The topic of the week has to be food…
My Ten Tips To Help Your Children To Be Mindful At Mealtimes was published for Easter, (MalExtra and FemaleFirst) and one of my friends also asked me a question about baby led weaning… basically what did I do with my two children?
I unintentionally did a combination of non led-weaning and led-weaning… Not that I knew what I was doing at the time…. In fact, I was rubbish at this food switch with my son (now seven years-old). I was a first-time mum, and needed to ask everyone how they did it, and it was difficult trying to ensure my son had a healthy balance of everything, plus enough water. (Water was so important, as he suffered from constipation, moving onto solids).
My son loved blueberries and cucumber, and I spent the most part of after mealtimes clearing up small pieces of food from all over the floor and at the same time cursing the fact I had to it… Couscous was a bad idea.
It is a strange time of parenting, because you just get the hang of the milk routine, and it then changes all over again… But by son has a fantastic appetite now, so I somehow got something right I guess!
It is not only varied with his favourite foods being veg and seafood, but he will try anything, even if he decides that he doesn’t want it again afterwards, (mostly anything I bake)… thank goodness for the chef of the house – my husband! It is amazing the talent one discovers out of necessity… I just gave up cooking one day, as I had too many other things to do, and there we have it – a chef was born.
My daughter is also a great eater, and I just fell into the same combination of feeding with her. And even though it is really encouraged to do baby led-weaning, how many of us are going to stick to just that if it doesn’t suit? The point is, we want our babies to be nourished, so if led-weaning suits you and your family that is absolutely fine – try not to feel pressured by what anyone else advises, including me!
Go with your instinct, and remember your baby has to fit into your lifestyle too. I was moving back from Australia to England when my daughter was six months. The travelling was fine, and she was an angel… and I didn’t pressure myself about her eating pre-packed food… I just wanted to have plenty of it… We had three weeks in America and had to do another journey – so for a couple of months my daughter was a convenience baby at mealtimes. Was I going to chance her making a massive mess? Or not eating at all? Or choking on the plane? Of course not! So organic pouches became my friend and her main source of solids for those days in hotels, staying with family and flying.
It is good to keep an eye on your baby when he or she is eating on their own. My daughter doesn’t have a dummy so she tries to eat everything, and babies explore new textures this way don’t they? Learning about the world in the most instinctive ways… And this is what I told myself after she ate a woodlouse, which I guess is protein. I also reminded myself of this after she ate grass and threw up on a tennis club’s lawn… I was jet-lagged at the time, but sprung into action to assist her with her cat-like grass ball regurgitation.
My daughter also mistook a colourful washing up capsule for food, and was rushed to hospital for several hours of observation after vomiting… but she was fine… Phew! So these are not eating habits that I would encourage – obviously! My point is babies can not distinguish between what is safe food and what isn’t safe food, or even edible at all! Yet another challenge for us at this switch over time! Try not to pressure yourself about how to wean your baby, work with him or her, as you are a team right? Eat at the same time as each other, and if they show signs of curiosity then let them try small amounts of food; tiny bits! Remember at the early switch stage that they are just exploring, so feed them mush with a spoon, or give them small bits of food to hold, so they can work on their hand to mouth motor skills. Have a routine, try a small bite (of food) after their morning milk. Introducing foods gradually will help them get used to them, as well as time to adapt with the change in digestion.
Food is not a replacement for milk at this stage, just a way of introducing your baby to flavours and textures, and a way of including them in the family mealtimes. So even if you are not eating, smile with your eyes as you spoon feed the baby, and even fake chew to encourage imitation.
One last thing, your baby will likely push the first mouthfuls out, so just try again, but don’t force this stage, every child is different, and they do these things when they are ready.
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Super Model Hero is a holistic life shifting approach to fitness and wellbeing developed by Jordan Martin.
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