Shakira Akabusi @shakira.akabusi
🍼Pre &Postnatal Fitness Expert
💪🏽 Founder of #StrongLikeMum
💥Speaker, Writer, Track Athlete
👶🏼👦🏼 Mama to Rio & Ezra
💚 Lover of health, wellness, cooking and exploring this beautiful world we live in.
Ahhh weaning… it’s a love/hate relationship for me. With both my children I couldn’t wait to get them started on solids and take some of the pressure off my boobs for a change! So as soon as we hit the 16/17 week mark, I want to start introducing some fun flavours. As a fan of home cooking, I was determined to cook from scratch and bought lots of books filled with nutritious recipes and weaning advice. I decided that a mixture of baby lead for snack time and nutritious purees for main meals was the way I wanted to go. Introducing a mixture of flavours and colours from the start. For me personally, the visual look of food has an instant impact on how I think it will taste, so getting my boys used to a variety of looks and feels, was equally as important as how it tasted.
The truth is that what followed was again so different for each of my children. Perhaps, because I had more time with my first and could solely focus on him but he turned out to be a happy little eater and still to this day will try most foods and flavours… the second, however, although equally as greedy, was not as interested in diversifying his pallet. I put this down to a few key things;
1) The first is that my eldest didn’t have any refined sugar or high-fat foods (such as baby crisps etc) for at least a year. He was a winter baby so food was first introduced around the summer months. Lots of fruit and fresh veg available and the sunny weather meant lots of time playing outdoors to build up his appetite. In contrast, my second son was a summer baby, so weaning began during the winter and although we still tried all the same fruit and vegetable purees, they were point-blank refused. I began to wonder whether this was because, although it wasn’t my intention, this little one was also having little drips of ‘naughty’ flavours, such as a lick of his brother ice lolly etc…
2) The second difference I noticed with my youngest was that, although I still cooked from scratch and in fact, it was the homemade puree’s that went down the best at first, as he grew older he wouldn’t want what was on his plate, he would want whatever was on his brothers. As both my boys were at completely different stages of development, being 3 years apart, this often led to a hectic meal time, eventually resulting in two different dinner times. Now, at the age of 18 months, things seem to have settled a bit and for the most part, both my boys eat the same food, although it’s still not without hick-ups.
The trickiest issue I now find is balancing the art of distracting my youngest enough to keep him happy and eating but keeping my eldest in his seat and behaving as well. I’m adamant that TV won’t go on at dinner time but I now see why so often parents resort to screen time to help get through a mealtime. But for us the key was consistency. After a few weeks of tough ‘training’, my boys got used to the fact that dinner time meant sitting in seats and finishing meal. I’m also always sure to monitor the number of small snacks my boys have between meals. Snacks are a great way to “keep them quiet” when you need to get something done but for us, whenever the boys eat too many snacks between lunch and dinner, dinner time descends into chaos. We try to ensure we eat at the same time every day and keep the conversation and energy fun and relaxed to encourage good moods and therefore good eating… most of the time.