Baby London may be a little bit young for the weaning process right now but I know the time will suddenly creep up on me, and now that I’m armed with a bit of knowledge I feel like I will be able to approach the weaning process in the right way when the time comes.
Week 3 at Nurturing Mums; a North London group I was asked to review, was another great informal conversation chance with an expert. This time we were able to pick the brains of Julia Wolman from Teeny Tummies. As a Mother of two children and a registered nutritionist she was able to help all of us feel more confident about how to wean our babies and all the issues all Mothers seem to have about giving food to little ones.
The first thing Julia discussed was looking out for the signs that our tots were ready for the next stage (but never before at least 17 weeks although NHS guidelines state 6 months). Signs such as our baby’s taking a huge interest in watching us eat and mimicking us or trying to grab food from us amongst other signals.
There has been so much press for baby led weaning which is basically a new term for giving your baby finger foods and although Julia advocates finger foods at the right stage she’s doesn’t solely approach feeding in this way. She also introduces a spoon and pureed food to allow the baby to try different food groups and different textures.
She also guided us as to what foods we can introduce at what stage in the weaning process, and what foods to avoid altogether in the first year. One thing I hadn’t thought of was the time of day to start weaning, some mothers try giving their baby’s their first tastes in the evening, but actually trying to introduce food to your baby around the time they have their mid morning bottle is the better option as that’s the first bottle that gets fully replaced by food and also should your baby need medical intervention (she wasn’t trying to scare us, she was just being practical and accepting the fears of a new mother!) then it would be easier to seek that during the day.
Julia passed us a picture of the types of foods we should use as finger foods during our baby’s weaning process, and what surprised me was the size of the pieces of food in the picture. She explained that contrary to what I thought pieces cut up small increase the chance of the baby choking (note to self: take a first aid course!). Instead larger pieces of food allow your baby to grab hold of it and put it to their mouths and chew or suck on the food taking in as much as they want, it allows the child to experience the texture through touch and be in control in the safest way.
Fussy eating was also broached, I’m not a fussy eater and I really don’t want Baby London to be either. Although naturally some tastes won’t be enjoyed by everyone, Julia recommended if a baby showed a dislike to a certain food not to be put off by it and to keep trying at a different time to introduce that taste. She said sometimes when a baby pulls a face of disgust it’s often because the taste is new, so not to assume its something he doesn’t like and to get him used to the taste by feeding the same thing to him a couple more times during the week.
The one thing I knew would confuse me was the amount of milk to give Baby London during the weaning process and again she helped to guide us by explaining how and when we should reduce milk consumption.
The advice we were given was invaluable (and the follow up information sent by email is stored and saved), what I’ve mentioned really only scratches the surface of what we discussed and for Mother’s who are apprehensive about the weaning process I’d definitely suggest being part of the Nurturing Mums 6 week group or contacting Julia through her website.
I’m already excited for when the time comes to let Baby London taste his first foods. Like I said it’s a while away so for now I’ll just enjoy him being little and exploring the world around him until he can start exploring using his taste sense.