Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Woeful Weaning: Introducing Solids the Meaney Way

It turns out I have spent the last six months in a false state of feeding security. I knew where I was and what I was doing; breastfeeding had quickly become second nature and I'd even managed to get to grips with pumping for work. Yep, I thought, I've got this motherhood thing nailed. Then we began weaning and it blew my little breastfeeding bubble apart. All of a sudden I'm in unfamiliar territory again, trying to navigate my way through the murky waters of uncertainty and worry, and it's brought with a kind of delayed post-natal low mood (didn't you hear? PND has been downgraded so as not to offend babies or some shit).

The current fashion advice is to follow the baby led weaning technique: that is, to just throw them in the gastronomic deep end and serve them lumps from the off. No purees, these babies need to learn how to chew

"Just give him whatever you're having," said the health visitor. 

Well, that's all very well, but if I was to feed Blake the way I feed myself then it would involve waiting until he's about to faint before remembering to feed him, and then offering him a handful of biscuits or a pizza. Here's the thing, you see: I'm not actually very good at feeding myself. It's not that I can't cook, I can, I just don't really remember to eat until it's a matter of urgency and then I need something immediate; usually resulting in a bit of a junk binge. On a good day, I'll sort of vaguely graze from the treat cupboard until dinner time, when Mr Meaney will inevitably take over in order to introduce a food group other than 'pastry'.

As a result, I've found that I'm worse than clueless when it comes to feeding Blake. The whole thing is exacerbated by the fact that I'm bombarded with images, videos and tales of the latest homemade spinach and bacon dauphinois potato fritters (or something) that have been successfully ingested by other babies Blake's age. Not being particularly good at remembering to cook clean, healthy food, I have turned to (shock horror) Hipp Organic jars of food. I know, right? I'm a fucking terrible parent. 

As well as the jars (boo, hiss), we've also been offering fruit and salads, bread, cheese, cereal, yogurts, and just about everything has been met with initial enthusiasm and then complete disinterest. He was keen on the jars for about a day, until he realised what was going on. He began weaning with an enduring love for cucumber that now gets thrown across the room. Fruit was offered in a mesh feeder that he adored, on one sitting he ate quarter of a mango, but he won't even pick it up anymore. In fact the only thing that he seems to get excited by is water. It doesn't particularly help that he is cutting the world's slowest tooth and can't get to grips with chewing. You know what happens when you give a baby that can't chew a piece of tomato? They choke.

"Stay calm. If they're making a noise then they're not choking, they're just gagging," more golden advice from the health visitor. 

I tried to stay calm a couple of times, but the noise never came and Blake would inevitably start to turn purple. Cue a slap on the back and some projectile vomit. Seriously, it's no wonder the boy isn't keen. I think it's probably a testament to me, but he also has absolutely no intention of giving up (or even cutting down) on the breast milk intake any time soon.

I know he is getting some solid food; mostly because his poop has begun to stink and his weight gain has suddenly spiked enormously, but I'm just finding the whole thing to be a little bit soul destroying. I feel inadequate because I'm not spending the entire day creating grape and goats cheese pin wheels (or something), and then worried that Blake will never eat and will end up like me as an adult: alternately forgetting about food and then raiding the nearest freezer. On the other hand, with every piece of food that he refuses, I'm glad it's not something I spent hours creating.

It gets easier, right?


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