I’m not really a fan of hard work, it troubles me on a deeply personal level. So it was with some trepidation that I was looking at information on how to wean a child.
It seems that there are an astronomical number of ways which are recommended to move your baby on to solid food, an industry of ‘how to wean’ books has built up and we now have a small library of texts surrounding the issue. To confuse our simple brains even further, internet searches turned up either horror stories of wilful children becoming emaciated by refusing to eat or grossly smug parents who had no trouble getting little Tarquin to eat fifteen course meals. ‘He even knows how to use a fish knife correctly’ they most likely said. Probably.
We were growing more unsure of how to make the move from milk to solids when friends of our mentioned a method called Baby Led Weaning. In BLW you give over the job of food selection to the child. It makes it easy they said, you just let them grab and consume what they want, when they want.
This appealed for two reasons. Firstly, it seemed easier than trying to force blended gruel into the boy’s face. Secondly, it would expose him to a range of flavours and textures that would, we hoped, help him to be less fussy when he’s older.
Win, win, win.
Well, not really. We expected dinner time to be us sat as a family, eating our evening meal with the boy contentedly gumming a broccoli floret as we discussed the day’s events in a measured way.
Obviously this was naivety of biblical proportions because feeding time (I refuse to call the barely controlled consumption of nutrients by my child ‘a meal’) has turned into some kind of crazed food spraying contest whereby everything in a five metre area is covered in a collection of mashed banana, mango and baby rice. This is coupled with the boy smashing his bowl and spoon on his high chair table and occasional screeching in excitement.
And woe betide anyone foolish enough to try and take his food away before he’s done. If you were to try, you’d be met with a wailing cry that I’m sure can be heard in space.
The problem we have is not getting him to eat, but getting him to stop. He’s like a mini epicure with a vast appetite. A micro Mr Creosote.
Since we’ve started we feel we have to see it through to the end. We have, however, developed some damage limitation techniques that prevent mess spreading too far. I share them with you in a bid to help those about to start weaning their child.
Step One: Prepare Your Splash Zone
Step Two: Prophylactic Clothing is a Must
Step Three: FEED
Step Four: The Hosing Down