Weaning! That’s definitely a loaded word for any parent approaching the 5-6 month mark! I was both excited and a bit nervous to start out weaning journey. I spent a lot of time reading up about weaning before Rory started on solids so I thought I’d share our journey to date and information I’ve found useful in case anyone else who is starting out on their journey was looking for some info. I am by no means an expert – scrap that – I am no expert and every baby is different but this is what we’ve done.
So let’s start at the beginning… When I was pregnant with Rory, we did a baby/ child first aid course and it went through the differences between gagging and choking. I’d 100% recommend anyone with a little one or expecting to go on one. It was so useful and informative and meant that we were equipped for if anything awful happened. Ours was free and provided by Freddie’s Wish. Check out their facebook page for details on upcoming courses. Anyway!
We’d received Wean in 15 as a baby present so I started by reading this. The first 69 pages are all about advice and I found this useful to read through. I then started to follow Charlotte Stirling-Reed on Instagram, a registered nutritionist, as she helped with the up-to-date research and NHS guidelines to help set your baby up for a life of healthy eating. What I liked about these resources was that they didn’t suggest just to do Baby Led Weaning (BLW) or purees, it was a mixture of both. I had been a bit apprehensive about BLW, which is giving your child finger food from the offset, but was reassured to find out that the risk of choking is the same in either approach as long as you prepare the food correctly. As a result, we decided to take a mixed approach and offer both a puree and finger food from the offset. BLW babies don’t take in as much from the offset as it is baby led. Your baby has been used to milk up until now and food is a completely new thing! They also need to learn to chew/ mush up their food so takes a little longer!
We decided to start first tastes when Rory was 5 and a half months old. He was starting to sit up and could hold his head and neck steady. He was able to coordinate his eyes, hands and mouth (intentionally pop things in his mouth himself) and had lost the tongue thrust. We also had time to start so things weren’t rushed. I wasn’t sure how he’d take it so we took things slowly. I also keep reminding myself that milk is their main source of calories and nutrients in their first year so as not to put any pressure on myself or Rory. I am keen on trying to get him to try as many different flavours and textures as possible. Tim and I love our food so I would love for Rory to love it too! I did read that babies iron stores start to deplete after 6 months and need to start getting nutrition from food. Obviously do your own research as I’m no expert.
I was keen on trying BLW after everything I’d read and for the first 10 days to be veg flavours. Both Joe Wicks and Charlotte Stirling-Reed suggest this so we got some veg in and also just used what we usually have in the fridge.
We started with Avocado, Broccoli, Carrots, Pepper, Sweet Potato, Potato, Peas, Cucumber, Asparagus and then moved onto mixed flavours introducing some fruit.
I’d give Rory some finger food of the veg and then puree some up so he was getting different textures. To begin with I whizzed up the puree with some breast milk so he was used to the taste a little. I still have some breast milk in the freezer from my pumping days a good few months ago so have been adding that to porridge/ ready brek if he has that.
Rory loved avocado, cucumber and asparagus but wasn’t a fan of carrots or potato. We keep trying him on carrot as they say it can take up to 10 times for a baby to start to like something – so we’ll keep persisting!
I also brought What Mummy Makes after seeing a friend had it and recommended it. Its philosophy is that you cook once for yourself and baby rather than making everything separate. I’ve made a few things so far which have been a hit! Porridge sheet fingers and courgette fingers went down well! Rory is a big fan of finger food compared to the spoon. He’s been very independent from the get go, not wanting us to feed him, but instead feed himself with the spoon. This has meant meal time has been very messy but it’s great seeing him starting to enjoy his food! I saw somewhere to also have 2 spoons at meal time, so when they have 1 spoon you have the other one ready to go – it has been working well for us to encourage Rory to eat.
We started at lunch so that I had enough time to give him food. A few weeks later, we added in breakfast and now also have added in dinner. Breakfast will be after he wakes up from his first nap, lunch after his 3rd nap and dinner after his final nap. I’m sure this will be changing soon as Rory has started to move to either 3 or 4 naps as he approaches 7 months.
I feel like I have been winging it slightly, but I think it’s working! I’ve been trying to give Rory as many different tastes and textures as I can and trying new foods/ meals. I’m always right by Rory when he’s eating. I’ll usually try to have my breakfast/ lunch at the same time as Rory so he can watch me eating and copy. When he eating a finger food I do keep a close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t choke! The course we went on was very helpful in showing the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging is a natural reflex and is a bit scary to watch but you just need to make sure you don’t jump in straight away. Gagging is when the baby will start gagging/ being noisy and maybe go a bit red, compared to choking which is when the baby is silent and might go blue. Each time Rory has gagged he’s spat out the food so I’ve had no need to worry so far!
This is a helpful picture to show how to cut up some foods for BLW, but I will also just google the said food and then put ‘baby led weaning’ and it’ll pop up with how to prepare that food.
Pouches have been useful for when I’m sort on time to prepare something or to serve along with a finger food. We took some Ella’s Kitchen pouches with us to Ireland and they were a good introduction to some mixed flavours. I’ve also heard good things about Little Freddie, Piccolo and Babease but haven’t tried these yet. Some people say these are less messy, but Rory is adamant to feed himself with the spoon so it goes everywhere! We have a waterproof mat under his high chair and he wears a Bibado bib which helps keep him a little bit more clean! The mat is definitely essential now as Rory has taken to dropping whatever he doesn’t want to eat on the floor (face in hands!).
One thing that did make me nervous was allergens. In general, the advice says to leave 3 days between each allergen you try. So far, we’ve introduced wheat/ gluten, egg, dairy and peanuts. Peanut butter is the only thing which brought Rory up in some hives on his back, so I’m going to give it a few days break and try it again. Fingers crossed it all goes ok! I got the Meridian peanut butter which has no added salt. Young babies can be prone to different intolerances and allergies while they’re little so I’m weary to keep an eye on Rory.
We’ve now been weaning for about 6 weeks. It’s crazy how quickly it’s all gone by! After introducing food after his 3rdnap, we introduced breakfast after the 1st nap and finally we’ve recently started dinner. It’s been a little tricky trying to get the timing right for when Rory will eat some food and not be too full from milk or too hungry that he can’t concentrate and wants milk instead! Some days he’ll eat lots and other days he’s not so keen so I don’t force it. I try to remember to do the baby sign for all done and get him down. Cleaning him afterwards is not his favourite (I’m sure it isn’t for any baby!) but once that’s done I take him out and try to distract him from being grumpy!
I knew that his nappies would start changing as well but it was definitely a shock seeing that first more solid poo and the ones that followed it! He has also been very windy which is obviously down to the change in his digestion. It’s such a big change! We also had 6 days without a dirty nappy which is the longest he has ever gone without one! I was doing a lot of bicycle legs and gentle tummy massage. I ended up getting a doctors appointment, but obviously the threat of lactulose was enough to make him go! He also has a tendency to go when he is in his bouncer so I also put him in that hoping it would relax his tummy! I ended up speaking to the doctor and had a catch up about the little man and he was happy with how things were going. He also gave me some lactulose for Rory in case he goes this long again without going.
So that’s where we’re up to…
I’m hoping to start cooking up more meals for him this week and he’ll try fish and pulses! Hoping it all goes down well! Tim and I love our food so we are really hoping Rory turns into a little foody as well! Hopefully by introducing him to lots of new and different food he’ll be well on his way!
Things I’ve found useful:
Ikea Antilop High Chair with a Nibble and Rest foot rest. This high chair was handed down to us by a friend and has been great. It’s so easy to wipe down. I brought the Nibble and Rest foot rest after reading up about the importance of a footrest for babies while they’re eating. It compared it to us sitting on a footstool with no footrest and how distracted we’d be. It was £19.99 + a 10% welcome discount when I signed up so was more than the high chair itself but worth it.
Waterproof mat for under the highchair. We have carpet in our front room so this helps save it from spoons and food being dropped on it!
Easytots suction bowls and plates. Tim saw these while watching Dragons Den and they’ve been great. We got the ultimate weaning bundle as it worked out better value. We got the travel easymat mini, the easymat for the Ikea Antilop and the marble suction bowl. It also came with free baby cutlery.
Bibado bibs. We got the starter weaning bundle. The bibs attached over the high chair, are water-proof, stain proof and can be wiped clean as well. They definitely save his clothes for sure!
Doidy Cup. My lactation consultant suggested this when we mentioned that Rory was refusing a bottle. It’s a slanted cup and helps babies give themselves a drink sooner than a upright cup. I have a friend who has been using this with her son since he was 4 months as he also started refusing a bottle and he has it twice a day with formula. She loves it too!
Ella’s Kitchen pouches have been good for every now and again and using as a dip for finger food.
Solid Starts – helpful database on how to prepare foods for baby led weaning
I hope you found that helpful! Any other tips definitely share them in the comments!