Weaning. Now there’s a scary word if ever a new parent heard it! It can be pretty daunting thinking about when and how to start the process, especially when there’s so much conflicting advice out there. I think everyone I’ve spoken to about it has started a different way but we had a very clear idea of what we wanted to do from the beginning.
Health visitors advise that you wait until your child is six months old before you give them anything other than milk – advice that we took. Many baby food brands produce food for four months plus but we waited until Jenson was able to sit up in his highchair and was showing the various cues that he was ‘ready’ for food. We actually started a week early as Luke had the week off and we thought it would be a good idea to start the weaning process together so Jenson would be used to both of us feeding him. For that first week we used super-pureed food but after a couple of weeks we moved onto fork-mashed food, alternating between fruit and veggies each day.
I was anxious about Jenson’s weight as when he was a few weeks old I was told I was over-feeding him(!) and have always been paranoid about getting his weight checked. My main concern has been balancing increasing his food intake and reducing his milk but Jenson has pretty much been in control the entire time. For the first eight weeks or so I continued to make up his usual five bottles of milk (seven ounces) and let him decide how much he wanted. And because he made a lot of mess with his food early on, I made up a bit extra and recognised the signs when he was full. I still get him weighed once a fortnight and it has been consistent throughout, so I think we’re doing a good job!
After a few weeks of one meal a day (lunch), we introduced a second (breakfast) and then a third (dinner) plus dessert (at lunchtime) a couple of weeks after that. Jenson’s milk intake has decreased consistently so I’m able to make up smaller bottles these days. In fact, I’m thinking about dropping one and seeing how he copes. Here’s a look at his self-created routine these days:
- First bottle of the day around 4am, approx. six ounces
- Breakfast around 8am. He has Ella’s Kitchen baby porridge and Weetabix on alternate days. He loves the banana porridge and we’re going to try the mango next
- Second bottle around 9am, approx. five ounces
- Third bottle around 12 noon, approx. five ounces. I’m thinking about dropping this bottle and giving him his lunch a bit earlier as he doesn’t have a lot of it
- Lunch around 1.30pm. Jenson’s had a bit of a swollen gum lately, which can make this quite difficult, but he tends to have Organix finger foods for lunch, followed by something fruity. He loves their carrot sticks (like giant, carrot-flavoured Wotsits) but we’re working our way through the range. He loves mashed banana but we always have some Ella’s Kitchen pouches on hand just in case; he loves their yoghurts and smoothies and they’re handy for when we’re out. We also have some Organix pureed fruit pots which he scoffs down. He loves his fruit
- Fourth bottle around 4pm, approx. five ounces
- Dinner around 5.30pm. This is veggy-based, sometimes with meat. We’ve not been too great at feeding him what we eat as we eat quite a bit later – and aren’t the healthiest bunch! I’m adamant that he won’t have added salt and sugar, etc, so the best thing at the moment is Ella’s Kitchen pouches or veggies that I make up separately. I generally do a batch every few weeks and freeze them but he’s starting to eat bigger portions now. I read that he can start having mild spices now so when we had a korma the other day I wanted him to try some. Turns out that rice doesn’t blend well, at least not in our blender, and we didn’t want to risk giving him the rice as is. Is it worth us getting one of those Tommee Tippee blenders to blend what we eat? Let me know in the comments
- Last bottle of the day around 7pm, approx. six ounces. Jenson generally gets ready for bed around 7pm, although we get him in his jammies as soon as he starts looking tired as he doesn’t appreciate being woken to be changed! Sometimes he can go down as early as 6.15pm or as late as 8.30pm, but it’s generally around 7-7.30pm. He then sleeps through until his bottle around 4am and gets up between 6.30 and 7.30am but stirs a couple of times for his dummy. We’ve had a few rough nights with chesty coughs, etc, but generally he’s a good sleeper.
There are some products I’ve discovered during our weaning journey that I highly recommend…
Cover-all bibs. These are amazing and generally £2-3 each. Jenson’s a bugger for putting his hands in his food and wiping them on his legs but they do keep him covered for the most part – check out the picture of him in his smaller bib nearer the top of this post and you’ll see why we need them! We picked ours up from Morrisons and Sainsburys – bloody brilliant for baby gear!
Wipes. I keep a pack of baby wipes and cleaning wipes in the basket under the highchair for meal times. I always wipe Jenson’s hands before and after he eats – plus his face normally needs a good clean after! The Dettol wipes are also handy for wiping the tray over straight after eating.
Segmented trays. I ordered a pack of three bright coloured trays from Argos. We don’t separate each food (we don’t want a fussy eater!) but it’s handy to have his snacky foods and yoghurt etc ready to go at lunch time. I don’t like to leave him in his highchair to go and get something else.
Cup. This isn’t any old cup, it’s a Tommee Tippee free-flow cup. Health visitors advise that you don’t use a sippy cup as it’s bad for their teeth, so we use a free-flow cup. Sure, it can be a bit messy, but it’s only water. And he’s pretty good at holding on to it and drinking himself, although it does quickly get thrown on the floor… We’re trying to encourage him to drink more water at the moment because we think that’s why he’s getting a bit constipated. And we’re using cooled boiled water until he’s one.
Food storage. I also picked up this pack of segmented food storage boxes from Amazon. Super-handy when you’re out all day and want to take various snacky foods with you.
Lunchbag. Speaking of being out all day, I’ve found that I need a separate lunchbag for Jenson now that his changing bag is full of toys to keep him entertained and a spare change of clothes, etc. This monkey one is friggin’ adorable with handy little compartments. Plus it was a bargain from Argos.
Freezer pots. I mentioned before that I make up batches of veggies and freeze them and these pots from Tesco were so handy. They were 3 for 2 when I got them too so they were cheap as chips!
Baby food. As if it wasn’t already clear, we love Ella’s Kitchen and Organix. They both offer a wide range of products for all ages and Jenson loves them. Plus there’s nothing added to their food – very important!
The only real issues we’ve had with weaning so far is that Jenson is a greedy little chap. We’ve tried a bit of baby-led weaning but when we offer Jenson finger food he just wants to shove the whole thing in his mouth – it can be pretty scary seeing your little ‘un with a whole rice cake in his mouth. He’s slowly learning to hold on to food and break a bit off, which is quite difficult as he only has two teeth at the moment. The Organix carrot sticks are best for this at the moment as he’s good at sucking on the end and breaking it off. Although when I made his lunch up yesterday he got a bit greedy. I put snacky foods, pureed prunes and mashed banana in a segmented tray and because it was all there in front of him he wanted to grab everything – one carrot stick in each hand. I think soon he’ll learn that it’s not going to go anywhere and he can pace himself!
How did you wean your little one/s? Do you have any other recommendations?