When should / can you wean your baby? We have been told at 3 months by one friend, 4 months by others, and 6 months by our Doctor. We tried to make it to 6 months (current medical advice) but last night we began weaning, here is the low down.
At the end of her 3rd month Amélie was showing a lot of interest in our food, and quite frankly making us feel greedy. Usually a good feeder, she began being less interested in her bottle and turning her head away at times. We are starting to trust our Parenting instincts much more now so we asked the nurse about weaning.
She told us 6 months, and with Amélie thriving on her bottles of formula, and her growth rate in the 90th percentile we thought we would stick to the medical advice. Why fix something that isn't broken?
At Christmas Amélie was a little over 4 months old and was so interested in all the food that was around, and not the least bit interested in her bottles. We felt so guilty chowing down on all the festive food as she longfully looked on. Our resolve was waning.
About a week and a half ago we were eating kedgeree and Amélie was watching us eat. She had just had a bottle of formula but it really pulled on my heart strings and I couldn't take it any more. We mashed up a pea and put it in her mouth. We didn't even expect her to open her mouth but as Clare moved the pea to her mouth it opened wide and in went the pea.
We had been through books and Websites doing a lot of research on weaning. One thing stuck in my mind, and that was if you wean too early your baby will push the food out of their mouth. I was expecting the pea to come right back out and was astounded to see Amélie start chewing on the pea. I know I should get things into perspective, proud of my daughter being able to chew, something every mammal achieves at some point.
She really had a good old chew and then swallowed. So we gave her another pea, and watched her do the same again. After that we thought we would quit while we were ahead. A few minutes later she was sick, moral of the story? If you decide to try your baby on something other than milk, don't do it after they have just fed. Obvious I know, but I didn't think 2 peas would have much effect.
We kept exclusively to bottles for another week, but yesterday she looked so hungry. I know it sounds daft, what does a hungry baby look like? Well first of all she was grabbing almost anything and trying to eat it. My finger, her clothes, toys, anything and everything. Obviously babies explore the world using their mouth, discovering textures and what things feel like. This was different she was actually trying to eat everything.
She looked hungry so we gave her a bottle, but she wasn't interested. She drank a bit and then gave me a look, as if to say 'thanks but I'm hungry Dad, I don't want a drink, I want some of that stuff you tuck into!'. Then she tried to eat the bottle, the spout, the plastic, and then the handle. Clare and I decided the time has come to wean for real, one month earlier than the recommended 6 months.
Last night for her bed time feed we gave her some 'organix' brand organic baby rice. It's comes in powder form and you mix it with some of her usual prepared formula. Clare reluctantly tasted a bit to make sure the texture wasn't to dry or gritty.
As Clare moved the spoon to Amélie's mouth, Amélie grabbed the spoon, opened her mouth, pulled the spoon into her own mouth, and started chewing. Not as much as the pea, just a couple of chews then she swallowed. This continued until the bowl was empty, it must have been about 12 teaspoons worth.
We quickly made up another batch as she still looked hungry. Once this had been eaten she would have continued and eaten another batch but we thought we would quit while we were ahead. Once fed she really looked so much happier, we put her to bed half an hour later and woke her up again for her night time feed. She had kept the baby rice down and we fed her with formula as usual.
This morning the contents of her nappy were different to usual, but Clare had the pleasure of that little discovery, I'm sure she will fill you in on the details in her article. Amélie had her morning bottle, and for lunch I had a go at feeding her some baby rice.
We mixed up a double batch this time, I think it was about 1oz of formula and a couple of teaspoons of baby rice mix. I didn't have as much luck as Clare with Amélie holding the spoon so I developed a different technique.
I got plenty on the spoon but piled up more towards the front. I kept the spoon out of sight and said her name 'Amélie' and with this she looked me right in the eye. I then opened my own mouth wide and kept her hands away as I came in with the spoon. She copied me and opened her mouth and took the food from the spoon. Soon enough she had eaten the whole bowl.
I was thinking how boring her first tastes of solids must be, and remembered we had some 'HiPP' brand 'Mums Choice' organic apple and banana baby food. When I mention the brand I'm not endorsing it in any way, we don't have any experience with baby food, I just thought I would give exact details for completeness.
We gave her 4 or 5 small spoonfuls of this. I thought If I were a baby I'd much prefer apple and banana then formula and baby rice mix. She loved it and gave a lot of smiles, at times she made that face you make when you taste something bitter, but she was always ready for another spoonful.
She kept that feed down also, and we are just about to give her her next feed. Baby rice and a bit more of the apple and banana purée. In fact Clare is waiting for me to finish this article, so I shall have to get to it.
Please do send in any tips you have on feeding and weaning and we will try them out.