Saturday, 19 March 2011

Starting Solid Food and Weaning

I love milk, but I was really keen to start solid food and add a bit of variety to my diet.  I know the guidelines say “around six months,” to make sure babies’ little digestive systems are up to it, but they are just that – guidelines.  I was doing everything I could to tell Mummy I was ready to try;
-          I could sit up properly, so the risk of me choking was lessened
-          I put everything in my mouth; toys, or anything else I could get my hands on
-          I watched Mummy, Daddy and Big Sister eating and followed the food to their mouths
-          I even tried reaching out to grab food
Eventually, they got the message and I had my first taste of food at about 5 months.  Mummy gave me some baby rice to start with, just to get me used to having something other than milk in my mouth, and to let me practice moving something around with my tongue.  It was a novel experience, and thankfully, they gave me some pureed fruit pretty soon afterwards; I didn’t know any different at the time, but quite frankly, the baby rice tastes as good as one of my cardboard books, but without the pretty pictures!
Mummy knew that because I was younger than six months, I should avoid certain foods, like bread, eggs, fish, and unpasteurised milk and cheese.  And nuts, of course, but they’re still a bit of a choking hazard.
My friends and I are all on solid food now and if our mummies were to do it again, our advice would be:
-          Don’t rush us
-          Let us have a go – we want to try using our fingers, and it helps improve our co-ordination
-          Mix the first foods with a bit of regular milk, whether that’s breast milk or formula, so the taste isn’t completely alien to us
-          Don’t force us! Some days we fancy it, others we just don’t.  We’re like grown-ups that way – sometimes you’re really hungry, other days you don’t each much at all.  Sometimes you really fancy something in particular, other days it’s the last thing you want
-          Let us try lots of different things – it’s all new to us and we want to experience as many different flavours and textures as possible
Good foods to try us on to start with are baby rice and mashed fruit and vegetables, like bananas, carrots, parsnips.  I ought to say that avocados are a good first food, but I think they’re revolting!  That’s just me.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s smooth enough for us to swallow.
And please don’t worry about the mess – it’s inevitable!

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