I’m not quite sure where this year has gone, but suddenly our little lad is 8 months old. The newborn days are well behind us as he becomes more of a ‘proper’ child each and every day. With that comes certain firsts and milestones – smiling, laughing, rolling over, sitting up and *gulps* weaning.
Despite what some might say, I’ve never found weaning to be too bad. Sure, it can be frustrating, tedious and messy, but it’s going to happen so you might as well get on board with it. At the time of writing, we’re two months into ‘Beetle’s’ weaning journey and it’s going remarkably well – if you ignore the aforementioned mess!
As second time parents, we’ve been through it before. Arguably, this makes it easier because we have experience, knowledge and plenty of hacks to help along the way. However, our actual approach second time around isn’t too dissimilar to when L started 3.5 years ago. It worked then and it seems to be working now.
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I guess that’s the key thing. There’s no right way to wean your babies. You just do what’s right for you and what you think is right for them. Traditional weaning using purees, mashed up food and a spoon might work for some, whereas baby-led weaning which gives your baby the chance to play, experiment and teach self-feeding might be right for others.
Either way, do what you want. For us, we sit in neither camp. We take elements from both approaches depending on a whole range of factors such as our mood, his mood, what food we have in the house, how much time we have available, where we are bla bla bla.
I remember going to a weaning talk at our local Children’s Centre when L was about to start. Their attitude to weaning was fantastic – we were basically told babies should be able to try a bit of everything (except honey as this could lead to botulism!) and it doesn’t really matter how it gets in their mouth, as long as it does.
This attitude really married up with ours. We want our kids to try a whole range of different things and see no reason why you can’t do this as soon as they start weaning. Our end goal is to have the kids eating smaller portions of what we eat – I don’t want to be like my Mum who pandered to my bro and I and cooked different meals each night! Sod that.
Anyway, less about that and more onto ‘Beetle’. To date, weaning is going really smoothly – he genuinely will eat everything and we’ve not discovered anything he dislikes. When we thought he might be ready to start food, we just gave him a taste of whatever we were eating – a bit of yoghurt, a spoonful of mashed potato, a smidge of pasta sauce, a lick of my pizza – you get the gist.
This soon turned into bigger bits of food throughout the day – but only when he was in a good mood (DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED WHEN THEY’RE TIRED OR GRUMPY). So, for example, quarter of a Weetabix with milk and mashed strawberries at breakfast, half a fruit pouch late morning, a few Organix Pea Puffs later in the day, then a spoonful of whatever L hadn’t eaten at tea.
This approach has seen him try all manner of different foods. From sweet to spicy, from hot to cold, from smooth to lumpy. Depending on what the food is, it’s also allowed him to mess around and play with the food for developmental purposes – for instance, the Organix Pea Puffs, a chopped up of banana or a bread stick are good for grip and hand-eye coordination skills.
Now, we’re at a point where he’s eating pretty big portions of food – particularly when compared to L at that age. It’s also naturally moved to three meals per day (with snacks) to mirror us and align with our schedules. A typical day will now see him eat something like the below:
- Breakfast: Weetabix with chopped fruit or bowl of porridge with fruit or homemade American-style pancake
- Lunch: Scrambled egg (with milk & cheese) or half a sandwich (ham, cheese, tuna) or tomato soup with bread or leftovers from tea the night before (see below!)
- Snack: Yoghurt or fruit pouch or chopped fruit (banana, strawberry, blueberries, raspberries) or a bread stick or a handful of Organix Finger Foods (corn puffs, rice cakes, baby biscuits)
- Tea: Spaghetti Bolognese or fish risotto or curry and rice or Shepherd’s pie or mac ‘n’ cheese or chilli con carne or fish pie or meat stew
I find the above interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s all food that is easy to eat – he has no teeth yet (still!) so it needs to be stuff he can gum at or suck, but there’s no reason to blend or puree it. Secondly, apart from the fruit pouch and Organix snacks, nothing is babyfied – everything he (and L) eats is normal, adult food (just with no added salt). Thirdly, what he’s eating at 8-months is more adventurous than what I was eating at 20 years old!
The increase in food has also seen an impact on milk feeds – to the missus’ relief! Pre-weaning, he was feeding multiple times during the day (and night). Yet now, during the day, he only feeds when he’s woken up and before he goes to bed, with a very occasional feed between those times if he’s cranky. It’s crazy just how quickly the number of milk feeds can drop.
Although our weaning journey is going pretty smoothly, weaning can have its complications. Take teeth – or, should that be, lack of teeth in our case. No teeth mean that they may struggle to eat certain foods, plus you might find they have no interest in eating or that it hurts to eat when teething.
There can also be a bit of worry thrown in there. Am I doing it ‘right’? Are they getting enough food? Is their diet varied enough? Am I a bad parent for giving him his sister’s leftovers as his meal? Should I be making every single meal from scratch in an expensive baby food blender?
There’s also the mess – something I can’t stand. Even if you’re not going down the baby-led weaning route, you’ll still encounter mess. Take the fact that tour baby will sneakily stick a hand in their food and wipe it on their face or that their mandatory year long cold – mixed with gallons of dribble – will make everything wet and sticky to touch. Lovely.
If you’ve got a dog, that also adds to the ‘fun’ of things too. Dax loves nothing more than hovering around waiting for that dropped bit of bread from the table or that unfinished yoghurt pot left accidentally on the booster seat!
For those that read the blog regularly, you’ll know that I have a long term relationship with Organix as part of their No Junk Journey. For them, this is all about supporting busy parents in feeding their children healthy food and helping little ones to develop a love of good food.
For me, they do that really well. Not only do they make finger foods designed for weaning, but they have a weaning section of their website with loads of info, tips and tricks, along with tasty recipes to get you started. Go check it out if you’re looking for some useful info.
In case you’re looking for non-helpful weaning info, then let me point you in the direction of a post I wrote when L was weaning about my top 5 baby weaning hacks. Happy weaning!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Organix as part of the #NoJunkJourney.