Rebekah Shallcross @mamafeminologist
👂🏼 Clinical Psychologist & Researcher
Talking all things Women’s Mental Health
Mum to Arfie
Lover of second-hand bargains, leopard print, and cake 🍰
Ah, the weaning journey! I have to say, for me, this is when I really started to feel I was getting into my stride with motherhood.
I decided fairly early on that ‘baby-led weaning’ wasn’t going to work for us. I had a baby that struggled to take milk from a bottle and I was starting to do some Keeping In Touch (KIT) days at work, so I needed Arf to be able to have some sustenance whilst he was away from me. We, therefore, began introducing some puréed veg around 6 months old. His first taste was peas and he seemed to really love them! Still does! We also introduced some porridge with formula milk, which he also seemed to really enjoy. Giving Arf liquidy porridge with formula in helped me relax about leaving him when he couldn’t drink milk from a bottle, as this way he could have it from a spoon instead.
As we progressed, we also introduced soft chopped-up fruit and veg for him to try and I would share any food on my plate that he might be interested in trying. I’m not a big cook in the kitchen (hate it!) and so using pre-prepared, organic food, added salt, and sugar-free food was a lifesaver for me. Our current favourites are the Piccolo stir-in pasta sauce with the Piccolo baby pasta (which makes it so easier for Arf to heap a spoonful into his mouth!) as well as the Piccolo orange and green smoothies for snacking on when we’re out and about.
As you might expect, we continued to boob whilst introducing solid food. This made me feel pretty chilled about the weaning game as I knew that my milk was also providing him with a good proportion of his nutrition. I am aware, however, that weaning and the introduction of solids can cause anxiety in some parents. The things that I found helped keep anxiety at bay were:
1. Continuing to monitor that he was gaining weight and getting bigger in a relaxed way
2. Learning more about what to expect in regards to baby and toddler eating habits (Piccolo has some great advice on their website). Sometimes, as parents, we can have unrealistic expectations of how much our toddler should be eating, and having accurate knowledge about what are normal amounts can help keep a good and realistic perspective
3. Using a mixture of spoon feeding and offering finger food
Now Arfie’s at nursery so he has several of his mealtimes there, but we always try and have our main family meal together before he goes to bed – although again, I remain quite relaxed about this and if we want to have a later baby-free dinner, we do!
For me, the best part of weaning is the freedom that comes with it – I was no longer the sole provider of nutrition for Arf – what a relief! Also, seeing his growing independence in trying new things, having favourite foods, knowing and communicating when he is hungry, and also feeding himself is just a joy to watch! So thanks piccolo for providing delicious and nutritious food for little ones, and for making this hate-to-cook mama’s life that bit easier!