DS1 weaned at around 4 months and he was ready for it. He was already grabbing food from our plates and shoving it into his mouth. He got bottom teeth at 5 months. He took to food like a duck to water and when I try to remember what weaning him was like, it’s a bit of a blank. Since I have no real recollection of any problems or milestones, I’m guessing it was one of the easier jobs of raising a baby.
DS2 is a completely different story. He’s 9 months old now and still isn’t really having anything except milk.
When I had just one baby and weaning was a walk in the park, I used to listen to other mums talking about the problems they were having and I naively assumed it was all down to them not being relaxed enough about food, or trying to feed their babies when they weren’t hungry or some other parenting skill they were missing that I had naturally acquired (hah! how little I knew).
Now I know the truth – every baby is different. Really different. And it isn’t all down to your parenting.
DS2 has always been refluxy. From birth he spat up large amounts of milk after every feed, and randomly in between feeds until he was about 7 months old (I remember reading how it was supposed to improve at 3 months and crying when at 5 months it seemed worse than ever). It never seemed to bother him, only me, so I didn’t take him to the GP and eventually it did calm down by itself.
Then weaning. At 5 months I tentatively tried some baby rice. He wouldn’t even let the spoon in his mouth. I decided to wait a month. At 6 months I tried the same. He mostly licked the spoon, then learnt that he had to open his mouth, but wouldn’t shut it once the food was inside. Most of it came back out.
At 7 months I tried again. I read some weaning books and started pureeing vegetables like mad. He gagged on everything I gave him.
In desperation at 8 months I bought some stage 1 organic pouches – totally smooth. No gagging, but he never ate more than a few spoonfuls.
I spoke to a health visitor, who said to just keep on feeding him to “get him over the gag reflex”.
Since then I’ve offered food twice a day, but he never eats very much of it.
Then this stomach bug, and we’re back to square one. He won’t have anything except milk, apart from the weird overfeeding episode at nursery where he ate half of a stage 2 pouch (and then sicked it all up in the car, so much for organic lamb dinner).
Eight days have passed since the start of the vomiting, but he’s still only taking a couple of ounces of milk here and there, nothing like a proper milk feed. And no solids. And all-day nursery starts Tuesday.
I’ve been worried about how nursery will feed him for months as he’s been so slow on weaning.
So today, after making yet another puree up from my frozen stocks and DS2 crying after three spoonfuls (for his bottle). I decided this is not the way to do it. I chucked the food away (again), and gave him milk.
I’ve known about baby led weaning for ages, and have no idea why I didn’t just go with it in the first place.
As from now: no more purees.
I gave DS2 half a banana this afternoon, between milk feeds. He took 4 enthusiastic bites, grinned a lot, gagged on every single mouthful and then ignored the rest. That’s good enough for me.
I’ll tell nursery he’s only having milk until I’m confident I can provide him with finger food that he won’t choke on. I can’t bear the thought of anyone shoving spoons of food into his mouth and then him being sick because he’s been overfed. Makes me want to cry.
On the topic of food, the problem just evolves as they grow. Today I gave DS1 a cooked pasta and veg lunch because the nursery menu said sandwiches for tea. When I collected him this afternoon it turned out they’d swapped the menu around and guess what he’d had for tea? More pasta. Sigh.