Despite strict health visitor advice I had started to give Poppy some tastes of pureed fruit and veggies before the 24 weeks, she had been showing signs of interest and readiness in food - watching us eat, trying to grab at food, putting her hand to her mouth while Rob and I ate.
Purees were fine, and relatively mess-free unless Poppy managed to get hold of the spoon and catapult mushed carrot across the kitchen.
Not ideal when my clean washing is drying directly behind her high chair.
After a couple of weeks I planned to start trying some lumpier foods in the hope that she would begin learning how to chew without any risk of choking, which like most parents I am petrified of whenever anything goes in her mouth.
The lumps did not go down well...at all, in fact they were met with a defiant “bleurgh” and immediately spat out.
A couple of attempts led to her actually gagging and throwing up, unpleasant and frightening for both of us.
Then I remembered some information I’d read about baby led weaning.
At the time I thought it was a bit radical, the idea that you never actually feed or put anything in your baby’s mouth. Just put chip sized portions of food (easy to grab for little fists) in front of your little one and let them work it out for themselves.
After a couple of Youtube videos watching a six-month old chomping away on a pork chop with no trouble at all I thought it must be worth giving it a go.
As long as she was sat upright in a chair, I didn’t give her anything with small, hard lumps and never took my eye off her whilst she ate the chances of choking are minimal.
I was amazed by her instant instinct to grab the food in front of her (we tried peeled sticks of cucumber) and start to eat!
Granted the majority of it made it swiftly to the floor and most of what went in her mouth was promptly spat out if the chunk was too big for her to handle.
But the whole experience is great for all of us, the last couple of days we have sat down for breakfast, lunch and tea together and Poppy has had a baby friendly portion of our meal.
The progress in such a short space of time is amazing and slowly we’re starting to trust more that if we prepare sensible foods in the correct way Poppy is already on the way to feeding herself!
That’s not to say we’re giving up on mashed or pureed food altogether, the official advice is to offer a mixture of mashed and finger foods.
I’m not in a rush to remove any of Poppy’s milk feeds (in fact I’m dreading them weaning off, but that’s another post).
Its lovely to watch Poppy exploring and enjoying new tastes and textures and allowing her to experience them at her own pace.
It’s made me feel less anxious about the transition from pureed foods to proper solids.
I think weaning is another one of those contentious issues and many people have firm beliefs about the right and wrong ways to go about it. As with everything I’m pretty sure there is a happy medium and whats important is that you and your baby are happy, healthy and getting all the goodness they need.
Let me know about your weaning experiences. Any funny stories or food disasters you have to share!
Contact me via my email address: [email protected] or my Twitter account @CescaNaylor.
Read Francesca’s previous blog - click the links below
July 18: The day my life changed forever.
July 25: Its scary but awesome being a mum.
July 31: It’s not easy being a mum.
August 7: Life is on hold but that’s alright.
August 14: Guilty secret.
August 22: In two minds.