This weeks weaning story comes from my very good friend and fellow nutritionist Jemma. Jemma and I worked together in an NHS nutrition team, delivering workshops and training other health professionals on various aspects of nutrition. Jemma has kindly spent some time reflecting on weaning her second child, and how this differed to weaning her first. I hear from many parents that their second child is the complete opposite to their first - temperament, feeding habits, sleep pattern, you name it!
As with all stories, these are not meant as advice, but examples of what weaning can look like in real life. They highlight that ever baby, and every family is different - so do what works for you! If you want to read the previous stories, you can find them here.
On a slightly separate note, you can see Jemma's gorgeous home on instagram @our.blank.canvas
I have lots of fond memories weaning my first baby. I made lots of purees in advance for the freezer. Would make specific dishes like mini fish pies, curries, etc. Our undivided attention would be on baby no 1 and encouraging him to eat and enjoy his food. He took to weaning really well and was eating 3 solid meals by 8 months and eating such a varied diet - so much so I really noticed a difference in a reduction in breast feeds.
Total opposite experience to baby no 2. She has been really slow to enjoy food. Much slower than my first. She really did not enjoy her first tastes which I was not prepared for. She did not enjoy sitting in her highchair, mainly because she still wasn't sitting upright unaided yet. She also didn't want any food near her mouth. I just had to keep calm, keep mealtimes very short and quick but to keep offering something each day. Slowly but surely she started to take some food. Hurrah! Any leftover veg from meals I would prepare into purees/mashed food to freeze so it never felt like I was wasting much food or putting loads of effort in when it was likely to get rejected in those early days. But 2 months on and she has progressed well and is now actually eating food, so much so her poos have now become solid (tmi?)!
What I've learnt so far weaning baby no 2:
Child no 1 is the distraction. She just stares and laughs at her big bro. He has also got involved and help spoon feed her which is lovely to see. We talk about what she's eating and if she likes it etc. Not always but does encourage him to eat too! A few meals times though he's had a few epic tantrums over something trivial like wanting his sister's cup, which means the environment has been very noisy so it's not always the idyllic chilled atmosphere you'd want! Also it's difficult to give baby no 2 your full undivided attention when child no 1 is having tantrums or getting down from the table for the 10th time!
You're tired from looking after 2 small humans and you can't be arsed to prepare specific meals like you did with baby no 1. Also you don't have the time to meal prep! It's so much easier to give what you're having and adapt the texture so it's suitable.
Having introduced one baby already to solid foods, the second time does feel more relaxed but you still worry and compare to your first (like all the time!)
One bonus is that we already have an established routine so the 2nd child just joins in. Although I have to sometimes feed her earlier in the evening if I feel she is getting too tired but that doesn't always work depending on what we're doing.
Whether it's your first baby, or second or even third etc, you might want a bit of extra support when it comes to weaning.
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!
I also offer a limited number of 1:1 support sessions each month, for if you're really struggling with any aspect of weaning and need a bit more focused help. You read more about this, and how I've helped other mums, here.