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Weaning your Own Way | Guest Post

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

I absolutely love sharing my weaning posts on my blog. However I'm well aware it's very biased towards the baby led weaning route. Today I have Sarah from Toby Goes Bananas over on my blog, to share her weaning stories. Because everyone weans their own way...


I'm sure regular readers of Emily's blog will know she is a big advocate of baby led weaning. So when she asked me to write a post for her, I thought it would be a great idea to talk to you a little bit about some of the other options when it comes to weaning, and share my experiences with you. 

Weaning seems to be one of those things that can cause a huge amount of stress and worry for parents. Up to the point when you decide to start weaning your baby has survived on nothing but milk. If you're lucky your baby might have a regular routine, and I know with my eldest son Toby, when I first started weaning I couldn't work out where I supposed to fit solid food into his fairly rigid routine of bottles and naps. 

Current NHS guidelines suggest waiting until your baby is 6 months old before you begin weaning. Unless there is some medical reason why early weaning is recommended for your baby then it really does seem easiest to wait until 6 months (or thereabouts). 

So when you start, what are your options?

Traditional Weaning 
Traditional weaning for me conjures up images or puréed carrot and mushed up banana. To be honest if you are waiting until 6 months there is really no need for purée - at this age your baby should be able to cope with lumpy food straight away. If you do want to go down the purée route you can either make your own or buy them ready made. Having now weaned two children I have only made purée myself once and I decided life is just too short!

Baby Led Weaning
The idea behind baby led weaning is that your baby eats whatever you're eating (you just need to watch the salt and sugar content) and feeds themselves. If you are going for full on baby led weaning this means that you don't spoon feed them at all - some people give their babies loaded spoons, where you put the food on the spoon but give it to the baby to get in their mouth. 

Something Else...
When I first starting weaning Toby I had read about baby led weaning and I thought it sounded like a great idea, but when it came to it I just couldn't handle the mess! I was getting really stressed watching him put porridge in his hair, or smearing yogurt all over his high chair, so end the end we just took bits from the different weaning methods and we found our own way.

For us that meant that anything Toby could pick up without making too much mess (things like toast, veg sticks, fruit, pasta) he fed himself, and anything that was messy I fed him with a spoon. He still ate the same as us but without getting covered in food and we were all happy! From about 18 months, when he got better at using a fork and spoon himself, he took over the feeding and now he's a three year old who eats most things and is perfectly capable of feeding himself.

A mixture of different weaning methods worked well for us and so when it came to weaning my youngest son, Gabe, I thought we would do the same thing. But as everyone tells you, all babies are different and what works for one won't necessarily work for another. Gabe has had much more shop bought baby food than Toby ever had. I think this started because when we started weaning with Gabe, Toby was at nursery four afternoons a week and eating there, we would eat after the boys were in bed so it meant I had to find Gabe something to eat on his own. It soon became apparent that although Gabe would eat finger foods like breadsticks and rice cakes, he would just spit out anything more lumpy than stage 2 baby food.

It is only now at 14 months that Gabe is starting to eat the same foods as the rest of us and move away from baby food pouches. He did surprise us all a month or so ago though by picking up a fork and using it really well, even though he had mostly been fed by me up to that point.

My point is that it doesn't have to be a straight choice between purée or baby led weaning. You can mix and match and just find a way for weaning to work for you and your baby. And just remember they all end up in the same place eventually - there aren't many five year olds still being spoon fed purée!

I totally agree with Sarah - you've got to find what works for you and don't worry about what everyone else is doing! Thank you so much for popping over Sarah. You can find her blog here, where she shares posts about life as a busy mummy of two boys! Also make sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook if you aren't already.

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