Weaning: 6 months on

I realised today that little Bear has been eating solids now for 6 months! Where has the time gone?!

Weaning hasn’t always been plain sailing for us, and unfortunately it didn’t help little Bear to gain the weight I hoped he would when he started to drop down the percentiles. I’ve mentioned before that, because we decided to early wean at 5 months (which I later found out was pretty common for prem babies), we had to go for a purée spoon-fed approach rather than the baby-led approach that I had wanted to adopt. Whilst doing this I always gave little Bear a spoon to hold which he would use, to varying degrees of success, to try and feed himself with. When I started to introduce more baby-led approaches I was worried and anxious – what if he choked? I always made sure that I had my British Red Cross first aid app open on my phone ready so that I could quickly refer to it should the worst happen. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had two scary incidents where little Bear has gone blue and it was one of the most frightening things I have experienced as a mother and I am so glad that, because I have regularly read through the steps of what to do with a choking baby on the app, I was able to act quickly to help little Bear dislodge the piece of food which had got stuck – both times a piece of banana.

Despite this we still tried to encourage little Bear to try and feed himself but for a while, unless it was a rice cake or melty puff (Organix ones are little Bears favourites), little Bear was just not interested in trying to feed himself and preferred being spoon-fed – most of the time that is. We soon discovered that little Bear loved curry flavours and fish was a clearly preferred choice over any other meat. But then suddenly he didn’t want to be fed and had gone off solids completely. Seriously the only things I could get him to eat we’re yoghurts, rice cakes, melty puffs and fruit breads (e.g. Banana Loaf). I can’t lie, I was worried but then the reasons for his change in appetite became clear as he cut his first three teeth (all at once). After this he started to eat a bit better – I think actually having teeth helped him to eat his food easier – but he was still not sure if he wanted to feed himself or let me do it for himself. Essential every meal time seemed to bring a new challenge and while he preferred my cooking there was now guarantee that he would eat what I made him – quite often the floor saw more of his food that his mouth did. It was tiresome to say the least. I also didn’t realise how expensive weaning would be, trying to make nourishing food for my son and buying pouches/ jars by Ella’s Kitchen, Cow and Gate, Heinz, only for him to refuse it was, at times, soul destroying especially for a mother who was worried about her son’s slow weight gain.

More recently though things have changed quite dramatically. A few weeks ago little Bear had Norovirus which was pretty horrible for him and meant that for almost a week all he had to nourish him was breast milk as he couldn’t keep solids and formula down. I had been told that he might regress with eating solids after, however the opposite has happened and since recovering he has been wanting to feed himself more and more… he’s becoming so independent. The puréed food seems to be becoming a thing of the past and baby-led feeding is little Bears preferred way of dining now. As great as this is, it is not without it’s challenges

and I would be lying if I said the shop bought purees have been completely banished (they are great for when we’re out and about on day trips) but little Bear is making it hard for me to spoon-feed him as he wants to do it himself. Although this has made mealtimes an incredibly messy affair I don’t mind – he’s learning and that can always be a bit messy. I’ve found the Munchkin spoons in these pictures have been perfect for helping little Bear spoon feed himself.

All these developments have meant that I’m having to find new ways to encourage him to eat a wider variety of vegetables as a lot of the pouches and jars would have lots of veggies added to them. One of my secret weapons now, to get little Bear to eat a rainbow of fruit and veg is to place them in pancakes, as a side dish at all mealtimes, and when we’re out I gradually ration out giving little Bear his food to keep him interested in it.

He is beginning to master using a spoon now and most food, so long as he can feed it to himself independently, is now longer finding a home on the kitchen door instead of his belly.

I’ll be sharing some of my more recently recipe creations over the coming days.

Mama Bear x

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