So I guess there are many ways to wean a baby and this post is not meant to tell you how to do it, but merely inform you on how I have gone about it.
If you are a regular reader you would know that my boy is a sensitive little chap with loads of food allergies in the family, as well as already being really tough to feed I knew this would be a challenge. I had a routine appointment with the paediatrician at the hospital and this is when I asked about weaning. I didn’t get much information at all, they suggested that I go and see a dietician and said that they believed that now that he is over 4 months and given his low weight he should be weaned.
I read a lot of things on the net about allergies and when you should or should not introduce certain foods, a few things are crystal clear and I totally agree with them:
1. Don’t wean your baby if they are younger than 4 months old
2. You should continue breastfeeding if you can, this is still the main food for your baby
3. Don’t wait till your baby is 6 months old to start giving a spoonful of something, they are more likely to become fussy eaters and by this stage your baby should be getting iron and other supplements from other foods as your breastmilk is not enough and if you have waited it means your weaning has to take a faster pace. Some children can do this, while others like my son need more time.
At 4 months and a bit I decided to start giving my baby his first taste of things. Everyone says start with baby rice cause it is easy, well my son didn’t like this at all and we started with banana mash :). One spoonful of it, the next day the same. I did this three days in a row. Then I made potato and did the same, then I did sweet potato and did the same. Every three days I introduced a new food, ever observing my son’s poo and watched out for signs of any allergies. When he had the following range of fruit and veg (apple, carrot, potato, sweet potato, banana, pear and avocado, but i found that was quite heavy), I decided to get the baby rice. I began mixing baby rice with banana and breastmilk (30 /40ml) and feeding him this 1.5 hours after he had his milk.
Mixing this range of food in different combos is limiting, but it allows his tummy to slowly get used to things. When he was around 5.5 months I started giving larger portion s and replaced first one meal at 11am and then another at 7pm. I gave the evening meal as solid with the intention to allow him a better through the night sleep. Although that worked for about a week and a half, my son now does not sleep through the night and wants milk every three hours.
When I began the larger portions I introduced a wider variety of food also (kale, spinach, swede, broccoli, onions, squash, brusselsprouts, cabbage, courgette and watercress) and he has now even had fish and chicken and he is only 6 months. As well as this protein every second day I give my son 1/2 well cooked egg yolk mixed in the food, I started with 1/4 initially. He loves it!
I also introduced two spices oregano and black pepper. He also has been eating blueberries, papaya and mango. I make him juice from carrots, apple and pear. He also just started drinking some mineral water from a sippy cup, which i introduce 4 times a day to get him used to it.
They say using the teat bottle at this age is not appropriate and it can ruin their bite.
We don’t use baby rice any more, my son eats risotto rice which has been pureed slightly. We give him fruit to eat from ripe fruit directly and he feeds himself. He bites pears and bananas, sucks on apples. We bought him his own cutlery with little stoppers so he doesn’t choke, so he can feed himself. We also try to give the food in more chunkier pieces.
My boy is not the heaviest, but he is in the 91% for height. It seems his focus is on growing tall!
I have also introduced the potty, so now he poos in it every day and sometimes wees in it, so I don’t have to change any nasty looking diappies.
I try to make a batch of food in one go, you need a lot of veggies to make food. I try to put 5 different veggies in his evening meal with a bit of rice, which is cooked in breastmilk. In the morning we eat our fruits.
If you think your child might not be allergic to milk then you can go ahead and give them some of those products, but I have seen a lot of kids reacting getting snotty and mucussy and having diarrhoea.
I don’t give any breads, baby cereals, yoghurts, cookies, biscuits, no sugars, no additional salt. I believe all those things have no real nutritional value and they are harmful to your baby. If you are breastfeeding your baby is getting enough calcium and this is confirmed by our paediatrician. Biscuits and such things are just additional gluten products that can allow for candida to grow in your babies bowels and then they will be susceptible to allergies, getting sick etc. You are also teaching your baby their eating habbits for the future, so do be careful what you get them used to. We don’t do snacks at the moment, but when he is older the only snacks will be fruit and such, I would not want to encourage obesity from eating cookies etc. As those cookies will contain sugar even if the baby ones don’t.
This is ofcourse my opinion and my experience, you have the choice to do what you want and enjoy every moment of the journey. Good luck!
All the products that I use are organic, when an organic alternative is not available then we are using what we can to achieve a balanced diet.
One thing I would recommend is to start your baby early if you wish to do baby led weaning, because by the time they are six months they need to extra nutrition. We do a combination of baby led weaning now, but we didn’t do it in the beginning as we wanted to prepare our son’s tummy and bowels for the foods he was about to receive in larger quantities. The set meals are always fed by me and at the end he can eat on his own if he wants to, so I ensure he gets enough of what he needs and if he is interested in something that I am eating I will give him a piece if I think it is ok for him to eat it, he will grab it and put it in his mouth. He doesn’t have any teeth, but he chews really well.
I do not recommend you force your child to eat something, they usually know what they want. If you force them, they might not want to eat it again. So let them guide you to the quantities they feel comfortable to eat. My son eats over 150ml of food during his feeds.
I decided to feed my son my own cooked food because I didn’t trust what was sold commercially and because the ingredients used concentrates etc.
I have really been proud to have fed my son healthy food and to see him flourishing.