What? Where have the past six months gone?!
Weaning (i.e. introducing food to your baby) must be an exciting time for all parents, I’m sure. But I get the feeling that if you’re a foodie, it must be even more exciting! I know this because ever since my husband and I decided we wanted to have a baby, it wasn’t clothes shopping or whatever else I was imagining; I would think of all the different things that I’ll one day surprise her with in her lunchbox (always picturing a girl!). In fact, I even remember an afternoon lost in looking up innovative puree ideas (ahhh the amount of time I had pre-baby!) And I almost can’t believe that the feeding stage is already here.
Actually… truth be told, it’s a little scary.
I am an incredibly fussy eater. Though I am improving, in general, the list of things I cannot stomach is longer than those things I can. For example, peanut butter makes me sick; even the passing thought of it just now as I write this is making me a little nauseous. But because of that, a whole load of foods are completely ruled out for me, like any other nut butters, and I’ll never forget the time I tried chicken satay (yuck).
In that respect, I do not want Baby K to grow up to be like me! And that kind of puts the pressure on me to make sure I get the weaning stage right (or as right as possible).
And here are all the ways in which I have so far NOT got it right!
The first mistake
So we started out with baby rice when she turned five months old (and of course, she had met all the “signs” that indicated she was ready). I had a couple of weaning guides, and I asked a few friends and jumped right in. And she really was ready! She swallowed the rice up with no problem, and kept wanting more. It was such a relief to know I’d made the right decision to start before six months!
And then… one night… I did that thing you know you’re not supposed to do; I randomly began googling. And suddenly, I came across a campaign in the US run by someone called Dr Greene a few years ago. In short, Dr Green says baby rice is bad. Very bad.
Dammit. Not the great start I was hoping for! But I keep telling myself, it’s ok. I’m not giving her baby rice three times a day, and nothing else! She’s tasted it 4-5 times max. And the NHS, as far as I know, does not condone baby rice as a first food. In fact, it’s listed in most weaning guides as a good starter, so let’s not press the panic button yet!!
Mistake No. 2
I quickly moved on to pear puree. Essentially, I cooked a ripe, pealed and chopped pear in a little water, then blended and served. This was so much fun to give her; her facial expressions were just fantastic. With the baby rice, I didn’t really notice a huge reaction when she tasted it; perhaps because it was diluted with her milk so it was more of a new texture than a new taste. But when she tasted the pear, her face literally went “woah… this isn’t milk. What IS this?!” Just brilliant.
And then… the high came crashing down. A good friend of mine was visiting and told me something she had just learnt during one of her rotations at medical school: babies that start off eating fruits might not eat vegetables with too much gusto! They inherently have a sweet tooth which, of course, falls in love with the natural sweetness in fruit. But veggies? Not so much.
I should’ve started with carrots, or something. Damn.
I rushed out and bought a butternut squash, some sweet potatoes, steamed the lot and went “ta da” to my lovely baby.
Of course, as predicted, she hated it. She reluctantly ate a few spoonfuls and then began looking away, casually pushing my hand away. Her enthusiastic foodie mama was devastated. Not to worry, I told myself. Maybe she just doesn’t like those veggies. So I grabbed a handful of peas, and appealed to the inner Pakistani in her with a bowl of green mush.
The reaction was even worse than the squash/sweet potatoes.
Where we are now
Finally, I decided that I’d go back to fruits and made her apple puree (pretty much the same way as the pear puree). This time, she had a spoonful and then didn’t want anymore. In fact, she started crying everytime I tried to offer her more! Same with the baby rice that she took so well in the beginning (oh God… I jinxed it all by raving about how well she’s doing, didn’t I?!)
I’m kind of hoping she has caught my flu (wow, that makes me sound like a loving mother doesn’t it!), because then maybe she is rejecting food because she has a sore throat… It seems that way. So I’ve put the brakes on weaning for a couple of days and have upped her fluid intake instead, and we’ll start again when she seems better.
It’s not easy, is it?