Life as a first-time mom is a constant learning process. Each time you get into a comfort zone, it’s time for something new. Baby weaning is one of those, and a big one too. Weaning is when babies start to eat ‘solid’ food, as opposed to feeding solely on breast-milk/ infant formula.
I first learnt the why, what and how of starting solids in my mom’s group. It made me anxious even then, although my six-week old had months to go before he was ready to wean. The thought of feeding solid food to a four or six month old was nerve-wrecking, as it was going to be a first for both of us. And the risk, albeit small, of the baby choking – gave me the chills!
Can’t be harder than breastfeeding – right?
Breast-feeding was a challenging experience for me. It took baby and me quite some time to work out our own style and rhythm. Then there was the feeding every few hours in the newborn days, and trying to build up a supply of (expressed) breast-milk. On some of those early days, it felt like I was feeding baby for most part of the day. Therefore in some ways, I looked forward to baby weaning, as it would mean less frequent breastfeeding. That’s bound to be easy – or so I thought.
The first time
Weaning baby for the first time was a special moment. It required a bit of planning in advance to make sure I had everything, including a high-chair, feeding bowl, spoon, bib and sippy cup. I played it safe and started with infant cereal. It was exciting to watch the look of curiosity on baby’s face as he took his first mouthfuls of cereal. He did quite well too. It’s those memories than make your heart glow as a mom.
Embracing the mess
Turns out, babies are rather good at making mess at meal times. Baby created a new work of art off every meal. Abstract paintings on the high-chair food tray. Bit of face painting. Dash of (mashed food) product to style his hair. Splatter art on the floor. Or some finger painting on the dining table, if he can reach it.
As a mom, weaning meant finding a whole new level of patience. For a few months, I extensively cleaned the high-chair after each meal, before I accepted that it will probably never be spotless. Tested out several types and styles of bibs to work out which one was most mess-friendly. Learnt that it was smarter to offer few finger foods at a time, rather than a whole plateful. And that a reusable plastic tablecloth under the high-chair meant a lot less cleaning after. Weaning also brought about a baby fashion parade – as he needed a change of clothes after almost every meal. All of these meant that, by the time breakfast and clean-up was finished, it was almost time for lunch!
It’s a no from me
For someone with so little experience in eating and food, baby sure knew how to be picky. My little munchkin was no fan of banana, egg, avocado or potato. He learned pretty quickly that mom can’t get any food in if he kept his mouth shut tight. By about 10 months, he could say no to food he didn’t like with such passion by spitting food right out (splatter art all over again!). He started looking closely at what he was eating. Demanded finger food so he can touch and rub it all around. And he wasn’t easily fooled – mom’s attempt to sneak some scrambled egg with toast was to no avail.
Keep it coming
That said, there was also food he easily loved. Like any type of fruit, sweet potato, pumpkin, peanut butter, cheese and spaghetti. What a treat it was to have him eagerly finish up a meal!
With a picky eater in the house, I had to put a creative cooking hat on. I tested out different types, textures and combinations of food to work out which ones baby liked. Few that stood out:
- Kale and apple mash
- Weetbix/ oats with apple sauce
- Rice with greek yoghurt
- As organic teethers – asparagus, apple/ pear cores, orange peels
Baby weaning is an eventful time for both mom and baby. Expect mess, be patient, keep trying and have fun with it!
What’s your baby weaning journey been like? Share with me in comments.
Image credit: Pixabay, Pikist, National Heart Foundation of New Zealand
© Jan Perera 2020. All rights reserved.