I have always said that once Austin starts eating a reasonable amount at each meal time, I would start to make my own food for him. Pouches can be so expensive to use full time, plus your baby will be stuck with your home cooking all their life so it’s nice to get them used to the taste of your own personal style early on. Nearly a month after we started weaning, that time has come! Austin was busy this morning in his Jumperoo so I got cooking. Today’s choice for the freezer was a tomato and cheese pasta bake with onions, garlic, sweetcorn, peas, leeks and green beans. I made enough to feed around 5 adults and spooned it into lots of baby sized tupperware before cooling and popping into the freezer.
The texture of my puree is very rustic – we don’t do food that looks as though you should be drinking it in this house! I’m also not interested in full on baby led weaning either – spaghetti bolognese on my carpet, in Austin’s hair and up the walls is something that’s definitely not for me. This leaves us somewhere inbetween with pureed food but ones that are lumpy, gritty and full of texture. I’d say the one I made today has the same appearance as that of a 10 month Ella’s pouch or baby food jar.
Austin had to wean early due to reflux so even though he’s just 5 and a half months old he has been eating solids for 1 month now. I did use super runny stuff at first since he started so young, but as soon as that runs out in a couple of weeks he’ll be on my homemade lumpy puree straight away. Even though I’m not going in for the full BLW experience (I genuinely think that would send me and my tidy house around the twist), I will of course be giving Austin breadsticks, rice cakes and other finger foods to hold himself. I don’t really see any difference between giving lumpy puree and giving a child pieces of whole food if you were BLW. With BLW, they’ll gnaw off chunks and would sometimes end up swallowing far bigger lumps that are in my purees so I’m sure Austin will cope just fine. I really want him to get used to texture early on to avoid fussiness.
As a nanny I came across so many fussy eaters – some children would refuse to eat for their parents full stop. Others would wake up at 3am every single night demanding Petit Filou. Not a chance that’s happening in my house! I’m sure Austin will try to push my buttons as he gets older but something that will always stay with me after a decade of nannying is never giving into things like that in the first place and it won’t become a habit. A child will not starve by refusing the odd meal or two, so what I won’t be doing is cooking him 3 different options at lunchtime just to make sure he has something in his tummy – I’m mean like that!
If Austin refuses to eat in a temper, I will pop his lunch in the fridge and he’ll be served it again reheated for supper. I’m sure he’d be hungry enough to give in by that time and if not, the game continues! I’m old fashioned in that sense – if Austin likes cottage pie usually but has a strop one day demanding beans on toast instead, hell would freeze over before I gave in. Sometimes I hear people saying “My 4 year old ONLY eats pasta and red sauce”. I can hear the nanny in me screaming “THAT’S BECAUSE YOU KEEP SERVING IT!” I know there are of course many different factors for why parents give in – an easy life, exhausted and stressed, to keep the child happy or to get some food inside them so they sleep well etc, which I can totally understand as being a parent is not easy.
I guess I see myself as fortunate to have spent so long as a nanny – it has given me the confidence to know that if you stick to your guns, it is possible to achieve a healthy, varied eater and a well behaved child at meal times. I do know that with all the will in the world some kids will still end up terrors with food, but I will make sure I do everything I can to avoid mealtimes becoming a warzone where Austin wins. He can push his luck all he likes but he’ll soon learn that whinging and demanding different options will get him nowhere with his mean old mum! I have to say though, I’m not always a battleaxe – every mealtime where he eats nicely, he’ll be showered in praise for eating so well, trying new foods and so on. In my experience this has proved great for encouraging children and teaching them that mealtimes are a positive thing that should be enjoyed.
So far I am very lucky that Austin has eaten everything I’ve given him happily. He’s tried all kinds of tastes so far – garlic, herbs, onions – he even has curry to try next week!
Are you weaning your baby with BLW or going to down the puree route? Good luck with whichever you choose!
Thanks for reading