This blog is written by Stacey Kelly at Your Very Own Story – the writer & illustrator of personalised children’s books. Click on the image above to preview yours now!
I exclusively breastfed my daughter and delayed giving her solids until after she was 6 months old. Eleni has never been one for sleeping long periods of time and has woken every 1-3 hours pretty much every night of her life! As babies get bigger it seems to be quite common to question if you are producing enough milk for them and to link their disturbed sleep with hunger. Although I had a passing moment of sadness at this being a possibility, I knew deep down that this just wasn’t the case for my baby. I stuck to my guns and sure enough, she is now 12 months old, eats her own body weight in food and guess what? She still doesn’t sleep!
My hubby and I have always done everything baby led so it was only natural that we would want to try Baby Led Weaning. I continued to breastfeed, however, at 6 months old we did wonder if Eleni was hungry and decided that we would try her with some solids too. We bought organic banana and avocado and lovingly prepared it for her to try. I felt strangely sad and emotional that day.
My little girl, who had been solely nourished by the milk that my own body had produced, now needed more than I could give her. It was almost like it was her first step away from babyhood. With a little tear in my eye I handed her the banana. She looked at it for a while and then the moment came when she put it into her mouth. The look that followed was one of the funniest things I have seen and snapped me right out of my melancholy state! With a massive shudder and a wince, she gave me a look of disgust and I’m pretty sure that for that second she thought that I had lost my mind! She continued to have a look of confusion every time we gave her food for about one and a half months and then finally, she was ready and started to wolf everything down that we gave her.
Now, anyone who has ever done Baby Led Weaning (BLW) will know that it is not like the pictures in the brochures. Your Health Visitor gives you a leaflet and in it there are some lovely pictures of parents sat with their very independent (very clean) babies who are happily feeding themselves. These babies are dressed in beautifully presented, light coloured clothes, they don’t have a hair out of place and are picking food delicately off of a plate that has been carefully placed in front of them. The reality, however, is that you have to strip your baby down to their nappy every meal time because even a bib cannot rescue their clothes from the food shower that they are about to give themselves! Their hair is matted with the dinner that they have squeezed through their tiny, little fingers and then rubbed into their scalp and let’s face it – the plate is on the floor (along with the other half of their meal). There was even a phase of about 2 months when Eleni got so messy that I would have to pre-run a bath before every mealtime and then carry her (or should I say dangle her from her armpits to protect my own clothes from touching the food that was all over her entire body) from the table straight to the bath. This was bad enough, but some days I came to take off her nappy at the side of the bath and realised she’d done a poo – it was chaos! How people did this in public was beyond me – it would’ve been impossible!
My poor hubby is a really tidy person and I have somewhat challenged his patience on numerous occasions with my messiness. Those of you who are creative will probably agree that a creative mind is not necessarily a tidy one! Having lived together for 4 years, we had finally found a balance between his need for order and my complete disarray and we now lived in harmony (most of the time). However, this method of weaning threw that right out of the window and I literally thought that it was going to tip Mat over the edge! He would be frantically picking up food from the floor as my daughter casually lobbed spaghetti from the table thinking it was a game. She (and I if I’m totally honest) found it hilarious! 6 months on and mealtimes are just as eventful! Eleni still finds it entertaining to make a hat out of a Yorkshire Pudding and I’m pretty sure that she thinks the way of saying she doesn’t want something is to either raspberry it out of her mouth, or casually throw it on the floor. However, Mat is now in a state of acceptance and we both work together seamlessly to make this very messy situation as organized as possible. We even have a little bit of help from our dog, Elsie, who is loving the fact that she gets to be a real life hoover!
Baby Led Weaning has had its challenges (particularly for my poor husband). However, it has been a lot of fun and has given me many funny stories and photographs along the way. I will definitely do the same with future babies except next time I will know that it is normal for it to look like a food bomb has exploded in my kitchen! I will arm myself with baby wipes galore and will definitely be more prepared for those highchair-to-bath poo disasters!
Love Stacey x
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