So as most of you know, I have started this blog as a way to write, as this is something that I love to do. I want it to be honest, and I want it to be relateable. Being a mum is the most wonderful and rewarding job in the world. But along with this comes the anxiety and the mum guilt (who even invented that?). I started to experience this more often when it came to meal times, once Heidi, my daughter, was old enough to start eating solids.
The questions are never ending. And more often than not, the answers are varied from different sources. The best bit of advice I was given, and will take with me throughout my mummyhood, is to trust your abilities in being a mum. You know your child better than anyone else. If it feels right then it is right.
At 5 months old I started testing Heidi out with a bit of baby porridge. I had seen this everywhere in the supermarkets and it seemed the normal first food to give your child. Looking back now, I wish I hadn’t bothered. It was a complete waste of time, she moved her head away and refused to open her mouth. I don’t blame her either, have you tried it?? Barf.
Our next avenue was to move on to pureed vegetables. First up was sweet potato. She LOVED this, and gobbled the whole bowl up. It was super fun trying out all the different pureed vegetables and laughing at all of her facial expressions. She was a lover of most, except broccoli. The look of distain on her face whenever we tried to spoon feed her it was the funniest thing. She detested broccoli. In fact,she still does.
Once Heidi reached 6 months, I had started to hear the term baby led weaning more often. I knew what it was but I hadn’t really put much effort into learning about it. I was quite happy pureeing all of Heidi’s food and spoon feeding her, this way, I knew she wouldn’t choke and I would always be in control of the situation. Choking, was and is my biggest fear when it comes to being a mum. It genuinely petrifies me. So much so that I have two different apps on my phone which show me how to do CPR and I continuously watch the St Johns Ambulance tutorial on YouTube. I know, I need to take a chill pill.
As much as this fear is real, I didn’t want to let it control me, and I wanted to give Heidi the best start possible with food. I decided to buy a book off of Amazon and learn about BLW. Being completely honest, I got the gist of what it was within the first couple of chapters and never actually got further than the first third of the book. (Spare time is precious now!)
I started off with a couple of carrot sticks, parsnip sticks, cucumber sticks, bread sticks. Anything sticky basically. This wasn’t a great success at all, Heidi would just push it around in her mouth before spitting it out. I was a little disheartened I must admit. Why would she not eat the cucumber when every baby I see online or on blogs are eating it fine??
The next thing I tried was porridge fingers. I was quite impressed with my baking skills if I’m honest. I’ll tell you who wasn’t impressed, Heidi, that’s who. After a mere attempt at putting the porridge finger to mouth, my worst nightmare happened, she started to choke on a small part.
My automatic reaction was to yank her out of the highchair but by the time I had done that she had already coughed it out by herself. I was so relieved as by this point my whole body had turned into jelly. I thought I was going to need some emergency care myself. Drama Queen alert.
I learnt that gagging, as opposed to choking, is actually a safety response to food travelling too far back into the mouth, so when we see our babies gagging they are actually handling the problem and it’s best just to keep calm (or at least look calm) and wait until it passes.
Nether the less, this incident was enough to put me off the whole BLW journey. I quickly reverted back to pureeing Heidi’s food.
It wasn’t until I went to my weekly mum club [Mum club is great by the way, I feel extremely lucky to have made some wonderful friends whilst embarking on my motherhood, friends for life.] that I saw their babies hand feeding themselves food such as fritters, patties, sandwiches and so on. I felt the little pang in my heart knowing that I so badly wanted Heidi to be able to do this.
So, there we go, no longer than it took for me to hop off the BLW train, I was back on it again, this time more determined than ever. The first recipe I made her were some sweet potato & tuna patties. My word, I have never seen her demolish food so fast! I was so proud of my baby girl, she did it. She ate her own food and she managed just fine. This gave me the confidence I needed to experiment with more recipes. Next up I made her some savoury muffins. These were devoured, maybe not as fast as she inhaled the patties, but she still seemed quite happy to pick away at them and eat half while throwing the other half around the room. Oh yes, I forgot to mention the best part about BLW, the mess. the chaos. so. much. fun.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about our BLW journey so far. I will be posting some of Heidi’s favourite recipes on the blog for anyone that might like to try them. I really recommend A lovely little lunchbox which is where I get most of our recipes from. Let me know any of your favourite recipes as I would love to try them too.
Also, I just wanted to add that this blog is by no way in any means telling you that pureeing food for your baby is wrong. It is not. It’s worked for Heidi for the first few months of her weaning and I highly recommend it. I just wanted to move on to baby led weaning as a personal preference which is just as fine. There is no right or wrong. Whatever works best for you and your family.