Weaning can be a fun, exciting and messy time! It’s also a worrying time, will it mess up your baby’s milk routine? Will they always spit out what you’ve given them and pull disgusted faces? Aside from the usual concerns over your baby’s response to solid foods, there’s also the decision to made over how you wean- will you choose good old fashioned purees, or the more modern baby led weaning? Which, in my experience, comes with it’s own worries- I have never in my life moved as fast as I did the fast time I thought my baby was choking (he wasn’t, he was gagging, which I’ve come to learn is very normal and very different- more on that later.)
When it comes to our imminent second baby, I feel far better equipped, through trial and error with our first, to embark on the weaning journey when the time is right! (Everything is less scary the second time around, trust me.)
Here are some nuggets of wisdom I have picked up along the way;
- The official guidelines now recommend you wean your baby at no earlier than six months old. If you decide your baby is ready before then, that is entirely your call, however don’t let anyone push you into doing so until you feel the time is right! It is not a race, your baby has the rest of their life to eat food!
- Perservere, perservere, perservere. I can’t count the amount of time I spent making purees in bulk, only to find my baby spat them out or wouldn’t even entertain them. I had an overwhelming urge to throw the whole lot in the bin and try something different. Instead I froze them in individual pots and tried again another day. A few weeks after spitting a broccoli puree out in disgust, Charlie was eating it like it was going out of fashion. Remember it’s a brand new experience and flavour and your baby will take some time to adjust!
- Buy full body bibs! Ok maybe not full body but long sleeved, plastic bibs are a lifesaver. I have thrown out so many stained milk bibs, they just don’t wash up well and don’t cover anywhere near as much surface area as baby weaning requires!
- If your baby starts retching and pulling awful faces, they are not choking. They are doing exactly that, retching, or gagging. This is completely normal and to be expected. Imagine if you’d never swallowed anything other than liquid before- anything else must be a very strange experience to begin with! If your baby is choking, they won’t cough and splutter, because their airway will be blocked and therefore they will be unable to do either of these things. As awful as it is to think about, I would highly recommend taking a baby first aid course so you are at least prepared for choking. You will never regret the time spent learning how to save your baby’s life.
- Be prepared for some next level nappies! Formula or breastmilk poos are a walk in the park compared to solid food poos! Anything goes during this stage, there is no right colour or smell so don’t worry if it’s not what you’re expecting. Your baby’s body will adjust in time. If you find your baby is becoming constipated due to the change in diet, try a teaspoonful of pureed prunes once or twice a day to help keep things moving. Tread carefully though, one of our all time stand out nappy disasters involved too much pureed prune, a day out and a car seat I almost threw in the bin.
Above all else, have fun! Sing songs, pretend the spoon is an aeroplane or a train, play games (one for baby, one for mummy etc). It is supposed to be an enjoyable experience and it is important to build positive connections between your baby and his food.