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Ice-cube trays and mushy carrot - a weaning story
Baby Food Hints/Tips
Member Name: KLockwood75
Baby Food Hints/Tips
Advantages: Can be enjoyable, gives your baby a good start in life
Disadvantages: Very messy and frustrating when they won't eat
Weaning my son on to solid food was an experience I found enjoyable, terrifying, frustrating and very funny all at once. There's nothing quite like seeing your little baby laughing away as he covers himself in carrot puree, or the panic as he chokes on a lump which the blender hasn't quite managed to eliminate, the frustration as he refuses to even open his mouth for a meal which you've spent ages preparing or the satisfaction you get when he devours you weren't sure he'd like.
First Stage Weaning
I started weaning my son at 21 weeks - a bit early on current recommendations but he was a big baby (9lb 6oz at birth), was regularly draining 9oz bottles of formula milk and showing a great interest in our food. I think the moment when he made a determined grab for his Daddy's Krispy Kreme doughnut was the moment we realised we needed to go for it. We started slowly, a few spoonfuls of baby rice mixed with formula... he didn't look entirely convinced by his first taste, but successfully managed a few tiny spoonfuls. Next day, we did the same again with a bit more success. I followed this by pureeing cooked carrot for the third day of weaning - this was a much bigger hit, he loved it and took great pleasure in both eating it and covering himself in orange gunk! From there we progressed through a range of pureed fruit and vegetables - the biggest hits were butternut squash, sweet potato, pear, apple (which he loved cooked with a cinnamon stick), banana, papaya and avocado. Cauliflower was met with a closed mouth and a refusal to have more than one mouthful, no matter what I mixed it with, broccoli was tolerated rather than enjoyed, but overall the pureed fruit and vegetable stage was a success.
One word of warning though - when you freeze everything in ice-cube sized portions, don't forget to label your trays. There was more than one occasion when I looked into my freezer for something to be faced with an array of orange cubes and no idea whether they were purely vegetable, sweet potato mixed with chicken or fish, or even fruit.... Luckily my son didn't seem to mind the randomness of it all and would happily eat whatever combination of orange food I served him.
Second Stage Weaning
From six months onwards, I started to introduce protein and dairy into my son's diet. Fish was an instant hit - he loved it mixed with sweet potato, in a fish pie, or mixed with pasta. Meat has always been a bit more problematic - from the early days, he'd eat meat pureed mixed with vegetables (especially sweet potato) in a casserole type dish, a shepherd's pie or bolognese, but he didn't like it if he had to chew it. Even now, at nearly 2.5, he will only eat bolognese or sausages, everything else needs to be finely chopped in my Magimix before he'll even consider it. I introduced finger food at six months and started to gradually make the food more textured from about 7 months onwards and introduced finger food at six months. If we were out for a meal, we'd give him something off our plates to chew on - carrots, chips, bread and Yorkshire pudding were the early favourites. By his first birthday, he was eating what I considered to be a healthy balanced diet - lots of fruit and vegetables, main meals such as chicken curry, bolognese, fish pie, shepherd's pie, casseroles, yogurts and cheese for calcium, and very little sweet stuff as he didn't like the taste.
The Toddler Stage
Looking back, it's hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong - I gave him a wide range of new foods to try and he would eat almost anything. Now, though, it's a whole different story. We get constant demands for fishfingers - his current favourite food - and quite often, a refusal to try anything new. He's developed a very sweet tooth and loves chocolate. I try to limit it as much as possible, but I don't think there's anything wrong with him having it occasionally. We've had to be creative in getting him to eat different things - he loves fishcakes, so I've discovered that M&S do a range of food that 'looks' like fishcakes - this week the corned beef version has been a bit hit, and he'll also eat chicken in that format so I use them to introduce a bit more variety. Given a choice, he'd probably live on fish, peas, chips, tartare sauce (which he'll eat straight from the pot with a spoon), cheese, blueberries, grapes, cereal, bread, ice cream and chocolate cake but I'm still fighting the temptation to give into that easy option and I am determined to get his diet back on track.
So, for everyone out there who is trying to wean their baby, or struggling with a toddler who refuses to try anything new, good luck! It takes a bit of persistence and you've got to match their willpower, but you have to believe that it will all be worth it in the end. And try to enjoy it, don't worry too much - they won't starve themselves.
Summary: Persistence is the key - however long it takes!
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