Gosh, this post is a long time coming. My boy is a year old now, and has been eating for nearly seven months.
Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to be asked to be part of the HiPP Organic Moments team, recording our weaning journey in all its glory.
I was eager to say yes, because by coincidence, HiPP had been my primary choice of jar food this time round, so it seemed a very natural fit.
I thought what might be useful to anybody attempting the weaning journey in the next few weeks would be to talk about my honest experiences.
Oh, and, I’ve got the best weaning tip ever for you, scroll down if you want to save yourselves no end of mess….
I’m going to leave my son’s allergies to one side here, apart from to say that on all weaning products, HiPP or otherwise, the ingredients are clearly labelled. Also, these tips are based on experiences of my children, who don’t have any physical or developmental additional needs, and may not suit every parent.
Don’t be rushed
I remember feeling like I was standing on a motorway central reservation with my baby girl, who was not interested in food, whilst all these friends of of mine with their babies who were two weeks older than mine, or one month younger, were riding the food fast lane to happiness.
I persisted in feeding her and she wasn’t interested. I’m pretty sure I did it because I thought I should be.
March to the beat of your own drum, trust your gut, and your baby’s. Don’t just do it because everyone else is.
Don’t worry about progress
The list of foods Tibbs would eat by one was smaller than the list of foods my son would eat by six months.
He still eats more variety and volume than her, and he’s 3.5yrs younger.
She won’t even eat cake that doesn’t have chocolate in it. He’ll eat mud cake.
Both of them are FINE
Do keep trying
If they throw a wobbly about something one day, they may still love it the next. Don’t assume they will never want it again.
If you are using jars, or pouches, perhaps decant some into a smaller container and save the rest for the next day, rather than heating it all up at once.
Mix it up
Using pouches and jars to help babies understand first tastes can be pretty economical. Alongside using pre-prepared foods, I also made my own purees and mashes. My son progressed really quickly in terms of how much he wanted to eat, so I mixed some of the HiPP jars with some of my own creations sometimes, to add texture. HiPP sent me a brilliant sample of pure peas, which worked really well with mashed potato and mashed carrot, for example.
There’s no shame in favourites
Our boy’s favourite from the start was HiPP spag bol, both the first one, and the more textured one. He would have had it for three meals a day. So I always kept a jar in the baby bag, because, as you are probably discovering, there’s a lot of frustration when you know they are hungry but won’t eat what you are trying to give them.
Don’t take it personally
I have cried, in my time as a mum, when the stuff I have made gets thrown, snubbed, spilt or ignored. I’ve spent time making it into funny shapes, cutting silly sandwiches, etc.
Don’t listen to people who are also weaning, who comment on your choices for your baby (unless you’ve gone bonkers and given them a Phal and a can of pop, then expect rage!).
In the summer we went to a party where there were lots of similar age babies. All around, parents were delicately spooning food into their first-borns from nicely heated meals. I looked down at my son, sucking down his second pouch straight from the nozzle (he has never had the patience for a spoon on the pouches). I remembered what it was like when Tibbs, my little first-born, was weaning. It was a minefield. I felt a mixture of relief and guilt for our little boy.
He’s definitely benefitted from the match of his healthy appetite and my second child parenting vibe. But I’m feeling like I should have paid more awed attention to his every morsel.
A word on jars
Jars of baby food are fantastically useful, in my opinion. Not only can you re-use the jars and fill them with your own creations, they also make great craft stuff storage, give your eldest endless little vases to paint, and we’ve even got a couple as tea light holders now.
They are also recyclable entirely.
Our son has reached one on a happy combination of pre-prepared foods and fresh meals. As I write this, our slow cooker is on the go, making sausage, sage and mushroom casserole for us all tonight. Then there’ll be a fruit pouch or soy yoghurt after.
I’m looking forward to sharing some more of our weaning experiences with you over the next few weeks. This is how mealtimes are looking now…
If you’d like a bit of help with the cost of weaning, please use this voucher for money off HiPP Organic.
And that tip?
Take your rubber bib, and turn it INSIDE OUT. The catching lip becomes as large as a pelican’s bill, and about 100 times more effective for catching stuff.
Oh, and just take their trousers off. No point in getting EVERYTHING dirty!