In general 80% of my life revolves around food. Be it eating it, cooking it, shopping for it, or getting rid of it – yes I do spend a lot of time also talking about poo. Food is my thing so when it comes to feeding my boy it’s a pretty big deal to me that he not only eats well but that he also enjoys eating it.
So when a year pre baby a Facebook friend posted a video of her 6 month old eating an avocado with the hash tag #babyledweaning I googled it and thought ‘this is definitely for me and my non-existent future kid.’ Fast forward 15 months and my non existent future kid is very much existant and in the present, so, armed with my Gill Rapley Baby Led Weaning book and a few mins to myself to read it I eagerly awaited my baby’s 6 month birthday so that we could begin.
The whole baby led thing for anyone who doesn’t know is effectively a method of weaning that cuts out the puree stage. Historically traditional weaning involves feeding smooth purees and then gradually progressing to lumps and finger foods. Baby Led works on the assumption that you will not wean sooner than 6 months and you go straight in with finger foods and totally miss out the puree. This makes complete sense to me as I personally don’t see the need to blitz up food when you don’t need to and given how much I love food I wanted Drake to experience foods in their true form and not in a puree.
Let me also say here that I don’t have any problem with traditional weaning at all, I just didn’t want to do it myself.
So when I first started weaning I was sat up on my extremely high horse totally confident in my approach – which I still am- but now my horse has got a little smaller and a bit mangy round the edges. Because actually it doesn’t matter how many books you read – your kid doesn’t give a monkeys about Gill Rapley or all the other Mummies in your Baby Led Weaning Facebook group. It turns out babies and kids don’t follow rules and by choosing to wean a certain way I felt like I had to. So for example you are ‘supposed’ to all eat together and baby eats when you eat which is fine until baby wants to go to bed at 6. And also at some point I would be working again and not back till 5.30 so it is impossible to keep my son fed, and happy i.e not crying into his dinner with exhaustion at 7pm – and also follow this rule.
So between 6-9 months Drake ate sometimes and didn’t eat othertimes he was breast feeding and formula feeding and I wasn’t that bothered about how much he ‘ate’ but as he got older and closer to being one I was starting to panic a little that he wasn’t eating enough actual food to sustain him, so I started to go off piste and… dum dum dum I occasionally spoon fed him. Now if you are a member of any groups to do with baby led weaning – the weaning nazis would cut my hand off for forcing that spoon into my babies mouth when he’s trying to eat a yoghurt and getting it into his eye, ear, hair, and nose basically anywhere except his mouth. I gave him a helping hand. And then I felt guilty and like I had failed at the one thing that I was fully committed to doing as a mother.
But as time went on and Drake had weeks of eating like a champ followed by weeks of eating basically nothing and he stopped chucking food so much, and he enjoyed me feeding him his petit filous at the end of dinner, and he started to learn to use a spoon himself dispite my having spoon fed him a little bit I have started to relax.
It suddenly occurred to me that these rules are stupid – I never fed him when he didn’t want feeding, he always fed himself sometimes with a helping hand and he always ate food that I would eat myself. But I wasn’t going to stick myself in that little box and beat myself up for the times when I gave him a pouch of Ellas finest for lunch because its all he wanted or the fact that I couldn’t eat every meal with him because I was working or he was napping and I was knawing the cats leg because I was so starving.
So I’ve decided to do my own type of weaning. And it’s called…..
Feeding My Kid.
The rules for feeding my kid are:
There are no rules! If my kid is eating, hell even if he is not eating! If I am preparing him food that is healthy (90% of the time) , tastes good, and doesn’t leave me sweating with stress and crying into a colander in the kitchen then I am winning!
Sometimes Drake eats home cooked food, sometimes he eats an Ella’s Kitchen creation. Sometimes he wants me to feed him, sometimes he wants to snatch the spoon from my hand. Whatever, it doesn’t matter!
In my mind I will always say I baby led weaned because we never pureed and we always follow his lead when it comes to food. I’m also pretty impressed that by 15 months he is sort of experimenting with cutlery and surprises me with his taste for strong fish and curry flavours (although good help you if his food is even the tiniest bit spicy because he is not a fan of even the mildest chilli heat.)
So just to finish here are Drakes top 10 foods!
Avocado – we LOVE the Avo in this house and easily spend a small fortune on them each week.
Curry – he loves my homemade curry made with mild spices and coconut milk
Fish – he loves cod, salmon, prawns, tuna, sardines and at 8 months he shared my mussels and frites on our holiday to France.
Ella’s Kitchen ready meals – he loves them all and ate the 12month plus ones from about 9 months. Perfect I need a quick dinner for him.
Chips – we never has chips at home but when we’re out he LOVES a chip or two or 10.
Peas – Mushy and normal.
Lasagne/spag Bol especially his Nanny’s one!
Mac n Cheese – standard
Bubble and Squeak – his Granny’s go to dinner as he literally shovels it in.
Bannana – especially in the trolley at Tesco.