We battled with weaning, and I felt pressured into weaning our son onto solids with purees rather than opting for the baby led route. I envisaged our weaning journey featuring spreads, dips, vegetable sticks, and other finger goods. I knew that we needed to start introducing solid foods around five months. I had a vision of putting out a selection of morsels and preparing lots of homemade foods, including some purees to help with different textures. A combination really, but leading with baby led weaning first.
Surprisingly, the pressure when and how to start weaning came from a health visitor. Like my pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding journey, my best laid plans were taken over or crumbled.
I’ll never forget it. Our son was just about to hit the five month mark, It was a few days before we due to fly to Ireland to visit family. I had planned to begin introducing solids a few weeks later, once we’d had the challenge of being away from home out of the way. Too many changes were going on I felt – plan, new environment, sleeping in a different cot. All the sorts of things that can play havoc with your schedule. Also, not my house, not my kitchen, not my pantry, not my food shop.
A check up with the health visitor was one last thing I had to tick off my to do list for the week before our flight.
The new HV was quick to challenge me on when we were going to start weaning. She told me that while we shouldn’t wean before five months, leaving it later was too late – basically we had to start on the day he turned five months pretty much. If we waited till almost six months it was really too late.
All she talked about was pureed this and pureed that. There was no talk of baby led weaning, and even when I tried to broach it I was shut down. Fine with baby porridge, pureed fruits and vegetables, a rusk. A leaflet about it was thrust in my hand.
No mention of baby led weaning… at ….all.
As a first time mother, I succumbed to the pressure, and with a visit to family coming up, I got on the phone to my mother in law and asked her to grab some bowls, spoons, fruit and vegetable purees and so on. I then went to the supermarket and bought more of the same, along with a baby food processor (not sure why my regular one wouldn’t do it), and bags of vegetables to steam and make my own puree. Solids came in the form of rice cakes and a few other nibbles.
I think weaning was ultimately more stressful for us than potty training has been. It took encouragement and doubled meal preparation efforts. For various reasons, we had to rely on shop bought purees and pouches when travelling. I spent ages making my own, to have a freezer full of purees which he refused most of the time. Our food bill rocketed.
I’m not saying purees or shop food products are bad. Quite the opposite – there were some fantastic prepared baby food, and we have stayed with many of those brands for quick toddler meals on the go, plus amazing snacks. BUT, I didn’t want to go entirely down the route. It felt rushed and combined with a very difficult breastfeeding situation, I really didn’t feel in control (as much as you can with a baby).
I do wish I’d stood my ground more with the baby led weaning in those early days. I found some great cookbooks and books on baby led weaning after a few months, as well as Pinterest boards, packed with recipes and ideas. I found so many more foods to introduce and many of them our toddler still eats as they’re great for snacks – things like nut butters on rice cakes, Marmite on potato bread, and more. I wish I’d started introducing them from day one.
I’m at least glad I did introduce them in the end, as they’re still useful. The thing about feeding a toddler is that usual rules don’t apply. One day they’ll eat something, the next they won’t. You can’t rely on most places to have a sufficient variety of food available when you’re eating out. I need finger foods and quick meals I can stick in a backpack and just go. I still turn to those weaning cookbooks for inspiration sometimes.
Do you have some amazing baby led weaning recipes you’d like to share? What are you go- to snacks and finger foods for babies and toddlers? Leave your ideas in the comments.
Baby Led Spreads : Review
Baby Led Spreads offered to send me some product samples to try and review, I happily said yes. While our son largely eats what we eat now, or a variant on, we still need healthy snacks or food on the go. We are stuck in a rut with our finger food snacks. I’m running out of ideas fast.
In short, I was impressed. Some of the spreads were great in sandwiches (albeit I ended up eating them), went down well on corn cakes, and my son even had a bit of pasta with the red pepper one.
The range includes the following delicious available, with non-dairy versions available. You can buy a pack of nine for £6.50 which isn’t bad value. The spreads can be used cold or used in warm dishes. They even come with a recipe card.
Green Pea, Rocket and Dill
Avocado, Red Pepper and Tomato
Carrot, Apple and Hummus
Ricotta and Bean
Spicy Pumpkin and Chickpea
Red Lentil and Sweet Potato
I need to put in another order to be honest. They’re yummy!