This is going to be a long one….. probably best to do this in a few stages!
So you’re probably approaching the six months mark and now you’ve settled into a routine, it’s almost time to turn everything up side down (quite literally).
I would always advocate the guidelines which at this point in time state that it’s best to wait until your baby is six months old. It’s also really important to look for “the signs” – things which show your baby is physically ready to begin weaning.
In the meantime I decided that I wanted to fully embrace baby led weaning. I read as much as I possibly could and bought/ borrowed quite a few books. I also signed up to all of the different baby brand websites for free resources. The Ella’s kitchen Pack was amazing.
I decided to attend the weaning course with some of my NCT group which was a very balanced session, informative without being pushy.
I also attended a free first aid course at my local children’s centre – this was really beneficial as one of the primary concerns with BLW is the risk of choking – so being prepared for any kind of emergency is always useful.
I started purchasing things from my amazon wish list – and also digging out items I’d bought at the baby show whilst pregnant. Looking back I really wish I hadn’t spent quite so much money on these items – so I’m going to share a list of what I had, and be honest about how necessary it all was.
1. Get a diary – note down what you try and at what time. Record skin reactions and any side effects which appear in nappies. For the first week you will memorise every single spoonful, but eventually the novelty wears off and you can get a contact rash from satsuma’s or the after effects of mango in a nappy and spend a while trying to figure it all out.
2. The high chair.
This is very important advice – don’t waste money!!
Whilst it’s lovely to have something which looks nice, looking back I really wish I had bought one of the basic ones from Asda, Aldi or IKEA instead of my Cosatto thing. Very quickly I discarded the straps and the soft insert because cleaning them was a nightmare. Quite often I took the whole thing outside to wash with a hosepipe because I couldn’t get into the nooks and crannies to get rid of mush. It was also quite a heavy bit of kit and I had to buy a second portable thing to take out and about.
As a side note if you’re almost ready for weaning then spend some quality time with the high chair – do messy play and sit your baby in the high chair during meal times so they know it’s a fun place to be. If they’re used to it by six months you’ll be off to a flying start.
I’ll be honest – I bought about six different brands of baby spoons, Annabelle Karmel ice cube trays, a steamer/blender, a stick blender, plastic bowls, portable Tupperware, sticky plates, bamboo portion plates and all sorts. One phrase springs to mind “all the gear and no idea” – I don’t know why I bothered with the blending stuff but maybe I needed a back up in case BLW didn’t go to plan?
Quite honestly I tried everything once and most of it got shoved to the back of the kitchen cupboard. The things we used the most were the little munchkin spoons and bowls – they had lids so were used as Tupperware for out and about. My tactic was to always give Arlo a spoon to hold – even when I was feeding him, we’d swap spoons and he would happily bang and tap and get mush in his eyes and ears and up my walls – all part of the learning process.
As soon as you start offering food, also offer water. Again, I bought quite a few different beakers to try out and never stuck to anything specific – this worked well for us because Arlo hasn’t ever been particularly fussy about colours or styles of beakers. The Nuby 360 took a while to figure out, but became a firm favourite until he got a bottle with straw.
Once you’ve got these basics you’re pretty much all set to begin. You can get different floor mats, or maybe a tarpaulin, and there’s a huge variety of bibs around too. Our strategy was to conduct meal times stripped down to the nappy – after quickly realising Arlo was a messy baby, to save ourselves an extra load of laundry we decided to start our weaning adventure at 5pm every day for our evening meal – and then swiftly follow this up with bath time.
6. Don’t forget the toothbrush
You can pick up a little one for less than a pound at home bargains. I gave Arlo his to gum at bath time when we began weaning and he would use it as a teething aid. Setting the association between bath time and brushing teeth early on worked well for us. I can’t quite remember when we introduced toothpaste but it wasn’t straight away.
So now hopefully you’re all set with the equipment and you just need to decide which foods to try first.
We went with banana – I think it was a success. I was quite alarmed when he decided to shove the whole piece into his mouth but tried not to react, I think I managed to keep the same tone, stopped myself from getting up or stopping and just let him lead the way.