For those of you just embarking on the weaning journey, it can be both an exciting time and daunting milestone in your little one’s development. Having weaned three children and spoken to many mums about their weaning experiences, through my company, Messy Me, I thought I’d share 8 key things I (and other mums) wish we’d know when we started weaning. Here goes:
1. THE MESS
It’s hardly surprising this is top of my list, given I was inspired to set up a company selling accessories to help mums with their messy little ones!
To a new mum, the ‘milk days’ can feel pretty messy – with milky burps down your shoulder on a regular basis. Believe me, weaning onto solids takes the mess to a whole new level… At times you, your baby, the surrounding area and anyone in the vicinity are likely to get splattered!
My advice – feed your baby in a place where he can do least damage. Carpets and clothes (theirs and yours) could easily get ruined by mealtime spills and splashes. Investing in a good quality splash mat, wipe clean tablecloth and some bigger bibs will help protect your home and baby’s clothes
2. YOU’LL BECOME OBSESSED
Particularly in the early days, you’ll spend A LOT of time thinking about weaning… has your little one eaten enough? Not enough? when should they try this? When did they last poo? Finger foods vs. purees? Am I giving them enough variety? Should I be adding extra texture? Should they be eating or sleeping now? The list goes on….
Once you start weaning, milk feeds suddenly seem just so easy in comparison. Trips out now involve packing a meal for your little one, working our where they can eat it, and careful planning of timings so they eat their lunch before they get too tired and fall asleep.
4. DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH OR PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF
Linking in with the weaning obsession, is the guilt many mums feel when weaning. If you don’t have time to lovingly prepare a freshly cooked meal every day for your little one, it’s not the end of the world! There are some great, highly nutritious jars and pouches available nowadays, in an amazing range of flavours, which will be perfectly fine for your little one. They are also not going to starve if they refuse to eat or eat very little at one mealtime. Particularly in the early days, they are still getting a lot of their nutrients from their milk feeds.
Preparing meals in batches and freezing into ice cubes can make preparing fresh meals less time consuming – as can setting aside some of your meals (as long as they are healthy – not too much added salt / additives) to puree the next day
5. PERSERVERE – A GRIMACE DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THEY DON’T LIKE IT
You’re likely to see some amazing new expressions from your little one as they try new foods. Grimaces, frowns and pouts are often just signs that the taste or flavour is unfamiliar, rather than a sign of outright rejection.
It’s also worth remembering to try and try again if foods are rejected. Studies show it can take up to 10 x for a baby to get used to a certain food.
6. BABIES CAN BE UNPREDICTABLE AND EVER CHANGING
Your baby’s tastes will evolve and change and it’s impossible to predict how and when they will change. A meal they happily gobbled up one day can be rejected outright the nest. This can be incredibly frustrating – particularly when you’ve lovingly prepared a large batch of their supposedly favourite meal, only to find they no longer like it…
7. DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU
There are now so many different approaches to weaning, books to read, podcasts to listen to, websites to visit… we can end up feeling completely overwhelmed by all the advice on offer. It’s worth doing some research before you start to understand the best foods to start weaning, but after a few weeks, going with what feels right for you and your baby is likely to leave both you and your baby feeling happier and more relaxed about weaning.
8. FEARS ABOUT CHOKING
On a more serious note, this is something I really worried about in the early days of weaning. I did a baby first aid course before I started weaning and would really recommend this – to give some peace of mind in the early days. Alternatively, there are a number of videos on Youtube about choking and St John’s Ambulance has some good advice on their website.
I hope this helps – happy weaning!
PS. Our full range of accessories to help with weaning messy little ones can be found here – messy me collection