Saturday, 23 July 2016

Introducing solids: 2 major milestones

Milestones rush by so quickly when you have a baby. I thought with my second child I would take more time to enjoy each moment and not rush my baby in anyway to grow up, but last week a milestone went by without me noticing until afterwards. Last week, while we were on holiday, we introduced Little to food. For some time we had planned to start weaning her while we were on holiday in France and I kept joking about her first food being croissant (it wasn’t). Holiday seemed the perfect time to introduce food because Little’s Daddy would be around and she would be nearly 6 months. 

Having followed Baby Led Weaning with M I always intended to do the same with Little. I can’t be bothered to make puree or spoon feed and the ease and laziness of letting babies feed themselves appeals to me strongly. On the first night of holiday we offered Little some of the broccoli we had for dinner and unsurprisingly she did what she has been doing with nearly everything for months; she picked it up and put it in her mouth. For pudding she had some watermelon. Both foods were munched on, mushed up a lot and periodically dropped on the floor. 
A nearly 6 month old baby in a white highchair, striped babygrow and white hat holding a piece of broccoli and considering it
Hmm what's this little tree?
Shot from above of a white high chair tray covered in small pieces of broccoli and a baby sitting in the highchair
Broccoli, the aftermath
At subsequent meal times Little was offered a range of foods including cucumber, crusty bread, peach, apricot, lamb, beef, melon, more cucumber and red pepper. She seemed to enjoy them all and after the first few meals she really improved how well she was able to hold the food. The majority of food ended up on the floor, but gradually she was consuming (or mushing up) larger amounts.

It was after a couple of days into this planned weaning that I realised that in the excitement of watching Little eat her first foods I had missed a major milestone. For roughly 15 months I had been the soul provider of food and nourishment. While growing her in my belly and later though my breastmilk Little had been totally dependent on me. Until the beginning of the holiday the smiling, rolling, giggling little girl was grown entirely by me (and a teeny bit of her Daddy’s DNA), but from the moment she swallowed that small piece of broccoli she was on her first step to independence. 

I fully buy in to the idea that food before one is just for fun and I expect Little to continue to take the majority of her nourishment from breastmilk for some time to come, but to me the beginning of the consumption of food is a huge milestone.

Little is loving food. She complains if you eat in front of her and don’t offer her anything, when her tray is clear she bangs her palms on it until she is offered more food and she gives you a big smile when she is given more. We definitely can’t go back now and I need to get my head round meal planning, shopping and having suitable snacks. It’s an exciting time, but there is still a small part of me that regrets that we started on this journey without recognising I was going to feel this loss and that I don’t even remember the last time I breastfed her before food was introduced. 
A baby sitting in a white high chair in the garden eating a piece of watermelon
Pudding
Our babies grow up so quickly and yet again I’m trying to promise myself I won’t take any of it for granted because there are so many last times which come with the first times e.g. the first roll is the last time you can leave them on a high surface with your back turned, the first crawl is the last time you can leave them unaccompanied in a none baby proofed room and the first time they pull themselves up is the last time surfaces are safe. Each milestone is an exciting time to be celebrated, but leaving behind their baby days is sad too. 

Please baby, don’t grow up too fast.
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