Introducing Lana to solid foods was something I eagerly looked forward to, so much that I even started a couple of weeks before she turned 6 months. She could stay in a sitting position and reach out and grab things, so I thought it would be a very straightforward thing – that Lana would happily eat whatever I gave her and would pretty much be using a fork and knife by the age of one…Turns out my expectations were very unrealistic!
No one ever told me how much work weaning can be (or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention), so it being nowhere near as straightforward as I though it to be came as a shock to me. So thought I’d share our (ongoing) weaning story in case any other frustrated and tired mothers happen to be reading!
As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t wait to start weaning Lana – partly because I wanted to see her wee face when introduced to new exciting foods and partly because I thought I’d finally get a bit more freedom as Lana would begin to breastfeed less.
The first thing she tried was mango pure – which resulted in gagging and a disgusted little face. I was so eager that I steamed some carrot and potato that I mashed up for her to try, but the consistency was way too lumpy and whatever little I managed to feed her came up straight away. I decided to take it a bit slower after consulting my friends…I mainly tried fruit and veggie purees, and when she was 6 months I also gave her some corn puffs. She didn’t seem to like anything, and just kept her mouth closed when we tried to feed her. I tried feeding her 2 to 3 times a day to get her into a habit, but all she wanted was milk.
Around the time I started weaning Lana she started waking up more at night. We had finally gotten to the point where she only woke up 1 to 2 times a night, so I was pretty devastated. First she woke up a few times a night, but when we came back to Edinburgh after a summer in Finland she started waking up wanting to feed pretty much every hour! Two months later she’s still doing it and every time (which is quite often) Matthew says it will get better I just feel like slapping him!
The doctor and the health visitor said I should breastfeed less during the day so that Lana would eat more, but it seems like she’s waking up at night to feed instead – so it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation…I’ve tried not breastfeeding her for a number of hours so that she would be hungry, but she refuses to eat anything but milk especially when she’s starving.
Back home I started giving her more purees, fruity porridge and more finger foods, such as toast, baby puffs, sweet potato, carrot and fruit. Porridge in the evenings has by far been the easiest meal, and sometimes she even finished her portion! I’ve never really gotten her to eat in the mornings (just like her father) and during the day I’m lucky if she eats a spoonful or two and nibbles on (plays with) some finger foods.
Last week I got to the point where I couldn’t be bothered trying to spoon-feed her anymore (I’ve been trying for almost 2 months), and decided I’ll no longer stress about it and just let Lana take charge by going down the baby led weaning route entirely. We also wanted to make sure that the porridge we were giving her before bed didn’t give her an upset tummy, causing her to wake up. After a week of no porridge in the evenings I don’t think the nightly wakings and the porridge are connected though.
Lana clearly wants to be in charge, so I think baby led weaning will suit her better. I think I kept trying to spoon-feed her for so long because it would’ve been a quicker way of getting her to eat more. But I now see that I need to let go of some of the control and let Lana feed herself. Baby led weaning is after all better for the baby’s development and hand eye coordination, even though it can be very messy!
I started giving Lana finger foods as well when she was around 6 months old, but I realise now that I’ve mostly been giving her the same boring things, such as dry baby puffs, roasted and steamed veggies and fruit. I didn’t really make much of an effort as I thought whatever I make will still go to waste. I now realise this is the wrong way of thinking and it dawned on me that why would Lana want to eat the same boring foods day after day when I wouldn’t myself?? And why would she want to eat those tasteless purees when she could put those new shiny teeth to use?!
So from now on I will make more of an effort to introduce tastier, more varied meals to Lana – hoping it will encourage her to eat more. For example, I’ve made the apple and cinnamon crisps (a definite hit!) and the egg free banana muffins (more of a hit and miss!) in the photos. I will also give her more snacks and aim for more than just 3 meals a day. I know it’s probably not the best approach (or the most hygienic one), but giving her a not-so-messy piece of cucumber or apple when she’s on the go doing her thing seems to go down better than when she’s sat in her highchair – which we now have to strap her into since I caught her standing up in it the other day(!)
At the moment her favourite seems to be cucumber, peach and toast, and plain pasta goes down pretty well too – the most boring tasteless things haha. After two months of weaning Lana is very slowly starting to feed more, but on her own terms. The other day I caught her with her mouth full of pasta! I have no idea how much she’s actually eating, but something seems to be getting in to her judging by her dirty nappies…:) She’s breastfeeding as much as before as far as I can tell, so she’s definitely not starving either.
Guess she just needs a bit more time to change her eating habits. I will try and not push her too much meanwhile.
x Nina x
PS. Whilst writing this she’s pretty much destroyed a whole piece of peach – a small victory!!:D