It's been almost 2 months since I started weaning Arthur so I thought it was about time I did a little post on our progress so far. I had mixed feelings about weaning, on one hand I was excited because I knew Arthur was ready to try his first solids and I couldn't wait to see how he reacted but on the other, I was nervous because I'd become so comfortable with him surviving on breast milk alone!
Babies get all the vitamins and nutrients they need from breast milk (in Arthur's case) or infant formula up until they’re six months, so I decided to wait until close to then to start the weaning process. I think we started a week or two before as I knew Arthur was ready. All the signs were there - he was showing interest in other people eating food, he could sit up and he could co-ordinate his eyes, hands and mouth. He’d even tried to steal other people's food on numerous occasions. The boy was certainly ready!
BLW or Purées? That’s the question.
The dilemma I faced and I imagine many other mums face was whether to go down the traditional purée route or whether to try Baby Led Weaning (BLW), which seems to be the thing to do these days. My health visitor had mentioned Baby Led Weaning to me and it felt like every mama on my Instagram was giving it a go. BUT it wasn’t something I was entirely comfortable with and seeing as Arthur still wasn’t quite six months old, I decided to try him with purées first and then introduce finger foods when I felt it was right. This combination of the two weaning methods seems to be working well for us!
Feeling the pressure…
I think at the moment there’s a bit of pressure on mums to try baby led weaning and I know I felt somewhat guilty because I wanted to do purées as well - as if I wasn't allowing Arthur to learn quickly enough. Has anyone else felt this way? It’s silly really because, surely as long as your baby is happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter how you feed them? I’ve read that BLW creates less fussy eaters but I’ve also heard numerous BLW mums say their babies are still fussy. Also, BLW seems to be a relatively new thing (it certainly wasn’t around when I was a baby) and I don’t know about you but I don’t still eat my food puréed, so I’m pretty sure that both weaning methods still take children to the same end goal in terms of eating.
The way I see it, is that you should do what suits you and your baby. Every baby is different and you, as a mama, know best for your baby. Forget what everyone else is doing. If you wanna BLW then BLW. If you wanna purée then you purée. If like me, you wanna do a bit of both, then go ahead!
Back to our weaning journey…
I was keen to make Arthur's food myself using fruit and vegetables and not just because I wanted to use my mum's beautiful pink blender (it's just so pretty!) but mainly so I'd know exactly what was going into his meals. Having said this, I'm not against buying pouches - I've bought them from Ella's Kitchen and Organix. Both of these brands focus on using only organic ingredients, without any rubbish, so I felt comfortable giving them to Arthur. So far he loves everything he's tried from Ella's Kitchen and Organix and I love how quick and convenient they are if you’re going out.
As I mentioned earlier I’ve also been giving Arthur various different finger foods like toast, banana, cooked vegetables (like broccoli) and mini sandwiches. He seems to enjoy waving the food around in the air but some definitely ends up in his mouth and I've noticed he's chewing really well. He's gagged a couple of times and like any first time mama, I felt the panic rise but as I've been reminded numerous times, gagging is perfectly normal (and necessary) and totally different from choking!
Obviously you still need to watch your baby closely when they're eating finger foods but it is handy that you have your hands free to eat your own dinner. You can even make baby mini versions of your own dinner so they're not hankering after what's on your plate!
He's quite a happy little eater!
What I’ve discovered is that Arthur’s not fussy how he’s being fed. He likes purées on a spoon and he likes feeding himself finger foods. He really doesn’t seem to mind as long as he’s getting something. There are some foods he’s a little unsure of like broccoli (his face says it all) but most of the time he’s happy to give anything a go. I’m sure he’ll go through phases of being fussy, as he gets older but to me that’s perfectly natural.
So to round this all up – A combination of purées and finger foods is working well for us! Don’t feel pressured to do one or the other and just because it feels like every other mama is baby led weaning, it doesn’t make you a bad mama if you don’t want to! I forgot to mention earlier that I watched an awesome debate video on Channel Mum about weaning and it was really good to hear the opinions of other mums. I felt quite reassured that I wasn't the only one not strictly baby led weaning!
What are your thoughts and experiences of weaning? Feel free to leave a comment below but please be respectful towards other mamas who may not be doing the same thing as you. Also, look out for Part 2 of our Weaning Journey, which will be up on Thursday!