*Preface – I have had this post in draft format over the long weekend. I noticed this morning my good friend has posted about introducing food – I hope you don’t think I am poaching your ideas, great minds think alike!!! Mwah!! This is also another post about the BLW approach to introducing solids. The Internet is littered with them. This is not intended as information on BLW, I suggest here or here if you want that. This post is purely to share our journey so far because, quite frankly, I am a super proud mumma and very excited about it!!!
“Do NOTstart solids before 6 months” – the advice I give to any friend with a little bub. Not based on any strong belief other than that of mother sanity and how much easier life is when breastfeeding is the only feeding you are doing!!! Despite my well-meaning advice, I found myself steaming and mashing and spoon feeding L at 5 months on the dot. She had begun to feed 4-hourly round the clock again and I had some hope that it may help her sleep a longer stretch. A few days in, nothing had changed (and I wasn’t surprised) and I was sat in front of my bub wondering why I was going down this path again! So we stopped! The masher went away, the “weaning” spoons went away and I happily returned to being an exclusive breast feeder ….with a baby who woke 4-hourly!!!
When weaning C I had been keen to “get food into her” as she was very little and I hoped solids would help fatten her up. I never puréed but I did mash. She was eating family meals from around 9/10 months but it was always filled with nerves and fear that she would choke. As a generally lazy house-keeper, I never packed food to go out, she always ate off my plate but again this was filled with nerves! I didn’t follow the wait-3 day rule nor did I follow any charts about what she should or should not eat at a particular age. If it felt right, she ate it. I had read about baby led weaning but was skeptical and did, what I now reflect back on, as a tentative combination of mashes and finger food with an 70% focus on the mash!
The month between our false-solid-start and really commencing solids, I read up on BLW. Armed with bookmarked images and You Tube clips I discussed it with D and decided it was the way to go. The more I read, the more it made sense and seemed like a better fit for our family. Some reasons it seemed like a better fit:
*No special preparation on my behalf = save time, save stress
*Keeps my hands free to help either child as needed and to enjoy my food with the girls.
*L always feeling part of the family as she would join in family meals from Day 1, eat off our plates as she wanted and not having her own separate meal time to get spoon fed.
*Giving L choice over what and how much she ate seemed more aligned with how we parent and I hope this will lead to L making good food choices and having a healthy attitude towards food as she grows up. No self imposed rules about what she can and can’t have – just a balanced, moderated diet like the rest of the family enjoys.
From the moment L could sit in her little Bumbo seat, she joined us for meals. Both girls have always been around us whilst we prepare. C, hands right in there helping out, L happily sitting in her high chair observing and playing. L has been a long time fan of what I call ‘boobie-milk’ icy poles. And spent a lot of our meal times happily sucking away on a frozen cube of breastmilk.
At a picnic with friends 5 days before her half birthday, L leaned forward, helped herself to a strawberry off the fruit platter and began to gum it. It was a very clear ‘I’m ready mum’ and the most natural transition to solid food I could ask for!
Over the last 2 1/2 weeks I have been amazed watching L take to solid food as if she has always eaten it! I have seen her coordination quickly improve and she is constantly practicing chewing. She loves mealtimes, makes an enormous mess and gets incredibly cranky if you suggest meals are over before she’s good and ready! It’s been easy from my end too. I make sure that whatever veggies we are having for tea, a portion are cut into wedges or fingers and cooked a bit longer than ours, fruit we all eat off a platter at morning tea time.
In terms of how often she eats – basically whenever she is awake during our meal times. She is generally having 2 meals a day now. Sometimes she eats lots, other times she plays.Her favourites so far are zucchini (given to her skin on as a finger- she just sucks the ‘meat’ out), toast and watermelon.
I have found use for mashes and purees in amongst this – I spread puréed fruit onto French toast and moistened Weet-Bix and have also on occasion given her a bowl with mashed veggies if I have forgotten to do her some wedges and she has enjoyed shoveling them to her mouth …. And then washing her hair, face, between her toes with them!!! It’s been a lot of fun!!!
It’s been a psychological shift on my part to accept that until you find a soiled nappy, you really have little idea how much they are eating! I am being very brave and cheer little L as she works a piece of food forward in her mouth using her tongue if she is struggling with it! I asked D how he felt about this and he said “I love it. It just seems so natural” and that’s been the beauty of it. Our parenting has revolved around what feels natural and right for us. We don’t adhere to any strict lifestyle choices or align ourselves with any one parenting philosophy – if it feels right to us we go with it!! I’ll repeat the theme of this post over the next 6 months and fill you in on how we are going!
My one burning question is: When do you stop being amazed and stop taking photos everytime they eat?!! and my one big tip Get a dog! The mess is horrendous!!!.