Megan’s Weaning Story
Megan @oatcakeadventures & @birth-ed
🤰Hypnobirthing & Positive Birth Expert
💪🏽Business Owner, writer & podcaster
👶🏽Talking all things to make your birth better
Mama to Otis
Lover of Getting Muddy in The Great Outdoors
We weaned Otis at 6 months on the dot! Up until then, he’d been breastfed with a bottle of formula each evening which my husband gave him and we were all really excited to introduce him to food.
As any new parent does, we had lots of ideas in our head about how this weaning journey would go, some of which we stuck to, some of which went out of the window pretty quickly. (We were keen to avoid refined sugar for as long as possible – we lasted until he was 2! I also vowed I would cook everything from scratch… that lasted about 4 weeks…)
We’d been to a talk at the local children’s centre about weaning where they talked through baby-led weaning and puree feeding- both of which sounded incredibly messy to me!
The faff of steaming and pureeing in our tiny (and I mean TINY) kitchenette filled me with dread, so for us, that option was out! But we also felt like we wanted him to actually get some food into him, which might not happen for a while with baby-led weaning it seemed- they also didn’t do baby-led weaning at the nursery we had chosen (this was particularly important as I was going back to work in 8 weeks at this point.. and I was taking the boobie buffet with me!)
So we ended up opting for a bit of a mixture. I didn’t puree anything, but we did a lot of mashing! We started with boiled carrot- mashed some in a bowl and gave him a finger of soft carrot to hold. We spoonfed and let him get his hands in too. I certainly found, particularly in those first 6 months, that people (other parents mostly) expect you to pick a parenting box and then stay in it. You had to be a sleep trainer or a co-sleeper, follow a strict routine or fly by the seat of your pants, be a baby-led weaner or exclusively purees. But clearly, we didn’t like picking a box! And this way of things worked great for us!
We started with one meal a day, before a milk feed and after a sleep generally. Introducing a new food every day or 2, veg first then some fruit, cereals, carbs, dairy, meat etc. By around 7.5 months he was eating 3 times a day and by around 9 months he was eating mostly the same food as us, minus the salt!
I continued to breastfeed throughout the day when I was with Otis, on my work days I would feed him before and after work and he would sometimes take a bottle of formula at nursery. I think often people think you have to stop breastfeeding when you back to work because you will be apart for so long, but it was actually surprisingly easy- my supply was established by this time and I didn’t even feel that I needed to express at work (I did resemble Pamela Anderson by the end of most days though… and if I heard too many babies crying on the postnatal ward at work my body occasionally came up with a milky solution to get them to quiet down, ha!)
Honestly, the early weaning phase got dull pretty quickly. It was messy, time consuming and inconvenient! There was cereal on our ceiling (it’s still there) and the floor was constantly splattered in a film of food… So we were keen to get him eating our dinners as quickly as we could. Batch cooking for the freezer was great and we enjoyed introducing all sorts of things. He loved strong flavours and devoured everything from curries to stews, pasta to pies! We also introduced some pouches for when we were out and about, though initially struggled to find something that wasn’t just ‘apples’ masquerading as ‘broccoli’! I do remember (when I was hypothetically weaning) stating confidently that my child would never eat their food straight out of a pouch.. 3 months in, It’s safe to say I changed my mind.
When Otis was 8 months he started nursery, meaning he ate an even bigger variety of food, and I think he enjoyed watching the slightly older babies eat too.
3 years in I think our approach to weaning worked well! Otis, now 3, still eats most food (turns his nose up at his once favourite daal and rice now though and weirdly doesn’t like biscuits.. he is still my child, I swear), he happily eats fruit and veg, big flavours and family dinners. I must say, since mat leave my ‘spare time’ for cooking has diminished enormously, so you’ll find rather a few bowls of pasta and the occasional brown tea thrown in for good measure now too… Oh and he discovered chocolate at a party too, and once you’ve crossed that bridge there’s NO going back.
Over the past 3 years, there have been phases where he would genuinely eat more than us, a bottomless baby pit. And periods where he’ll refuse breakfast, have 1 bite of a sandwich for lunch and 4 pasta tubes for tea and be done (we are in one of those phases at the moment), but we’ve learned that he’s pretty good at regulating his appetite, and it’s never gone forever. It can change depending on if he’s under the weather, cutting teeth, growing, learning a lot etc. so we tend to just follow his lead with eating really.
If we have another baby I think I’d take the same approach to weaning, and cross my fingers it wasn’t just ALL luck!