How Jo weaned her baby
Guest blogger, Jo Middleton, has a confession to make about her daughter’s first food...
Children: Bee (15) and Belle (8)
Likes: Gin & Tonic, Colin Firth, talking to grown-ups
Dislikes: Housework, poor spelling, playing 'shops' with children
I have a confession to make. I'm a bit scared to say it out loud, as I fear it may be the final nail in my Bad Mother coffin.
My youngest daughter’s first food was nutella.
There, I said it. Lock me up.
I can remember the day quite clearly. I was in the café on the top floor of Debenhams with both children. My eldest daughter, Bee, who was seven at the time, was having a typically wholesome snack – a bread roll and a miniature sachet of nutella.
I wonder if Belle would like chocolate spread? I said, and we both looked at five-month-old Belle, slumped innocently in her highchair. “I bet she would!” Bee laughed, so I put some nutella on the end of my finger and we watched her chew on it excitedly. That was the beginning of one girl’s long and happy relationship with chocolate.
Just not interested in purée and mash
Now I know the rules are no solids til six months and I'm pretty sure chocolate spread isn't one of the recommended weaning foods, but then I’ve never been very good at sticking to the rules of parenting.
Where Bee was sat up, grabbing my food, and eating all kinds of mush at about five months old, Belle wasn't so easy to please.
Despite her early introduction to the delights of sugar, she was reluctant to eat or drink anything much other than breastmilk for almost a year. It wasn't for want of trying – from six months old I tried her with a range of puréed and mashed fruit and vegetables, but she just wasn't interested.
And who can really blame her? Knowing her as I do now, I wonder if it was just stubbornness on her part – not wanting anyone else to be holding the spoon! Whatever it was, spoon feeding didn't work for us.
Trust your instincts as a mum
It can be hard as a parent to trust your instincts, to trust your baby, but when it comes to food, it’s sometimes what you have to do. I trusted that Belle was getting everything she needed from the breastmilk she was still having throughout the day (and night), and decided to let her take control of her eating.
At mealtimes we put food out for her – sticks of toast and Marmite, fruit and vegetables, the odd slice of pizza, and she enjoyed being part of mealtimes. I don’t think you could say she really ate, though…
She was about eleven months before she started eating a significant amount of food – it was also eleven months before she got her first tooth. She’s never been a big eater, much more of a grazer, and she is naturally skinny.
Hard to stay relaxed about eating up
As a committed food lover, it can be hard sometimes to resist the urge to insist she finish all her meals and snacks – I just have to go back to her babyhood and remember to trust her to eat when she’s hungry and stop when she’s full. Ultimately, I'm sure that will lead to much healthier food habits than my ‘scoff-anything-within-arms’-reach’ style of eating…
Jo Middleton writes an award-winning blog about the ups and downs of parenting at slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com