As baby 3 turns 5 months old I am starting to think about weaning.
He’s a big baby, taking a lot of milk and has started waking in the night again. He’s also taken a chip from my plate and generally stares intently at me whenever I eat or drink. I think he’s going to wean a little early.
Now my first two were weaned at 5 1/2 months. They were both bottle fed so there were no clashes with the exclusive breast feeding till 6 months advice and were more than ready for food. They started on purees and followed a pretty traditional weaning routine.
Which was fine. I had the time to steam, blend and put all varieties of fruit/veg into ridiculously small pots. I would painstakingly put together weekly charts of different combinations of flavours to make sure they kept trying new foods and didn’t get too used to only a small number of tastes.
This time round I’m really not sure I can be bothered with that. I’ve seen two sisters follow baby led weaning and it looked a lot simpler.
And in principle it sounds ideal. You just give baby any food he can grasp well and that is soft enough for him to gum to buggery.
Proponents of baby led weaning will exclaim from the highest mountain that it’s amazing because baby will just eat what you eat. You don’t need to make anything special. No purees, nothing different to what you already make for you or your family.
But here’s the surprising problem I have with that.
I eat shit.
I mean, my diet is atrocious at the moment.
If baby eats what I eat then breakfast will be a mint aero and can of coke. I’m no nutritionist but that’s probably not good for him…
He’d eat high fat, high carb, low (or no) veg meals. There would be more cans of coke and then a bar of dairy milk right before bed with a glass of milk (or wine depending on the day of the week).
Now clearly I’m exaggerating but you get my point.
So here’s the surprising advantage of baby led weaning.
I am going to have to clean up my diet. Meals will have to be fresh. They are going to have a lot of vegetables in them. They won’t be high in salt or sugar. There’s going to be a lot of variety and as many different tastes as I can think of.
Now yes, technically I could prepare baby meals and still continue to eat what I currently do but there’s a big issue with that. Children learn from what they observe. All of my hard work to install good eating habits won’t pay off if I continue to eat crap myself. If I want my kids to grow up with healthy eating habits then I have to model those. Yes, part of healthy eating is to be able to treat yourself but it should be a treat rather than a daily chocolate bar at 9am when you’re back from the school run.
And I don’t mind that. We all know it’s important to be healthy. I was actually a lot healthier before I got pregnant but severely depleted iron levels meant that I got hooked on fat coke for caffeine and a sugar boost to help me function and the stresses of daily life with a newborn are why I currently keep reaching for comfort food. A lot.
I suspect starting baby led weaning is going to encourage me to get back to the way I used to eat. It’s going to help me to be healthier as well as make me take time to sit down and eat with baby to show him that meal times are social and fun. All of that is a good thing.
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