I have been writing this piece on and off for a few months now and for some reason I’ve felt anxious about sharing our experience because if I’m honest, I don’t know what we are doing!
I’ve had lots of messages over the last 2/3 months asking what I feed Isla, when I started etc and I’ve felt reluctant to share it because I feel like I’ve done it all ass about face. I haven’t followed a particular way of feeding e.g. spoon feeding or baby lead weaning, I’ve just done what I wanted and what I felt worked best at the time.
I started to spoon feed Isla when she was just over 4 months old because I was hoping it would help her to sleep through the night. This, I now acknowledge, wasn’t the right thing to do, I actually needed to introduce formula milk as she was just on breast milk at the time but I only cracked this later down the line.
At 4 months old, I started her on one meal a day at tea time which was a single flavoured purée e.g, sweet potato, peas, apple, mango etc. She was obviously enjoying the new flavours and slowly I started to introduce baby rice and porridge also. Each portion was no bigger than the size of her fist and I would never force it upon her if she didn’t seem interested.
When she was approx 5 months old she had a terrible ear and chest infection which led her to stop eating solids for a few weeks. She was off her food altogether so I withdrew solids to make sure she was drinking enough milk and staying hydrated rather than gobbling some purée and refusing her milk. Up until a baby is 6 months old, milk should still be their main source of food and I was very conscious of this throughout our weaning journey.
Isla was about 6 months old when I felt that food was becoming a real staple in her diet. Often, before this point, she would refuse food altogether and would be happy enough and very content with a good size bottle of milk.
At 6 months, Isla was having both breakfast and dinner everyday and was starting to enjoy exploring more complex meals. By this I mean a multiple of flavours in one meal e.g. banana and avocado mash, creamy blueberry porridge, chicken casserole, cheesy lentils, cottage pie etc. At this point, I decided that one of her meals a day would be baby lead to try and give her some independence. I would boil down wedges of sweet potato, broccoli, peas, baby corn and give her sticks of cheese, bread etc to try but if I’m honest I found this frustrating. She would play with the food until it looked inedible and would only eat very little of what she was given. The majority of it would end up on the floor, squashed in between her fingers or around her face and then I would be left feeling worried that she was hungry.
I tried baby led weaning for 3/4 weeks before I decided it wasn’t working for us. I do wonder if I had persisted, where we would be now but at the time it was causing me more stress than it was worth. Some will, or will not, relate to me on this but I just wanted to see my baby fed.. something hopefully we can all understand.
At 7 months, Isla was having 3 good sized meals a day and below I will list a few of our favourites for different meal times. I decided that I would spoon feed Isla the majority of her meal but also give her something to hold and eat herself. This works perfectly for us and is without a doubt our happy medium. Using this method, I’m happy that she is learning to feed herself and I’m also happy that I can monitor exactly what she eats. Call me obsessive, call me a worrier, call me paranoid or call me human and a mum who desperately cares. Ive often been bashed with ‘you’ll make rods for your own back’, ‘she will be fussy’, ‘she won’t eat as well or as independently as a baby who follows BLW’ and I always respond with… tell someone who cares.
I always try to make all of Isla’s meals and if I’m honest she wouldn’t eat out of a pouch even if I promised her unlimited tickles. I have tried her on various different pouches, more for convenience when time is short, but it’s like she knows and she just won’t eat it. I also really quite enjoy cooking and watching her eat something that I’ve made from scratch so that means we are all happy!
Breakfast 7:30 – Blueberry porridge with either homemade breakfast fingers (baby friendly flapjacks), a slice of brown toast with a light spread of butter or a chunk of banana
Lunch 11:00 – Mashed banana and avocado, cheesy lentils, leek/pea/potato puree – these are her current favourites! This is always followed by either fruit puree or a yoghurt. I will give her either a rice cracker, sweetcorn ring or carrot stick to hold and eat with this meal
Dinner 17:00 – Cottage pie is without a doubt her favourite dinner but she also likes chicken casserole, tuna bake, sausage/mash/beans and spaghetti bolognese. All of these are homemade with plenty of hidden veggies and I will also give her cooked broccoli, baby corn, carrots, pepper etc to hold and eat with this meal
I still purée down Isla’s meals using my nutri bullet blender but I now make sure it’s a mash consistency rather than completely smooth so that she gets used to lumps. Especially now she has two teeth to help her out!
I’m more than happy to share some of the recipes that work well for us if anyone would find it useful. A few of them I’ve made on my own but I’ve been guided by the Annabel Karmel recipe app which is incredible and definately worth downloading.
Just one last point, I have been and still am absolutely terrified of Isla choking. This has no doubt slowed our weaning journey as I’m aphrensive about certain foods, most foods actually ahhh! I could skin and cut a grape into 10s and I’d still be horrifically sweating when I place it on her food tray. My friend recently sent me an online article about choking and it’s really helped to ease me – here it is for those who may find it beneficial – Complete guide to choking
I hope the read hasn’t bored you all to tears and most of all those who have been waiting for this I hope it’s not a disappointment!
Lots of love