Weaning: it’s a marmite topic! Some parents love it yet some parents hate it. I am well and truly in the hate it camp (weaning that is, not marmite – I love marmite). Weaning baby boy was difficult and stressful but weaning baby girl has opened up a whole new world of torture.
Baby girl has cows milk protein allergy as well as a possible soya allergy. Until I started weaning this time around I had no idea just how many foods contained milk or milk products. Soya is even worse! These things hide themselves in the unlikeliest of places. I find myself checking the ingredients on product packaging like a mad woman. I must have checked every single loaf of bread in Morrisons last week before literally throwing the last one back on the shelf and stalking off, muttering obscenities under my breath. I eventually found one in Aldi. Now before anyone even thinks of saying the words ‘Free From’ to me, I refuse to pay over £2 for what is the equivalent of half a loaf of (foul tasting) bread.
Baby girl has mostly been consuming fruit and vegetables so far. You can’t go wrong with fruit and vegetables I thought. And then she reacted to peas! Peas! So now, not only am I checking labels for any trace of milk and soya but we have added peas to the list of ingredients to look out for as well. Also, did you know that some chickens are fed soya which can then lead to a reaction when the chicken is eaten? No? Neither did I! If I were at all organised I would just save myself the trouble and make everything from scratch. Unfortunately it is not often that I am in domestic goddess/supermum mode (I still need my mum to come and help me get my house in a presentable condition).
Some people moan about the mess when weaning. That part doesn’t bother me. In fact I quite like to watch my children have a play with their food, it is good for their development. I once tipped a pot of chocolate yogurt onto baby boy’s highchair tray and let him go wild. We both enjoyed that one. The bit about weaning that I don’t like is, well it’s just the weaning in general. The worrying over how much they are eating, whether it is healthy enough, whether there is too much salt, whether that particular food is going to cause an allergic reaction etc etc.
I try my best to make at least 1 family meal a day that we can all sit down and enjoy together. Catering for no milk and soya has its issues though and I am running out of ideas. If there are any chefs out there interested in a 7 day a week, unpaid position, please get in contact! Until then I will just muddle through and hope that my children, by some miracle, don’t grow up to be the world’s fussiest eaters.
Have you weaned children with allergies? Any tips?
The world of weaning is an absolute minefield! 6 months or before? Smooth or lumps? Purees or baby led weaning? Everyone has a different opinion and god help you if you disagree with them. Oh and don’t even talk to me about the poo!
I will admit right now that I am finding weaning extremely stressful. I spent the first 6 months of his life getting to grips with bottle feeding – how to prepare the bottle, how long to leave between feeds, which cry meant ‘feed me now’! I feel like we had just gotten to grips with that when all of a sudden everything changes and we have to add food into the mix!
When I first thought about how I was going to wean baby boy I painted an idealistic picture in my head. He would be eating nothing but homemade, organic vegetables and fruits to start off with before moving on to delicious home cooked family meals (smaller portions of course). In preparation I lovingly made a freezer full of vegetable purees ready for that magical 26 week mark when he would be ready for food. Then disaster struck! At 24 weeks he grabbed a piece of garlic bread off my Mum’s plate and started chomping on it! That was not the first meal I had carefully planned and he was 2 weeks too early. Oh well, he obviously wanted food so I thought I would start him on the purees. He hated them! My lovingly prepared, organic purees were not tolerated! What was I doing wrong?
My sister in law mentioned that her friend’s child was doing well with baby led weaning so I thought we would give it a try. I sat baby boy in his highchair and placed a variety of vegetables in front of him. He played with them for a while and eventually decided to taste a few. It was more successful than the purees but still not what I had imagined it would be like. After a week of this I was ready to give up and declare that he would just have to drink milk for the rest of his life. It was completely stressing me out.
It was at a mother and baby group when I was sat talking to a few other new mums about this subject that I realised that they all felt the same way. It changed my perspective a little bit. Why did I have to stick to just one way of doing things if it didn’t work for us. Why couldn’t I mix soft, pureed food with some baby led weaning? Since then we have been experimenting with different foods and I must admit that he will try almost anything. I both spoon feed and let him feed himself, I use purees and finger food, I make him his own meal or mush up a bit of my meal, I home cook and buy pouches (Ella’s Kitchen are a firm favourite). It is a long, drawn out process and I don’t feel that he is doing as well with it as I would like but we just have to keep going. Oh, and I still have a freezer full of purees!
Do you have any weaning tips?
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