Each week I am sharing a blog written by a parent, taking some time to reflect back on their weaning journey and their experiences of introducing solids. These posts are not intended to provide specific advice, but instead offer insights into the realities of weaning from parents that will inspire, support and encourage you with feeding your own baby.
This weeks weaning story comes from Sally Gunn, whose blog Notes on Motherhood, I've been an avid reader of. She creates and curates lovely parenting stories designed to inspire confidence in parents. Sally's Instagram account is a really positive place, and one I'd encourage you to check out!
Marlo arrived in February 2019, 6 weeks before my husband was due to deploy overseas for 8 months. Although the timing wasn’t perfect, we were just so happy he was here safely after a miscarriage before his pregnancy.
Marlo was 8lbs 9oz when he was born and the 75th centile. Despite a very severe tongue tie he leapt to the 98th within a couple of weeks and has been above that curve ever since – in short – he is absolutely huge! At 18months, people have asked me when he is starting school and have clearly been concerned at his fairly limited speech – I always see their worried faces and have to quickly say – “he’s not even 2 yet, isn’t he big!” to which the reaction is always huge surprise.
We saw a paediatrician for something unrelated when Marlo was 4 months who (also very surprised by his size - at this point we were in 9-12 months clothes) advised that as a result of him being that size, we should start weaning early at 5 months. I sought further advice and this was confirmed so we set about it a few days after he turned 5 months.
I had read a lot about it and followed so many helpful Instagram accounts so I knew we’d start with vegetables, bitter ones to be exact.
I planned out his ‘first tastes’ meticulously and he would eat it all as fast as I could feed it to him. So, I bought the Young Gums cookbook and started experimenting so that he was having breakfast, generally porridge with some fruit, a proper lunch meal and another ‘taste’ for dinner. He really enjoyed the proper meals with herbs and spices and was still eating everything and anything put in front of him.
After a couple of months, Marlo became really constipated, was only able to go to the toilet in the bath or would have enormous blow-outs after days of not going. Having been completely regular before this, I was extremely unprepared. I saw the GP who prescribed Movicol which he had to have ‘off licence’ at a very high dose.
A few weeks passed and although the medicine eased the symptoms, I was very concerned about what was causing it. It was suggested that I try cutting dairy out of Marlo’s diet for a few weeks. The difference was almost immediate. We cut down the Movicol and over the course of a couple of months, stopped it altogether. Although I breastfed for 13 months, the small amounts of dairy that I was having each day didn’t seem to have affected him. Marlo was having oat milk and dairy free cheese and yoghurt so I didn’t feel like he was missing out.
We were advised that we should try introducing dairy again via the milk ladder which we did slowly once Marlo turned one. Fortunately (fingers crossed) we haven’t any further bouts of serious constipation since reintroducing it.
We have, however, had a real period of fussiness around 15 months. Despite having thought I’d done everything ‘right’ to reduce the chances of that happening, he just decided to refuse nearly all of some meals (often things he had wolfed down the day before).
2 pieces of advice got me through – 1, to try to keep mealtimes as stress-free as possible which meant just accepting it if he didn’t want a meal and 2, not faffing around offering a million alternatives and to look at what he had eaten over the course of a week or two rather than just a day. The second one never failed to reassure me and I can’t recommend it enough.
So here we are at 18 months and most days, he eats everything in sight, but some days he doesn’t and more than anything, that has taught me to trust him. He eats when he is hungry and doesn’t when he isn’t and he is grown up enough to decide that for himself.
If you are keen to share your own story about introducing solids, I would love to hear from you over on my instagram page.
And if you are just at the start of your weaning journey and would like to know more about how to recognise when your baby is ready, or what those signs might look like, you can join my monthly online weaning workshops.