I was so excited to start solids with Smushy. It was something brand new and exciting. (Yes, exciting. When someone is attached to your boobs 24/7, the thought of having a bit of a reprieve is bloody exciting OK?) So at 4 months, armed with Farex and a spoon we started. At first she was kinda unsure, then when pears were introduced she was enthused, then after about 3 weeks it was total refusal. I stopped like the books recommended. The started up again. Then stopped, then started…. and so it went on. She’d always take a few mouthfuls then shake her head. No Mama. Unless it was sweet fruit, she wasn’t interested. At first, I just assumed she wanted sweet things, however I knew I was ‘supposed’ to push the veggies so I pressed on. (A case of do as I say, not do as I do like never before. I hate cooked veggies. Bleurgh.) It soon became apparent I was fighting a losing battle. It also became apparent that she wanted to hold the spoon. And the bowl. And the food.
Do. By. Self.
In sheer frustration I reached out to some friends around the 6 month mark who I knew were doing BLW- Baby Led Weaning. That is, where the child selects food you’ve offered them. Finger Food. Eep! Hold on, wasn’t she supposed to succeed at mush first? Nervously, we steamed some veggies and fruit and then hovered like helicopter parents around the high chair. And….she ate it. All of it. Hooray! We later tried with bread, grated cheese, pasta, chicken etc and she loved it. Of course she did go through the great refusal of food in late January, but apart from that she’s been going strong since we started BLW. Being out can be a bit tricky as the food tends to fly around, so we offer those pouch foods and because she can feed herself from them, no issues. (Commercial food, oooooooohhhh, call the Police! I choose to make my life easier by using them. To the haters I say deal with it.)
Overall I honestly believe she’s been exposed to more foods, and likes more as a result, than if we had of kept up the purees. I didn’t want food to become a negative concept with both of us being upset and frustrated at every meal time. I love discovering new recipes and am happy that I’ve gotten the seal of approval most times. From Spouse too, who has a bad habit of sneaking Smushy’s food for himself when he thinks I’m not watching. (I’m watching, I’m always watching.)
Addison is such an independent little Smushy. I’m glad that I listened to my instincts and stopped the meal time crazies and became a hippy. Why hippy? Because I’ve often had this response…
“Offering them finger food? To choose from? Isn’t that a bit hippy?”
Complete with wrinkled nose right at the word hippy. Well, if it makes me a hippy, so be it. I sure don’t miss spending hours pureeing food that would end up everywhere but in Smushy’s tummy! (You know, I’ve never really been labelled a hippy before. Usually I’m called Mainstream. So, this gets me one step closer to being a hipster right? If I stop wearing socks with shoes and start wearing short pants you’ll know the transformation is complete.)
If I were to take the plunge for number 2, I’d hold off solids till around 5-6 months. Or I’d just go with the baby rather than assuming all bubs need to start food at 4 months. The fact the month mark keeps changing means there needs to be some dependence on what you feel your baby is capable of. And I think in our case, it would have been wise to wait till she was ready to take more of a role in feeding herself. Maybe next time, I’ll end up with a spoon eater though, you never know.
Parenthood: The Journey Continues.
PS I’d like to send a big thank you to Ali and Jules for their advice and help with our BLW journey. Ali, thank you for the recipes and inspiration.