We have started the weaning journey ! Oh my goodness, I was so nervous about this part! I know that probably sounds so silly to some people but, I was really intimidated with all the conflicting information. We had only just established breastfeeding, and people were suggesting starting solids already. I just didn't know where to start. Anyhow there really is so much information out there to the point where you can be left not knowing whats best to do at all (me). NHS health visitors ect will advise that a baby can get all there nourishment from milk up until the age of 6 months, and then weaning can commence from there. Grandparents , friends -friends , neighbour down the road will tell you that weaning should commence from 2 months, 3 months , 4 months and just about everything in between. So what is right? when is the right time to wean. I personally think when your baby is ready. I know I say it a lot but I have to remind myself constantly every baby is different. My baby isn't even like how I was as a baby, nor her dad or even her friend down the road, so we just have to work with Emelia what she needs and what works best for her. Does that mean we are wrong for starting her weaning at 4 months. No she was showing signs she was ready. I wasn't doing it to feed her up and make her sleep through the night or any other reason other than the fact she appeared ready. She was holding her head extremely well sitting unaided (all be it slightly wobbly when not secured in a chair) she would watch us eat and show an interest so this made me feel confident she would cope well. And she has. Its funny how you feel like you have to justify yourself to people of your own decisions on doing things. Im saying it now non of us mums are parenting wrong. Anyhow back to the weaning. Its going amazingly and far less scary than I ever imagined.
we started with baby rice as her first taste, mixed with her normal milk (breastmilk) and she loved it. After speaking to other mums I was hesitant that this may not be something that she enjoys, and that it could come straight back out. It kinda did at first, but it worked really from that first day and, I still incorporate it into some dishes for her. One thing I knew I wanted to do was gradually increase her foods until she was onto 3 meals a day, and not just go straight in with it all. This has worked really well for us and given Emelia, and me a bit of time getting used to it. Ive been following Annabel Karmel's book just for extra ideas and guidance. Its great as a go to book for when i'm unsure when I can introduce certain foods, and it has been a real help. We have started with vegetables and once I had tried her on a variation of different veggies we moved on to fruits. As I said before she's doing really well and theres few things she seems to dislike.
Currently at 5 months we are on 2 meals a day and then by the time we reach 6 months I will incorporate the 3rd meal into the day. At the moment she will have breakfast which consists of Either baby porridge (made with her milk) or a fruit puree. Sometimes I will mix in some fruit with the porridge just to vary it slightly, it just depends what I have prepped and ready for her! Dinner time is her second meal at 5pm. She will have a vegetable puree, so again I will vary it throughout the week. I do often offer a desert so this will be again a very small amount of fruit and if its quite a watery i'll add a bit of baby rice to turn it into a creamy fruity desert. I suppose once she's able to have dairy products we could offer her some yoghurt. With each meal we do offer Emelia a sippy cup so she can get used to having water with her meals, and using a cup. If any one has seen my instagram stories you will have seen little miss independent picking it up and drinking from it herself! So absolutely no problems there ! At 6 months once her lunch is incorporated during the day I'm going to give her very soft finger foods to try. Letting her touch and pick up food herself will be good fun i'm sure (and messy! must invest in some full body bibs !). I think at this stage aswell its so important to remember that it is just exploration and first tastes, not how much they are actually taking, or worrying about structuring into a proper feeding routine. I suppose it is just helpful for you as a parent in fitting in time for weaning.
I would also say prep is key too and helps with the variation at this early stage of weaning. I find it so much easier to batch cook Emelias "meals" pre blend them, freeze them in ice cube trays, and then label them into freezer bags. You can then just go to the freezer in the morning and transfer a couple of cubes into bowls ready for the day. I like being able to take a cube of a couple of different things out too, so although I am not directly mixing them she can have a meal which consists of different tastes. I really like the idea of her not having everything blended together so she can try individual tastes of different foods.
As I dont eat meat myself Ive had a few people ask wether I will give Emelia meat in her diet. The answer to that is yes. I cook meat for Reggie so thats not an issue for me, and its important for her to be able to make that decision herself when she's older how she wants to eat. Her diet will not consist of eating meat everyday though, and I will make sure she tries some lovely meat free dishes too!
One thing that has really taken me by surprise with weaning is the fact that she actually chews ! or at least does the motion. She has her two front bottom teeth cut so I doubt she is using them to do much chewing, but she certainly chomps down on the food with her gums. When I was back at home over christmas I cooked up some carrot. At home I usually use my nutribullet to blend her foods which completely smoothes it. The blender I used that day didn't completely purify the carrot, and although soft left it quite lumpy still, which made me really nervous to give it to her. but she coped so well with it. I took my time feeding it to her but she ate it like a pro! If i'm eating certain things like a banana now, I will just break off a tiny tiny amounts press between my fingers and she will eat it as it comes which is so good, and helpful for an out and about snack. When we are on the go is the only time I will actually use supermarket baby food. I tend to buy the Ellas kitchen fruit or vegetable pouches, but to be honest it is very rare that we use them.
I highly recommend a weaning book if you are feeling nervous about it just because it is impartial advice there at hand, with no other conflicting information. Even if its tweaked to suit your own needs its just handy for the important information (when you can give baby's dairy, nuts ect). They are also Great for giving you a bit of food inspiration through the first feeding stages too. I did have a cow and gate weaning book sent to me for free aswell, so take a look at a few websites because some of them will send you one.
I'm sure I'll update you on our weaning journey as we progress, but I hope this was helpful in what to possibly expect in early weaning days. Please also see my Baby feeding Essentials post for all things I have found really useful. Link below