All the baby books and apps talk about your little one reaching those all important milestones, but I think they fail to discuss the parents’ milestones too. All those firsts for baby are firsts for us too! The first time your tiny tot smiles is also the first time your heart will explode from joy for such a simple yet momentous achievement. So far the biggest milestone for me as a new mommy right now is this wonderful / daunting experience of navigating solid foods. Weaning off breastfeeding is so bittersweet and I’m not quite ready for that particular milestone yet, but transitioning to solids is exciting! Every step forwards for your little one is such a dichotomous moment – it’s both another opportunity to celebrate their growth as well as reminisce about them slowly leaving behind their littleness.
I can hardly believe we’re starting on this new milestone already! Wasn’t Gia *just* born five minutes ago?? I can still remember every second of it, and yet six months have already flown by. It’s beautiful and shocking how quickly time passes, watching your precious baba grow and develop before your eyes. What a miracle that we surely don’t deserve.
WEANING ONTO SOLID FOOD
And being at this 20 week mark, we are about to embark on yet another first – solids! And like all first time moms, the thought felt well and truly overwhelming at first: How do you do this? What foods are first foods? When is the right time? Store bought or home cooked? Is my baby ready? It’s with these questions in mind that parenting experts Meg Faure and Kath Megaw bring to us a framework for feeding in one of the most wonderful parenting books around. It makes the whole experience and the fear of not knowing where to start something so simple and incredibly fun!
It is possibly the biggest parenting conundrum – that you must nurture your baby each day of his life with the simple goal – to facilitate his independence from you – Weaning Sense
Since it arrived, I’ve been voraciously inhaling Weaning Sense, another gorgeous book from Quivertree Publications. Meg and Kath, co-author of Baby Sense and a pediatric dietician respectively, beautifully outline the journey to weaning in the most nurturing and healthy way possible for baba. They also doesn’t push any kind of prescriptive agenda onto you as a mom which is really refreshing; instead, it offers a gentle guideline that you can choose to adhere to in your own way. It’s also centred around a specialised kind of weaning the authors call COLLAB, an acronym for Cues, Own Person, Low Pressure, Led by Science, Age Appropriate and Baby Friendly.
In short, the way you wean your little one should be led by your little one – what kind of sensory personality she has, where she is in her development – as well as following your mama instincts backed by substantiated science. It’s an easy, zero pressure way to navigate what is honestly a very confusing time, and what’s more, it grows with you and your baby throughout each stage of development. Seriously, if you’re a first time parent, or even if you’re well versed in weaning your little ones but their picky eating is driving you to your wit’s end, get yourself this book. It’s become my baby feeding bible! I couldn’t love it more!
Also – the recipes are AMAZING, even for the whole family. With over 70 healthy and delicious recipes to choose from that makes use of only fresh ingredients (no preservatives in sight!), finding your culinary feet with baby food becomes a breeze. From bright and colourful veggie purees to fritters, homemade porridges and smoothies to stews, these recipes are a far cry from that insipid bottled gunk that’s been marketed to us for decades as good enough for babies. Sure, they’re useful if you’re strapped for time and need a quick solution for mealtime, but if at all possible we should be making our own baby food, just like we cook for the rest of our family. And no, it isn’t an extra effort – that’s the whole point of this book, to prove how simple these nutritious and super tasty dishes are to make. Best of all, your baby will be encouraged to explore his taste perception and expand his desire for yummy foods, making fussy eating less likely.
So here we are, into the first week of the Ready Phase weaning schedule of the book after a two week introduction period. Gia, according to the book, is a social butterfly baby – she loves sensory input and interaction, is very gregarious and energetic, shows keen interests in people and things, has good core muscle control and shows early ‘ready’ signs for food like trying to take my fork or watching me eat – so her personalised solids journey will be built according to her individual traits. Being a social butterfly means that feeding her will need to be entertaining and novel in order to keep her keen. This will include experimenting with plenty of strong flavours for her to try, like garlic and spices, as well as making feeding a social experience for her to keep her engaged.
So far I’ve made her butternut with cinnamon, sweet potato custard, baby marrow and spinach that she LOVES, and her new favourite, beetroot and chicken. One frozen cube lasts me for two meals, so just about 20 minutes of prep equals quite a considerable store of food ready to be defrosted! Super easy, super healthy and super yum.
I am SO excited for this next chapter (and preparing myself for all the laundry that will come with it)! I’m especially keen to try out all those amazing Weaning Sense recipes and coming up with my own. Breastfeeding will still be my priority so thankfully I don’t have to say goodbye to that beautiful experience just yet, but I will be keeping you posted on how things go. So far so good!
Weaning Sense by Meg Faure and Kath Megaw is available from all major book retailers for around R330.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed on With Relish are my own. Images taken by me from the Weaning Sense book by Meg Faure and Kath Megaw.