I started weaning Ethan Bear on the day he turned 6 months. It was also the day of his big brother - Jack's - 2 year anniversary (Jack was stillborn on 29th July 2008). We broke down at the crematorium and my fiancee's dad came to pick us up and we went looking for a new car. My father-in-law to be put the childlock on the car by accident and I was stuck in the back with Ethan. I was banging on the door and window and shouting to no avail. So I got out a bit of cucumber from my bag and the process began. I remember being so scared to begin with, watching my baby hold the cucumber up to his mouth and marvelling as he sucked on it and chewed just like it was the most natural thing in the world.
The next couple of weeks were a frenzy of various fruits and vegetables, meats and grains. Ethan tried massaman curry, tropical fruit, steak and blueberry pancakes. I began having to explain the process to sceptical relatives.
Here's my top ten catchphrases that are forever repeated:
1. Are you sure he should be having that so soon?
2. Aren't you going to mash that up for him?
3. I think that flavour will be too much for him!
4. I don't think he likes that.
5. Can he have chocolate and cakes now then?
6. Aren't you going to eat that up for Mummy, Ethan?
7. Does he skip a lot of meals?
8. You don't give him that do you?
9. It's very messy, isn't it?
10. We didn't do it like that.
Baby led weaning makes perfect sense to me though. Since birth Ethan has been in control of his feeds - breastfeeding on demand - so to allow him to do the same with solids seems obvious. As soon as I read the book on baby led weaning a lightbulb went ping and I knew thats the way we were going. My parenting style is very instinctual and attachment based. I listen to Ethan's needs and like to let him explore and it's so exciting now that extends to the world of food too. Watching him work out how to eat sweetcorn on the cob or a kiwi fruit is fascinating.
Today I have been formulating a meal planner. My inner geek has been released and I have a colour coded system to ensure I am offering the right balance of nutrients every day. It's really hard to get in enough different fruit and vegetables though so that will be my mission!
I made Ethan some rice pudding (my first ever...began on hob and I burnt the rice- it stuck to the pan and the milk boiled over so it hastily got transferred to a dish in the oven!) and roasted some sweet potato and parsnips for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. I will offer him some cucumber for a snack as he's teething and loves it and do a vegetable and mango stir fry for tea.