Learn to relax and go with the flow
I am about to embark on the weaning process with baby number 3. Having weaned two children already, I have reflected back over what I would/wouldn’t do again. I took two very different approaches (the first purees and spoon-fed, the second was baby-led) but I will share with you one of the things biggest things my children have taught me: in the early stages it’s all about exploring and tasting and not about how much or how often they’re eating. Until the age of 1 your baby will still be getting most of their nutrients from milk.
First time around I was an anxious mother, never quite confident enough to trust my instincts. There was constant Google searching of “Should my baby be doing this..?”, “Why does it mean if…” and “Why won’t my baby…” I am 100% sure that my anxieties of how much my baby should be eating rubbed off on my daughter. I would sneak extra spoonfuls in because the health visitor told me she wasn’t following her centile line. Gradually it became less about exploring and more about trying to calculate how much she’d eaten and whether that was enough and with that the types of food she would eat grew smaller and smaller. It wasn’t fun anymore, for either of us. Unfortunately exploring food is still something Isla doesn’t enjoy. She’s taught me that meal times are supposed to be a fun, social time. She taught me to relax about food and to remove any pressure related to it.
Second time around, I’d heard of baby-led weaning, and the idea made a lot of sense to me. It was kind of the trendy thing to be doing. Well, I jumped on the bandwagon a far more confident mother. We had set meal times as a family so baby just joined in with us. I never cooked special food just for her. After batting about cooked carrot sticks and broccoli florets with her hands for a few weeks, I think one of the first foods she actually ate was lasagne! I wasn’t worried whether the food ended up on the floor or pasted through her hair because I was far more aware of the fact that in the beginning it doesn’t matter! Evelyn has taught me to trust my instincts and that food can be fun (even if it does goes everywhere). She taught me that exploring food goes far beyond eating it. It’s so rewarding to hear her say, “Can I try some, mummy?” Even if it’s a spicy curry I will always say yes (with a warning obviously)! Evelyn loves trying new foods and even creates some questionable combinations. Carrots dipped in milk anyone?