Daisy is fully embracing this eating thing! So far it’s been an absolute pleasure to introduce her to food – she’s enjoying everything we’re offering, really quickly getting the hang of biting, chewing and swallowing, doing really well with loaded spoons, loving being a part of family mealtimes, and basically she appears to be a natural at BLW! She’s been joining in three mealtimes a day every day since she turned six months (two weeks ago), and I can’t even remember now the list of things she’s tried. Sometimes she does have something different from the rest of us (she’s been having a lot of roast sweet potato wedges and steamed green beans and courgette from the garden) but often she really is just having a bit of whatever we’re having, for example, tonight we had cheese, onion and courgette quiche with boiled new potatoes, peas and green beans, and she had a little bit of everything. I’d just made sure not to add any additional salt to the pastry and the quiche filling. She’s also had a few tastes of meat now – the first time accidentally when Dan was messing about with his own food, flailed his fork in the air, his piece of sausage flew off and landed on Daisy’s tray, and she had it in her mouth before anyone could do anything about it!
She’s enjoying all kinds of fruit – (long may this last; her big brother is a ‘fruit refuser’) – and has munched and squashed her way through wedges of nectarine, pear, pineapple and fist-sized strawberries. Banana is a bit harder to keep a hold of, but today she had mashed banana mixed into her Greek yoghurt and oats at breakfast time, and this went down an absolute treat. She’s had Weetabix for breakfast once; only once. Never again. Well, not until her aim has significantly improved! I figure there are plenty of breakfast options in the world so I don’t need to make life hard for myself by including one of the messiest and hardest to clean up substances known to man on a regular basis! My early intentions to keep her away from sugary treats haven’t been very well maintained, and she’s now also tried ice cream, scones, flapjack, oat biscuit and a little piece of Twix that was part of Dan’s birthday cake decoration last weekend. She’s loved all of this stuff. Obviously.
Daisy is an awesome sleeper and moving onto solids has barely affected this. She spontaneously stopped night-time breastfeeding at 10 weeks old and from then has slept consistently for around 11 hours solid every night. I know. We are truly blessed. Since she started on solids, there has been one night when she was quite unsettled for half an hour or so in the middle of the night and I did wonder if this was because she’d eaten a particularly hearty meal quite close to bedtime (but we were also staying at my Dad’s, where the heating is usually on full blast whatever the weather, so she may have just been too hot). And then a couple of times in the past week she’s woken up crying about 40 minutes after going to bed, but when I pick her up she stops crying and just does a couple of dainty burps and then goes straight back to sleep! For a few days, she was also making a rather strange grunting sound from time to time, and I wondered if she had indigestion or was struggling with a poo. But she’s stopped doing this now, so maybe she was just experimenting with a new noise! She’s also gagged a few times (mostly on fruit), but has managed to recover from this fine and without intervention. One thing I have noticed, which I don’t remember happening so much with Daniel, is that she often has a piece of food left in the roof of her mouth at the end of mealtimes, which I don’t notice until some time later, such as when she’s next lying down for a nappy change. So I’ve needed to get more vigilant about checking in her mouth before we leave the table. Sometimes I need to carefully flick it out with my finger, but other times if I wait long enough, she will squidge it out of her mouth unassisted.
Daisy seems to me to be consuming a lot more at this early stage than Daniel did. She tucks in with great enthusiasm and the evidence of her success is coming through in her nappies. There’s still lots ending up on the floor, but solid meals seem already to be forming a real part of her daily energy intake. I mentioned last post that she’d already dropped a couple of feeds, and this has continued. From 8 or 9 ‘boobs’ per day before she started weaning, we’re now down to just 6 or sometimes even 5 per day. Having breastfed two babies now, I realise I’m something of a pre-emptive feeder, and would ‘top up’ my babies to my own convenience, so that they wouldn’t be hungry during journeys or during some activity I had planned. On reflection, I think this means I was offering feeds more frequently than they perhaps really needed by this age. With Dan, I think I was still feeding him 9-10 times a day at this age, but Daisy seems already to be actually replacing some of her milk feeds with solid meals. Today she went from 5pm to 9pm between breastfeeds, and with teatime happening at 7.30pm, this seemed to suit her fine.
She is so into the routine of mealtimes already that I also don’t feel I could really skip one for the sake of convenience now. With Daniel, at this stage I wouldn’t have had any qualms about taking him out in the morning without a solid breakfast if we had an early start, or letting him sleep through teatime. But with Daisy, I think she would really notice already! I was a little late to meet a friend for coffee this morning because I was so sure that Daisy would miss her porridge if we didn’t do breakfast properly before we left!
Daisy is also taking to water much more quickly than Dan did. She’s already getting the hang of the freeflow sippy cup – with a little help she can sip from it, and sometimes she does actually manage to lift it to her mouth herself using both hands, and tip it up to get a little drink. With Dan, I remember buying about five different types of beaker, thinking that if I just got the right style of cup he would be able to drink from it. But with hindsight, he just wasn’t that into water (and still isn’t). Daiys’s doing well with a spoon too – helped, I think, by the fact she’d had lots of practice with empty spoons in the lead up to weaning; the soft plastic weaning spoons had been one of her favourite playthings for months! Watching her eat now, with spoons and with her fingers, is reminding me of one of the main reasons why I love BLW – mealtimes can be a whole learning and discovery experience, rather than just the functional exercise of ‘getting nutrients into your child’. I can happily stare for minutes on end at the way she uses her hands in different ways, with a mixture of trial and error and success. And she has yet to tire of being sat at the table before the rest of us do.
To finish up this mega-post, a few more general reflections on the weaning process #2. I had forgotten somewhat about the hassle of cleaning up all the mess several times a day – sweeping the floor, washing down the highchair, daily (or even twice daily) baths for your sticky infant – and all the dining kit you need to take with you if you’re eating out. Daniel had pretty much moved out of the stage of needing bibs and his own toddler dinnerware and cutlery now, so we’d just about stopped thinking about this when we ate out. Now I have to remember once again to take the bib, the sippy cup, the tupperware of roasted veg…
The other thing I’ve been reflecting on is how much bigger a deal weaning is when it’s your first baby. Let me say clearly, I think this is absolutely the way it should be – of course it is; you hold a life in your hands for the very first time and it’s crucial to feel that you’re getting it right! My thoughts have simply been triggered by the fact that my new circle of mums this time around includes a few who are doing it for the first time, and their questions, concerns and anxieties about when to start, what to start with, what times of day to offer food, how and where to offer it, etc. just don’t strike me in the same way at all this time around. For sure, I did some thinking about whether it was time to begin, but now we’re well off the mark, it all seems much easier and much more instinctive than it did the first time. With Daniel, I had actually drawn up a chart of all the key food groups, vitamins and minerals, how many portions of each a baby should have each day, and all the main foods that could provide this – and pinned it to the kitchen cupboard door! Whereas Daisy is pretty much just getting stuck into whatever is to hand, and I feel much more relaxed that she’ll come through it all undamaged!
I guess I’ve also had chance to observe many more baby and toddler eating habits over the past two and half years since we did this the first time, both baby-led and traditionally weaned kids, so I now know that – within certain boundaries of sensible, responsible parenting – it doesn’t really matter too much what you do! Your child will grow and develop, they will probably choose sweet things over savoury given the choice no matter how much you dress up the healthy stuff or limit the sweet stuff, you’ll get into fights about this if you choose to, but essentially they will eat some stuff every day and in all likelihood they will be just fine!