We started weaning Isabelle onto food as soon as she hit the six month mark. I was adamant that we were going to give baby led weaning (BLW) a go as after doing lots of research I felt like it was the next logical step following breastfeeding on demand. However, as all mums will know, what we want doesn’t really come into play once you have a child; their wants and needs take president! To start out with, I was really excited about the prospect of us sitting down to eat meals as a family, this had always been my vision, but the reality is that I have found the weaning process hard, emotional and draining!
A change of plan
My belief is that whilst some babies will take to BLW like a duck to water, others take a little longer to get a grasp the concept of eating. Isabelle is definitely in the ‘take a little longer’ camp. After weeks of Isabelle not eating anything, and throwing my lovingly prepared food onto the floor, I cracked one day and decided to try spoon feeding her some fruit puree. The guilt I felt for straying from pure BLW was immense, which I realise is ridiculous looking back now, but I want to be honest, and that is how I felt! Isabelle loved the fruit puree (which added to my guilt: I had deprived her of something she liked for so long!), but she was not so keen on me feeding her savoury foods. And when I say not keen I mean she didn’t let me. This made me feel uneasy as I didn’t want her to only be eating fruit, I want her to have a balanced diet. Back to pure BLW we went, with added loaded spoons for fruit and yoghurt (this girl has crazy good hand eye co-ordination!).
Fast forward a few weeks and Isabelle started actually ingesting some of the food placed in front of her. The pride I felt was incredible! I started to relax a little bit about weaning as I could see that progress was being made. So when we went to stay with my parents for a few days, and I knew our evening meals would be after Isabelle’s bed time, I decided to take some jars to try spoon feeding Belle her dinner. She started off only eating a few spoonfuls, but this was better than nothing, and soon increased in volume.
We are currently doing what I believe would be termed as ‘traditional weaning’. Isabelle gets a mixture of both spoon fed meals, and finger foods. This seems to be working for us at the moment, and it gives us flexibility; if I know we are going to be eating out at lunch time then I take a sandwich for Isabelle, or give her some of what we have (if it is suitable), whereas if I know our dinner is going to be after Isabelle’s bed time I give her an Ella’s Kitchen pouch or a HIPP Organic jar (these two brands are my favourite as the ingredients are great).
My top picks for weaning
- Stokke Tripp Trapp – I wanted the Tripp Trapp ever since I saw the Saccone-Joly’s using it for Emilia. I love the fact that Isabelle is sitting at the table with us, and we can (for the most part) eat as a family. We initially used the newborn set when Isabelle was unable to sit unaided. This literally changed my life. No longer was Isabelle sat in her swing seat at our feet moaning as she could not see what we were doing at the table, she was now at the same height as us, and able to nosey on what Mummy and Daddy were doing. Now that Isabelle can sit unaided we are using the baby set with the cushion. When we ordered the chair, we got a complimentary table top. I initially didn’t think we would need the table top, but actually it is really useful and I am really glad that we have it.
- Brother Max catch and fold bibs – these are pretty self explanatory. The pack I purchased contained a single plastic catch section for the bib along with three fabric bibs. I like the fact that if you are using these whilst out and about you can stuff the fabric section of the bib and any food debris (ewww) into the plastic section of the bib, use the poppers to secure it and pop it all into your bag to deal with at home (WARNING: it is not advisable to forget that said bib, full of bits of pitta bread and cucumber, is in your change bag, only to find it a week later when pulling a pack of baby wipes out of your bag).
- Doidy cup – there is no denying that these look a little strange but the angle of the cup really does make it easy for babies to drink from it. We use this alongside the traditional sippy cup, as I think it is important for Isabelle to know how to drink from a variety of drinking apparatus for when she attends nursery.
- Tommee Tippee Explora Feeding Spoons – these spoons have relatively short handles compared to a lot of weaning spoons. This makes them perfect for loaded spoons for baby, as there is less spoon for them to navigate towards their mouth…or eye, or nose.
If you have children, how did you find the weaning experience?