The last 4 weeks have been crazy. I feel like all I have done is work and that I still didn’t get enough done. Work guilt naturally rolled over to Mum guilt, feeling like I have not been doing enough with the kids and I’ve felt #MJM and I have barely had half a conversation. Yet somehow, we have managed to start #ARWMs Baby Led weaning journey.
For those not familiar with Baby Led Weaning, it’s where you introduce solids with a child led approach. You don’t give them any purees and you don’t feed them yourself, or use a spoon. Instead they join you at the table and on the whole, eat what you eat, (bar the obvious salt, sugar, chilli etc.). We followed this approach with #SHJM and loved it, so were keen to do it with #ARWM too. #MJM and I have been very child led in our parenting approach and we saw no reason to not have it that way with eating. The boys learned to eat when they were ready (for #SHJM this was five and a half months, for #ARWM six and a half). They choose how much of what, they want to eat from their plate, (or in #ARWMs case the pile on the table) and they decided when they are full and finished.
Let’s be honest though, would I even be a proper Mother, if I didn’t have irrational freak outs from time to time that my kids were starving themselves? Or malnourished? #SHJM is in age 5-6 clothes having just turned 3 and #ARWM is fast out growing his 9-12 months clothes at 7 months. Clearly neither are short of calories. Yet like us adults, #SHJM goes through phases of having days when he can’t stop eating and days when he survives on single grains of rice.
Now we are starting again, I am reminded of the realities of weaning; It’s really messy, outfits need to be changed after every meal and I really hate bananas and raisins.
Yet I am also reminded, of some of the great advice I have been given along the way, that I am reapplying, as well as the stages and phases they go through when learning to eat. And how their taste buds change and develop. So, these are the main things I’m (trying) to remember, as we start the journey all over again, and let’s be honest it’s a great re-cap for how I approach meal times with #SHJM too.
1. Food should be fun, eating should be for pleasure. Kids love playing and exploring, so let them do that with their food and it will be an all-around better experience for everyone. Food is so much more than nourishment. Tastes, textures, temperatures can all be part of the meal time fun.
2. Aim for a balanced diet over a week, not a meal or a day. Some days #SHJM will eat fruit exclusively, the next he wants carbs, the next pick all the meat out of a beef stir-fry and I realise he’s on a protein run. I need to trust that he and his body know how to get the right nutrients and calories, when he needs them.
3. It’s ok not to like something, or not to want to eat it. After 9 years with #MJM I am begrudgingly accepting he doesn’t like what he doesn’t like. I am not going to be able to make fish pie for him, or for us to share my favourite dessert of Apple Crumble, as he just doesn’t like them. I have to trust the same with the boys. So far #SHJM doesn’t like carrots or raw tomatoes. To the point he recently asked me to pick grated carrot out of a spring roll for him. I politely explained that was near on impossible and gave him the option of eating it anyway, or choosing something else to eat. He chose to go swimming; toddler logic.
Mummy Milne xx