Towards the end of Summer last year a word that I’d probably only used once or twice in my life was now suddenly popping up everywhere. The word was weaning.
Since the arrival of my daughter in the April I had kept meaning to start reading around the topic of weaning but here we were at the end of summer and that objective was still sat alongside a few other things that I had wanted to do during my first few months of maternity leave but just hadn’t got around to. Things like “daily yoga practice” and “find a nursery place”.
I had obviously realised that at some point my daughter would start eating solid food, I hadn’t envisaged a lifetime of breastfeeding (!!!) but the ins and outs of weaning were a mystery to me. Knowing I couldn’t put it off any longer I took a trip to the local library and picked up pretty much every book they had on weaning and by the end of the week the subject formed the basis of my browser’s recent history. For better or worse there is something about my psyche that prohibits a propensity to “wing it”.
One sunny afternoon I bundled my little pile of weaning books into the buggy and set off to the local park, when my little one finally dropped of to sleep I stopped and began to read the first book – Gina Ford’s “The Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning”. I must admit I didn’t get any further than the first few pages, for once this was not because a stationary buggy meant had put an end to nap time, but because I was instantly alienated and utterly confused by the words I had just read. To put that reaction into perspective I should explain that I hadn’t read anything by Gina Ford before and in the run up to the birth of Little Chickpea everything I heard and saw was so overwhelmingly in favour of breastfeeding on demand that I never read about or even considered an alternative approach. So that probably explains my bafflement, and like at the time, I will now gently push aside Gina’s philosophies on and move on….
The next book I opted for was that ubiquitous book by Gill Rapley on Baby Led Weaning. “Hurrah” I thought upon finishing the first chapter “A parenting book that really speaks to me”. I hadn’t felt like that since reading my Hypnobirthing books back during pregnancy. Like many mums I loved the idea of including my little one in family meals from the beginning and offering her the same food that we were eating as opposed to mushed up ‘baby food’. It made sense to me to avoid spoon feeding and so I decided there and then that I would try weaning my daughter via the Baby Led Weaning route when she reached 6 months of age.
Now that I had made my decision on how I wanted to go about weaning I turned my attention to what she was going to be weaned on. One of the founding principles of Baby Led Weaning is that your baby eats what the rest of the family is eating. And, whilst I maintain that we were pretty healthy in those pre-weaning days and did our best to eat a fairly balanced diet, there certainly were a lot of foods in our fridge and food cupboard, aside from honey and those with a high salt content, that I didn’t feel comfortable giving to my baby. I wanted to ensure that my daughter ate super healthy foods from the start and that to me meant avoiding refined sugar and trying to keep processed foods to an absolute minimum.
As I started to digest the literature and process my own thoughts on how I wanted to wean my daughter I began to realise that this parenting decision would not simply result in a new one-off purchase or a slight change to our daily routine, but instead this would be the start of a journey that was to bring with it a fundamental change to our family lifestyle.
Thank you for reading my first ever blog post, I hope that you enjoyed it and want to follow us as we embark on our weaning journey.