As Christmas came to an end and the new year began I decided to sit down and take a look back over the last few months.
Our little Munchkin is now nearly 8 months old and we have had our highs and lows with the adventure that is Baby Led Weaning. I can definitely see the benefits of this technique but I have to be honest, it has not been as easy as I first thought it would be.
Everything was going really well until Christmas week. Suddenly on Christmas Day, our Munchkin decided she did not want to eat, she whinged and struggled which was enhanced by the fact that we had family over. My parents are really supportive of everything we do but I felt the pressure to have a wonderful Christmas as we were hosting. Our darling made meal times stressful and we all started to wonder whether Baby Led Weaning was as great as we thought. It makes so much sense to let your child learn to eat proper food and we have definitely seen the advantages as her motor skills have developed quickly; she is using her pincer grip to pick up blueberries and she can guide a spoon to her mouth. It is also so much easier to just give her what we are eating rather than making separate meals for her and that makes meal times more relaxed and enjoyable for all of us.
But on Christmas Day we suddenly began to worry she was not eating enough protein and even though I knew she was getting everything she needed from my milk, our worries overpowered our logical thoughts and we decided to puree up Christmas Dinner for her to try. Sitting down with her I tentatively handed her the loaded spoon and watched. She devoured it and asked for more. After a day of not eating I was elated that she wanted food, so I happily loaded up more for her. It was not long until she had eaten the whole bowl and we tried giving her a stick of broccoli which she also chomped down on.
We were very confused and after she had gone to bed we started to discuss mixing pureeing with Baby Led Weaning. As I went to bed, I felt sad and defeated but as the sun rose the next day I realised that every technique has its difficulties and every baby has bad days. Just because we had given her pureed food for one meal did not mean that we could not continue Baby Led Weaning.
As I looked back over that day I also realised that she had experienced a lot of changes in that week and these events probably effected her appetite that day. To start with, she was teething; her gums will have been sore, she was taking Calpol and most likely did not feel herself. We had also been out of routine for a week as her father was home during the day and we were hosting my parents for Christmas. The house must have felt noisy and full of new and exciting things. Also because I was desperate for her to eat up at the dinner table with us, I also decided that was the day she would start eating in her highchair rather than the Bumbo so she was probably uncomfortable and overwhelmed by sitting at the table with so many people.
Since that day we have carried on as normal; we put her back in the Bumbo and fed her foods that we know she likes and once the teething had passed she went back to eating everything.
So even though we experienced that stressful day I feel like I am still continuing Baby Led Weaning and our little Munchkin is chewing and swallowing more and more each day. We enjoy sharing our meals with her and watching the expressions on her face as she tries new things. I know that we will have more bad days as she will teeth again, she may have a growth spurt or just not feel like eating and I must remember to listen to her needs and as long as she is drinking my milk then I am not going to be worried.