WEANING STORIES - INTRODUCING SOLIDS AS A SINGLE PARENT
I am so excited to share with you another weaning story blog written by a mum who has taken the time to reflect back on their time introducing solids to their baby. You can read more stories from the series here. These posts are not intended to provide specific weaning advice, but rather provide insights into the realities of weaning. They highlight that everyone's journey is different and that there is no right or wrong approach to introducing solids, only the one that works for you. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed collecting them.
This week's weaning story comes from Gabriella Buxton. Gabriella is a 29-year-old Single Mama to 20-month-old Walter. Gabriella and Walter live together in Stoke-on-Trent, where Gabriella owns a yoga studio called Love and Light Shala. Gabriella is also a mentor for women with micro-businesses in the holistic wellness sector and is an empowerment coach for Single Mamas worldwide through her business Single Mamas Shine. Gabriella is also the author of The Single Mama’s Guide to Pregnancy, which is available to purchase in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.
5 Reasons Why This Single Mama Chose Baby-Led Weaning by Gabriella Buxton
Being a mama is such a TRIP.
Way back when I was pregnant with my son, I was naive enough to think that once the baby was born, I wouldn’t have anything more to worry about.
Then he was here, and we had all sorts of challenges breastfeeding… Significant baby weight loss, mastitis twice, cracked nipples, low supply, over-supply, biting… The challenges went on and on! So then I thought, “Once he is on solids, THEN I will have nothing more to worry about.”
That was before I realised what a minefield weaning can be! Thankfully, I have been following Katie and her work for a while so I felt a little more equipped to move forwards with this next task. But still. Solids = scary. At least that’s what I thought.
I chose to go down the baby-led weaning route for five main reasons:
1. As a Single Mama, I loved the idea of being able to do other things with my own hands whilst my son chowed down on his avocado sticks and hummus! All of a sudden, I could drink a hot cup of tea whilst it was still hot! I could fold clothes that hadn’t been sitting in the dryer for so long I’d forgotten that they existed! I could reply to emails that had been sitting in my inbox for weeks on end! It felt like I had my freedom back.
2. Holistic living is something I am quite passionate about, and I was excited to see my son intuitively choosing for himself which foods on his plate he wanted to explore first, what time he was ready to eat, and when he had had enough, rather than me orchestrating everything around mealtimes.
3. It was so fun to watch Walter discovering and exploring whole foods. He could see their bright colours, their shapes, and feel their textures for himself, rather than being spoon-fed a beige-coloured mush. And funnily enough, I found it to be a much tidier affair than the one or two times I was forced to fall back on purees.
4. Mealtimes became a mindful practice again, much like they had been before I had an infant latched onto my nipple every time I sat down to eat. We should sit at the table with my parents and sister, share space comfortably, enjoy conversation, discuss the foods that we were eating and start to consciously teach my little one how to move through a meal without him needing to understand cutlery just yet.
5. In terms of saving time and tears, it made more sense to me to transition Walter straight into solids than to purees and THEN solids. Skipping the puree phase meant that Walter is now a confident eater who is very much in-tune with his body’s signals regarding likes, dislikes, hunger and fullness.
All of this said, baby-led weaning isn’t without its struggles, and as a Single Mama I was really frightened that he might choke one day when no-one else was home. These fears were soon eased for me though, once I attended a Baby First Aid course, where I learned all about the difference between gagging and choking, and what to do if my son did begin to choke.
Today, my son is 20-months-old, still loves a night-time breastfeed, and eats beautifully. I attribute this to my choosing baby-led weaning, as it was definitely the right decision for our little family.
Fancy sharing your own story of introducing solids? Whether it was everything you planned, or a complete surprise, I would love to hear from you over on my instagram page.
If you're here looking for advice and inspiration ahead of starting your own weaning journey, then look no further! I run a monthly online weaning workshop where we will cover everything you need to know to get going with offering solid foods and feel confident to do so. You can join from the comfort of your own home, and know that you're in the reassuring hands of an expert!