Yesterday I hit a brick wall in the ever-growing milestones of mammy-hood; weaning.
That magic six month mark (already?) approaches this weekend and all I’ve dabbled in is baby porridge and baby rice.
To be honest, I’ve been pushing it to the back of my mind. I’m so settled with our bottle and sleep routine now that it seems cruel to change things.
Six months of winging it and I finally feel like I’ve found my feet when bam! Let’s change things.
I suppose I need to get used to it.
This is just another obstacle thrown into the crystal maze of parenthood.
And I had a Major Monday Meltdown.
Let’s start with the fact that the Health Visitor comes to visit you around the twelve week mark, armed with an enticing purple folder. Said folder contains books to read (blog post plug opportunity – Little Gems: What Ella is Reading) info and handy teeth brushing equipment (why didn’t I just type toothbrush and toothpaste?) as well as leaflets on Baby-led weaning and introducing solid foods.
Followed by the obligatory weighing of the baby. (Bad mam here left it three months until I weighed her again. Without someone coming to my house to do it, I’m rubbish at trying to get to the health centre. Ooops. Well Ella you outgrow your clothes so I presume you are growing).
Don’t get me wrong, the talk from the Health Visitor about weaning was really good and positive. I was filled with confidence; I can do this, I can cut veg up and crack this baby-led weaning lark.
Well, it went in one ear and out the other. I just remember the guidance, no earlier than twenty weeks. But then I heard somewhere you could do it from seventeen. Argh mind-fuck!
I was putting it off. Yes she was paying attention to us when we were eating (scowling across the room as she’d been strapped in her swingy chair so we could scoff pizza). Yes she was drooling and shoving her hands in her mouth. But was it teething or was she ready to be weaned??
After speaking to a few people, baby rice was dropped in the equation.
Just shy of five months old I started giving her some baby rice after her lunchtime bottle (when I remembered!)
I use Cow and Gate Infant milk so it seemed only natural to use their baby rice. I must have signed up for something somewhere in my mammy haze as I’ve received their 5 step weaning plan book in the post too.
This ticks over nicely, the odd bowl of baby rice here and there, getting Ella used to different ‘textures’.
Then I throw in the mix a bit of Banana Baby Porridge at about the five and a half month mark. Again, when I remembered. I was still stuck in my old bottle routine so I kept forgetting to add this at breakfast.
Aside from January, September always feels like a month for new beginnings. It’s that old back-to-school feeling from (many many) years ago now. With my Facebook feed filled with first-day-of-school pics and teacher friends going back to work, it kick-started my ‘right, let’s learn how to feed this child – part two’.
It’s meant changing my routine. Sitting Ella in a high chair at breakfast for a start as a reminder to myself to give her porridge. This is as opposed to lounging in bed or on the settee bottle feeding while I flick through Facey and Insta.
I’d had a trial run over the weekend of feeding her her first pouch meal. I’d received one of those free Bounty Packs you get over the course of your pregnancy and maternity leave (preggers ladies if you haven’t already, sign up to Bounty to get these. You get handy little samples in like nappies, creams and eventually weaning stuff. I got more toothpaste too, all else fails at least she’ll have sparkling bright teeth. When they eventually come in).
Inside this pack was a couple of samples of the HIPP pouches. Lunch for Ella this weekend was the pureed carrots, cauliflower and peas. The packs can be kept in the fridge for twenty-four hours after they’ve been opened. Brill. Lunch sorted for the weekend.
And, although dubious of the flavour at first, she seemed to take to this. Hurrah!
Confidence boosted, Monday was the day.
I’d ordered by usual Asda online shop for Sunday night (still not ventured into doing a big food shop with a baby in tow. Online shopping is my way forward. Shop in pj’s with wine and it’s delivered to your door. You don’t have to get ready, juggle a baby or speak to people – apart from the delivery driver. Bonus). In this shop I’d included frozen broccoli, cauliflower and peas – ready to puree and cut up to do a mix of puree and soft finger foods.
Monday lunchtime came.
I’d done my morning buggy bootcamp – yey me. I didn’t have time to get changed but find pottering around in my gym wear makes me feel more productive.
Feeling all purposeful, I got the magic bullet my sister lent to me and all the various contraptions that go with it. I opened the weaning book to ‘Step One: Recipes’. I looked at the pathetic bit of broccoli that I’d taken out of the freezer that morning to defrost …
Wait – what??
Broccoli doesn’t need defrosting!
I can steam it from frozen!
Argh I’m going back to (for those who know me) my microwaving-carrots and turnip-boiling days! I thought I was getting better with age. Clearly not.
So rather than steam one piece of broccoli, I decide to get some more out of the freezer as well as the cauliflower florets. I’ll be healthy and eat some too and hopefully Ella will see how much mammy loves it(!) and she will love it to.
Veg steamed, broccoli placed in blender and mixed with baby milk.
Which has spilled all over the bench and the kitchen floor.
By this point the kitchen is upside down and Ella is wailing as she’s starving.
I go to feed her only for her to continue wailing. She’s got her bottle what’s her beef?
Oh – bad mammy has done a rush job of cleaning the teat and there’s a tiny bit of blockage.
Teat replaced with properly cleaned one a-la-blue-peter-here’s-one-I-made-earlier.
Bottle drank successfully. Thank-the-lord.
Random tiny bits of broccoli scattered on her highchair tray ready for her to lead her lovely self into the world of weaning.
But first let’s try this pureed-mush-attempt.
Ella begrudgingly took a mouthful of my home-made goop.
Maybe it wasn’t pureed enough??
Possibly, as after the next mouthful she choked (I panicked – major fear of choking) then promptly threw up the bastard broccoli puree along with nearly all her milk.
As sick seeped down her highchair, onto my leggings and all over the floor I put my head down and full on sobbed into her tray.
God who am I? I’ve worked in stressful and pressurised environments for years yet I crack when I try to feed a child. Get a grip!
The only saving grace was that when I lifted my head (and I said I was sorry for being a rubbish mam and making her choke) there she was – smiling right back at me.
She was laughing at me.
After my futile hour and a half which ended in my child vomiting, she still championed me. She thought I was silly for getting upset.
Cue whatsapp messages to sisters and fellow mammy friends for immediate advice.
And a well-timed visit from my sister-in-law and nephew.
Their wise words (from the sisters, sis-in-law and friends and not one year old nephew obvs) made me pull myself together.
No it’s not plain sailing, yes they choke but get used to it they have really good gag reflexes and most of all – don’t put pressure on it.
And do you know what? My instincts had been telling me to stick with the baby rice, porridge and pouch routine. It had worked at the weekend so why make life harder than it had to be?
I can practice perfecting my puree but in the meantime I’ll tootle on down to Aldi and grab some of their pouches.
Needless to say she hadn’t touched the ‘soft finger food’ of broccoli on her tray.
Sis-in-law had some great tips on this as she’s six months ahead of me. Cutting up bits of, say, my toast into little pieces at breakfast. Scatter this on baba’s tray and let her play with it while I eat. If she eats it – bonus! Likewise with other bits of veg.
Baby-led weaning takes time and patience (ha! My downfall).
So I added this in yesterday morning. Toast on the tray after her milk and porridge. She wasn’t the least bit interested but hey-ho. Maybe she was full.
No worries. I’ll keep doing what feels right for us both.
And that seems to be what I’ve learnt so many times in the last six months in this new crazy life of mine.
Plus – I’ve gone back over my Health Visitor leaflets and read them. Properly, not skimming.
Your baby is ready if they can:
Stay in a sitting position and hold their heads steady (Ella can’t sit up properly just gets propped awkwardly in the high chair. Hmmm)
Co-ordinate their eyes, hand and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth all by themselves (ah – she’s not yet fluent in mastering all this together)
Swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths …
But if you do have any tips please share for this mammy who has been in despair.
Love Missuswolf xxx