees etc if that didn’t work for any reason.
Preparation for weaning
So a few weeks ago I started sitting baby W in his ‘snug‘ chair on our dining table to sit with me while I ate my breakfast/lunch, to start getting him interested in food. This was a change to our routine as I’d always tended to grab my food when he was having a nap.
I bought a couple of books, a ‘doidy’ cup, a cutlery set and off we went! In good timing we were given some wipe-clean Christmas bibs as a gift!
Attempt #1 – carrot, avocado, sweet potato
2 weeks ago we had some spare time on a Saturday lunchtime so we decided to try him with some foods – we gave him carrot sticks, avocado strips and some sweet potato mash and put them on his snug tray. And we both just stared at him, willing him to eat the lot! He didn’t like any of it – pulled some faces, gagged and puked!
In hindsight, we made a few mistakes – we weren’t eating at the same time as him (one of the key points of ‘baby-led weaning’), we maybe gave him too much choice and maybe the flavours were a bit too much for him after nearly 6 months of milk!
Oh and we also ‘helped’ guide the food into his month so it wasn’t strictly baby-led! It was still a great experience – while he pulled some really funny faces, me and my other half couldn’t stop laughing! (Bad parents ;))
Attempt #2 – banana and baby rice
Exactly a week later, we placed some banana strips in front of him and prepared some baby rice for him. Baby rice seems to go against the baby-led weaning approach as it’s not something that adults eat, but we just wanted to try him with something plain/bland. We kept putting it on his spoon and watched him get the spoon to his mouth but never in quite the right position! He enjoyed sucking on the banana!
This time daddy was eating banana with him, and mummy was pottering about – so a bit less pressure for him than the first attempt!
Attempt #3 – mango and blueberries
A few days later I was having a healthy breakfast of ready-made pancakes with mango, blueberries and raspberries. I put some fruit on his tray, including squishing the blueberries… and he seemed to enjoy sucking/munching on the blueberries 🙂
Attempt #4 – banana, baby rice and houmous
Another lunchtime, another tray of bananas and baby rice. This time he was more adventurous in trying to eat the banana -twice he gagged up pieces of banana. Good progress but very scary for me watching him gag so much!
I was eating pitta bread and houmous for lunch so he also had a suck on that!
Attempt #5 – carrot and broccoli
Friday was time for (over) cooked carrot sticks and broccoli florets. I read on some baby-led weaning forums that gagging on banana is quite common as it’s so squelchy, whereas carrot and broccoli break up easier. He definitely enjoyed sucking and chewing on the broccoli. He gagged some broccoli up once, but it wasn’t quite as scary this time around!
He somehow ended up with carrot on his shoulder 🙂
Attempt #6 – more carrots and some trifle!
Yesterday I went for Sunday dinner with my parents, baby W was very excited when the food arrived! I gave him 2 of my baby carrots to munch on, and I’m pretty sure he swallowed them as there was only a tiny bit left when I cleared up afterwards – clever boy! My parents also couldn’t resist spoon-feeding him some cream and custard from their trifle. I don’t really want him to be spoon-fed or to eat too much sweet stuff so lucky he doesn’t see my parents too often otherwise I’ll be having words 🙂
The good bits
- Watching him play with, discover and explore food is great fun to watch, already I can see why people advocate baby-led weaning for this alone!
- Even though I said I was in no rush, it was encouraging to see him suck and chew on food after just a few attempts, and swallowing food on his 6th attempt seems pretty good to me!
The bad bits
The gagging – not nice to watch and a bit scary. I plan to watch some videos on it to make me feel less guilty! The baby-led weaning books I bought don’t seem to address how to deal with it or what to expect!
- I’ve just bought some all-over bibs. We still need to buy a highchair (after consulting with other mummy bloggers the faves are Ikea, Stokke, Chicco and Cosatto.) No rush, I think he’ll be fine in his snug for a while… I never leave him unattended in it!
- We have carpet in the dining room so I need to buy a plastic sheet or shower curtain to cover the floor!
- So we’ll carry on with our version of weaning – lunchtimes only to begin with and maybe some breakfasts. I’m going to make a conscious effort to eat healthier lunches so that we can try and eat the same food eg fish with veg.
- I will also keep offering him different flavours and textures… Cucumber is ready in the fridge for him and I think we might try mash this week too.
- Also need to start offering him water to drink with it… I imagine this will be fun and messy 🙂