Its no secret Huxley has been a crap eater, boob wise and solid wise. But recently on our first family holiday to France the fussiness reached a new level. I know nearly all parents have been through this at some stage, I remember worrying about Rory probably at the same age but it definitely doesn’t ease the worries. Is it teething? Is it the age? Is he just fussy? We drive ourselves crazy!
Hux is also famously petite, younger babies rapidly over-taking him on the thigh roll challenge. I gave up weighing him a while ago after he had his tongue tie fixed and he started to feed better and I knew his weight was increasing. Of course we look out for him hitting the milestones developmentally and know that he is growing out of his clothes (slowly) but the anxiety I get from health visitors (sorry for generalisation) is similar to the experience I know soooo many others have had.
I offered him baby rice at about 18 weeks but he wasn’t too fussed. (I actually don’t know why I bothered with this non-nutritional congealed nonsense.) Again, but veg, at 20 weeks but nope, not interested. Then again at 22 weeks where he joyously repeatedly opened his mouth for his first tastes of pureed butternut squash. “And we’re off!” I thought. Already he was doing better than Rory had at the beginning and for a while this continued.
I’m a huge fan of purees to begin weaning with and Hux had no problem going through all of the fruits and vegetables and found to no surprise the root vegetables to be his favourite and a lentil dish being an absolute winner. (Along with the cheesy-fishy-spinachy dish that makes my mum want to vomit.) I should mention now also that I’m also a bit OCD with weaning. I don’t do pouches, jars or ready pureed fruit because I figure its just as easy, cheap and more fresh to do it yourself and why do they have meat in pouches that is not in fridges anyway??! I like the ritual in going through the baby weaning book, going shopping for all the food, getting the little containers ready and planning his meals. I take joy in cooking though and I know some people really don’t enjoy being in the kitchen for a day making batches of food that will be gone in a few days. I am happy giving the kids the little Organix crisps and snacks for when you just need 5 MINUTES however!!! As with weaning Rory, I planned this time to continue mashing the food up, letting it get lumpier as time goes on, introducing little hand held foods from around 8 months, which I also love making and had been giving him fruit and veg to hold from early on. I was not this time prepared to give in to a full on spoon-fed strike but that is exactly what happened.
The strike had been coming for a couple of weeks but when we got to France Huxley’s operation food strike was in full flow. And I was NOT prepared. We muddled through trying to get him to eat mushy wheetabix for brekky (who actually likes soggy cereal?!) and I part succeeded in some mushy healthy dinners I made out there but lunch times at the beach….erm chips, bread, breadsticks, anything else beige?? This alone was nearly giving me even more anxiety than him not eating!
And so I have given in. Yes, Huxley bear, you have won for now. I have realised that actually him eating is THE least stressful thing regardless of how much ends up on the floor. In giving in to this crazy thing called baby-led weaning it has meant that I have had to think completely differently about what he eats because it is SO easy to give sandwiches every day and I really don’t want to do that. I’ve realised that I can still cook for him but in different forms and that actually he is so happy shovelling fistfuls of peas and edamame into his mouth, that if he does have a day when it’s a bit beige it doesn’t matter, because tomorrow will be green, orange and red! It’s also been quite difficult though to ensure he gets the right amount of protein in which he was never a big fan of but mixing beef with sweet potato mash was always a winner. Except now I need to put the casserole in front of him, naked and outside! (I’m not quite sure how winter works)
But I also realise that the whole weaning thing is quite a bit about me. I didn’t have as much control of his breastfeeding that I would have liked and being able to cook for him was about me regaining control. Me remaining in control, me getting enjoyment out of cooking and feeding people and me making sure everyone is full and healthy. So I have figured this out… Baby led weaning is not about me losing control of WHAT he is eating but possibly how much, not about WHERE he is eating but maybe being relaxed about where the food goes, and not about WHEN he is eating but possibly about how long it takes him. So really it’s just like most perfect relationships- I am learning to compromise! And I am definitely still one hundred percent in control….