Happy Baby-Led-Weaning Birthday Baby Bean! - Guest Post

 Today I am bringing you something a little different a guest post from feedingbabybean.blogspot.co.uk Hope you enjoy :)

Today my Bean turns 18months old, which means she has now been eating solid food for two thirds of her life. Yet somehow it still feels like we’re just figuring out what we’re doing! There have already been so many phases and milestones in our weaning journey – some easy, some hard and some too messy for my mind to bear remembering – so I thought I’d take this chance to remind myself just how far my beloved Bean & I have come.

We started 3 weeks “early” as Bean was showing signs of readiness and I’m very impatient :) The intention had always been for baby-led, yet somehow her first taste of solid food was plain old baby rice. I knew the reasons not to give it, had instinctively planned on giving banana first, but it was the “norm” and so that’s what we did. Bean was happy enough (perhaps more with the spoon and pot than with what she was eating!) and three days later we did it properly and gave her cubes of carrot to play with. The concentration was amazing! Her little fingers tried so hard to pick up carrot and get it into her mouth and I really didn’t think much had got there, but was so thrilled to see her trying. 

And then the next day, Milestone Number 1 – our first solid-food nappy. Oh yes, she had definitely eaten carrot...
From here we went through a series of phases:

1)  Chasing-food-off-the-tray-as-she-tries-to-grab-hold-of-it. The particularly applies to peas which were Bean’s vegetable of choice for practicing her pincer grip.    

2)Storing-food-for-winter-in-her-cheeks. Ah, the hamster phase! A lovely one which usually required a sweep of Bean’s mouth before removing her from the highchair as she inevitably wanted a breastfeed and couldn’t manage it without biting me, thanks to the extra supplies stored in her little mouth!  

3) Learning-that-an-entire-banana-can’t-be-swallowed-in-one-go. AKA, the dreaded gagging/choking phase. L Fortunately we didn’t suffer this one for long and Bean was completely unfazed by it, but we ate several meals on the edge of our seat and seriously considered whether our highchair allowed us quick enough access in an emergency.    

4)  Pushing-food-to-the-front-teeth-for-chewing-but-spitting-it-out-instead. Now this one lasted for MONTHS and had us completely flummoxed! Bean was around 7months old and had been happily swallowing for weeks. Then suddenly everything was being pushed back out?! We looking into whether her tongue thrust or gag reflexes could be an issue, or whether her tongue tie was still a problem, and then finally figured out what was going on when one day Bean got her hand to her mouth just in time to stop a piece being ejected and started chewing it instead. Eureka!

But the hardest thing for my husband and I was keeping out of it. All around us traditionally weaned children were picking up the pace and polishing off several ice cubes of puree at each meal, while our Bean half ate, half squished one chip! It wasn’t til she was 11 months when things changed, almost overnight, and suddenly food was Serious Business. From then it’s been milestone after milestone – eating with a bowl, eating with cutlery, learning not to throw (only after the 1001 throwing phases had been gone through of course!), mastering sandwiches and requesting specific foods. Until we reach today, where almost no food hits the floor, most gets eaten and Bean can eat most meals without a bib because she’s so non-messy :)

But for me personally, the biggest milestone has only just been passed today – accepting and believing the First Rule of BLW: that my baby will eat as much as she needs. It was my inability to trust in this that meant I spent the first 5 months of weaning periodically making and freezing batches of purees. And even occasionally defrosting them and trying to spoonfeed her (never successful and always far messier) in an attempt to up her solid food intake. Why? Because my expectations of how much food a baby should be eating have been wildly inaccurate! Fuelled by the size of a baby food jar, I’ve been expecting Bean to wolf down toddler-sized portions of pasta, chicken dinner and thai curry, when in reality if she ate enough to show in her nappy, she was doing fab! And if she ate next to nothing for the first year but had loads of milk, that was just fab too. So this evening I have dumped my purees and promised my blender that it will only be used for smoothies and soups. I feel free! I am no longer a closet wish-I’d-done-purees feeder but a fully fledged Baby Led Weaning mamma!

As it turns out, Baby Bean has weaned me.

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