Well, by all formal definitions, Daniel is now weaned. We finished breastfeeding just over a week ago so now he is a fully fledged, all-eating, all-drinking little boy. Despite the gradual reduction over the past couple of months, the ultimate end of breastfeeding still felt as if it came quite quickly when it did. We’d been down to just a bedtime feed for a couple of weeks, and then there were a couple of evenings when I started to sense that Daniel would have settled down for bed without a breastfeed and was even a bit ‘surprised’ to be offered milk before storytime. So when a friend who lives around the corner offered me a last minute invitation to go and hang out at her house on Friday evening a week ago, I thought we’d have a trial run. I left Jon and Daniel as they were finishing off tea, on the understanding that I’d come back to feed Daniel if he didn’t go quietly after his bath and story. I came home at 11.30pm to a calm and peaceful house, sleeping baby upstairs, Daddy relaxing on the sofa! So, I knew now that it could be done.
I didn’t want the last feed to slip by unmarked though, so I decided I would feed Daniel the next evening and then we’d call it quits. I was quite emotional during that last feed, but other than that, we’ve had no problems making the break. I’ve been physically fine, Daniel hasn’t protested, and now we’re a week down the line and it seems the job is done.
Although that one bedtime feed can only have been making up a tiny fraction of his overall daily sustenance, finally dropping all breastmilk seems to have led to another step up in his appetite. He’s been eating really, really, well over the past week – putting away what you would consider real ‘child portions’ of food at mealtimes, with far less throwing, squishing or messing about (though he’s still very suspicious of a few things, including fresh tomatoes and strawberries, which don’t get anywhere near his mouth!)
He’s also continuing to develop preferences and becoming clearer at asking/indicating what he would like to eat. Although I present him with a range of different things at breakfast times (i.e. different things on different days), he has a firm preference for mini weetabix, and every morning will point at them on the shelf and say “bee-bee-bits”. It does sound very like a baby-talk attempt at the word weetabix, but I won’t overstate his linguistic skills – he makes the same sound several times a day when requesting various non-food items, so it’s probably just coincidence that his “I want…” noise sounds like a breakfast cereal brand!
We had bit of a milestone occasion today – went out for lunch with some friends and for the first time, we ordered Daniel his own food, not just sharing from our plates! So his first real restaurant meal was a huge ‘herby Scotch Egg’ from the tapas menu at Melton’s Too restaurant in York, which he munched down with great enthusiasm. The friends who we were with have a nephew who is four months older than Daniel, and were very impressed by Daniel’s fork skills (which are coming on in leaps and bounds) and general table manners by contrast. Although I’m still reserving judgement about whether BLW really gives the child a developmental advantage when it comes to self-feeding, I must admit that it was very nice to be told and I felt very proud of my little boy 🙂
I’ve decided this will be my final blog post. I started to write so that I could record and share our experiences of weaning, and we’re now at the point where Daniel is officially weaned, so rather than continuing with an ongoing blog about his general eating habits, I think I will stop here. There will be further stages and developments, but my two fundamental interests in terms of following a BLW approach were not to spoon feed and not to puree, and I’m pretty sure we’re well past either of those now, so I’ll leave the blogging on toddler-led eating, food fads and challenging table manners to other writers! One that I would recommend to my handful of dedicated followers 😉 is Science of Mom. She’s really interesting to read, and has recently been writing about her two-year-old’s eating habits.
So, final thoughts. Would I do it again? Definitely. Even if Daniel turns into the fussiest eater in the world, and even if he’s no better with a knife and fork than any of his traditionally-weaned peers by the time he’s three years old, I think it was well worth it for all the hours I didn’t spend pureeing vegetables and mincing meats, which we were able to spend doing more fun things together, and for all of the exciting and sociable family mealtimes we’ve had as he’s explored, learned, squished and smeared his way towards solid foods.
Thank you for reading!!