Having a weaning nightmare..

Little Mr is now well down the weaning road and I fear there is absolutely no way back. For the last 4 weeks, I’ve been giving him porridge for breakfast and then Stage 1 puree’s for lunch and dinner. Depending on how hungry he is throughout the day, we might drop lunch following his cues on how he’s feeling and if he got up later than usual or if he’s just having an ‘off my food’ day. Alongside this he’s been having his usual bottles of milk, of which he seems to love first thing in the morning, and taking on board the latest nugget of advice from one of the rubbish health visitors is to ensure he’s having dairy on a daily basis.

I feel absolutely clueless. I specifically made an appointment with a health visitor a month or two back to ask to talk about weaning. I wanted to know what I can give, what I cant give him, what he’s supposed to have and when. I had a chat with a Family Support Worker who did just that, she asked me what I thought and then told me to trust my instinct and that I would know what to do. I don’t! I feel stupid. weaning little mr

I’m giving Little Mr half a jar of ready made porridge in the morning, an hour or two after his bottle. Then a bottle of milk, roughly 4 hours after the last one. Then it’s lunchtime so I’ve been giving him a third to half a pouch of Stage 1 puree which he struggles to finish. Again, 4 hours after the last bottle, he has another bottle of milk, then an hour later it’s dinner time. Again, if he’s hungry I’ll give him some more puree and a fromage frais for afters. I thought, as a naïve first time mum, that you gradually increase the amount of food progressing through the textures until you reach solids and the milk intake reduces. Is this not right?

I’ve been reading all about what other mums are feeding their little ones at the same stage as my son and I can’t help but feel like he’s missing out. I’m scared of feeding him normal foods and to be brutally honest,I’m scared he’s going to choke and I’m not going to be able to save him. I can’t lose my Son, I just can’t. I know it all sounds rather dramatic but this is how I’m feeling.

On Sunday, we had my family round to celebrate my Sisters birthday. As we all sat round the dining table, Little Mr was watching every mouthful we were eating. So I gave him a tiny blob of mashed potato. He loved it! With encouragement from my Mom and my sister, I then gave him a strawberry which again he enjoyed making a right mess playing with it in his fingers.

Today, I gave him a biscotti biscuit (made for babies aged 7 months plus) as these are said to be soft enough to mush up and eat. Well Little Mr decides to bite it in half and then spent the next 5 seconds, which seemed like 5 minutes to gag on this biscuit getting redder and redder in the face. I hated it, I did panic and helped him get some of the biscuit out of his mouth with my finger. I know I was probably supposed to let him find his own way and do it himself but I couldn’t sit there and watch it.

I find mealtimes incredibly stressful and having heard stories that babies of his age should be having more solid foods as it can affect their speech and lead to fussy babies I’m feeling out of my depth. I’m going to move onto Stage 2 purees and at the weekend, make my own blends following some of the recipes from Annabel Karmel’s book and hope that he will enjoy them and with them being a little thicker he will chew instead of just swallowing the puree down.

Have you got any advice? Do I need to sit on my hands and let him get on with it? I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Reply Lauren (@laurenbigeejit)

    Not sure how much reading you’ve done on BLW but a baby’s gag reflex is further to the front of their tongue than adults (which is right at the back) and so when he is gagging and it’s scary to see, he’s nowhere near choking. In fact this teaches him to spit out too-big bits or learn to chew rather than just suck off a spoon and swallow automatically. I know it’s scary and easy for me to say he’ll be ok, but you may just have to take a deep breath and let him discover food this way. He’ll have to eat lumpy/hard food one day! Also, if he’s getting enough milk then the food isn’t essential, this then takes the pressure and stress off both of you if he doesn’t want to eat it. Just let him explore and rest assured that whatever you do it’s with the best intentions and you are an amazing mum xxxxxxxxx

    05/09/2013 at 12:22 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks Lauren, the gag reflex is a wonderful thing but scares the life out of me! xx

      06/09/2013 at 10:50 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I also felt like figuring how much to feed and when was really tough, especially when we started eliminating bottles. I tried to be flexible, but also consistent. I found that when I chilled out about it, he did too- they really can sense your stress. Try to make meal time better for you- flip through a magazine while he feeds himself soft foods like pasta, bread, sweet potatoes, etc. I would just make sure that each of my meals included something that worked for him. Gradually he’ll get better at understanding how much he can put in his mouth and how to chew. My son is 17 months old and he has only truly choked once. Thankfully, a quick finger sweep removed the cracker and it’s never happened again. Good luck!

    05/09/2013 at 12:57 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks Sarah, I’m hoping to be a bit calmer but it’s so hard when you’re on your own. Definitely going to explore more mashed foods and thicker purees, its working for us xx

      06/09/2013 at 10:49 pm
  • Reply Donna Wishart

    Babyled weaning isn’t did everyone and I completely understand your fears – so forgot about that :) You’re down the purring path and its working for you by the sounds of it and Little Mr is eating – that in itself is a great step & you should be proud of both of you!
    Take your time. The guidelines are to be on ‘normal’ food by 1 but every baby is different and all babies ‘get’ eating at different times. Ignore all the scaremongering stories and carry on as you are!
    Give him bits of what you’re having if you think it’s soft enough – the mash was a great idea & strawberries – just to let you know, my Daughter used to get a rash round her mouth from the acid in strawberries – it went after an hour or two. Try giving him other things like that and see how he gets on.
    He isn’t missing out and it’s not a race, you’re both doing great and should be proud of yourselves – I know it’s hard though as its natural to compare with other babies.
    When you do start giving lumpy food and things like he biscuit, it’s normal for them to gag (not choke) and they will get over it themselves, the gag reflex is so far forward on their tongue to start with. The advice is to sit on your hands for 10 seconds by which time they’ll have got it sorted themselves. But those ten seconds are the longest of your life! Helping to get the food out can make it worse as they’re not in control of the food.
    I’d say carry on you are and keep giving soft other finger food too :)
    Sorry for the rambling comment but I really wanted to reply and only had the chance now, during a night feed! Hope it makes sense! :) You’re doing great Emma xx

    05/09/2013 at 2:32 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thank you so much Donna. He eats quite well from the spoon (even if he does want to do it himself, which I let him at the end of the meal) and he’s finding food on his tray and picking it up. Think I’m going to make thicker purees and build up to lumps and then harder foods. We’ve not tried banana yet so will try that too x

      06/09/2013 at 10:42 pm
  • Reply Hayley

    I think we’re a bit behind you as Tyne is only 5 months and has been on stage 1 purees for about 4 weeks.
    He’s having pretty much the same each day as your little man at the moment.

    I know I`ll be just like you when it comes to finger foods, I used to be a nursery nurse and saw loads of nearly-nasty choking incidents with babies being held upside down by the ankles until a piece of garlic bread found its way back out!!! It is too terrifying and I know I`ll be a mess when the time comes.

    But it sounds like hes still taking milk well so I wouldn’t worry too much yet about how much hes eating – I believe they’ll stop when theyre full so need to force it if hes struggling. And I think they`ll start reaching for things and trying them when theyre ready – I’ll probably make sure everything is cut off in chunks that are too small to choke on when my time comes, although I know that’s against the BLW route I don’t carwe – it will make me calmer and sane!

    Sparkles & Stretchmarks – UK Based parenting blog

    05/09/2013 at 3:09 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks for your comment Hayley, I’m just concerned that I’m giving him all the nutrients he needs with all the different foods. Seems like he’s always eating / feeding. Definitely going to stick to what he likes and build it up, I’m a lot more relaxed that way x

      06/09/2013 at 10:34 pm
  • Reply 3yearsandhome

    I was exactly the same with my first son. It was completely nerve-wracking and what he would and wouldn’t eat took over my life. My second son is just short of eight months and weaning with him has been a delight so far. I’m way more relaxed and we are all enjoying meal times together. A couple of things I do is give the meals before the milk. He has three meals a day and about half an hour after each meal, I breastfeed him. This way he doesn’t get full on milk and not eat the food. After every meal (stage 2 and a little BLW), I always finish with a bit if yoghurt, mashed fruit and a piece of cheese so it all adds to his dairy intake. I completely get the gagging/choking thing though. I think my first son thought being patted on the back was a part of a mealtime routine. Best of luck. I know it’s not easy.

    05/09/2013 at 6:30 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      I’m so glad I’m not alone! I’m still feeding his milk first at the moment but thinking of feeding him his lunch and dinner first before offering a bottle.
      I’m hoping to work up to mashed foods in the not so distance future so watch this space. Thanks for your support x

      06/09/2013 at 10:29 pm
  • Reply Helen

    Definitely go with your instincts. Mums havent always had text books or health visitors to offer advice so we cant be that wrong! The support worker was right, you know what works for both of you.
    Definitely look into baby led weaning, if only to set your mind at rest on the choking front. They are actually more likely to choke on purees than pieces of food, they have a great gag reflex.
    If it helps Caelan is a couple of weeks behind your little man, i give him half a weetabix for breakfast, with cows milk (shock horror!) Yesterday for lunch he had a quarter of a cheese spread sandwich and for tea he had half a slice of toast and about a third of a fruit pouch (i dont buy baby food except these sometimes, they are fab mixed jnto yoghurt kr porridge) he’s had yoghurt, pears, blueberries, grapes, bananas, and usually i give him a taste of what we are having. Textures dont bother him.
    As for what you cant give, well basically theres not much he cant have. No honey til he’s 12 mths old S it contains a parasite their bellies cant deal with and no whole nuts til they are 2. I would just say if you’re giving something new just watch the effects and dont give 2 new foods at the same time. Otherwise enjoy what is a fantastic stage. I have 3 kids and this is one of my favourite parts, watching them explore new tastes and textures.
    Relax, you’re a fab mum you wont do it ‘wrong’ just enjoy this new milestone :)

    05/09/2013 at 7:25 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks Helen, some very useful advice there. I’m just going to perserve with the puree and work my way up with them.. x

      06/09/2013 at 10:23 pm
  • Reply Emily Anderson

    Oh Hun, how horrible for you. I’m not there yet so have no experience or advice all I can say is dont worry about it your doing a great job and the proof of you being an amazing mummy is that you care enough to be asking for help. If it was me I would book to see a different health visitor to see if they are more help and make some sense and then go from there. It’s possible someone else will have all the advice and tips you need. I would also ask them to come at a time I was going to feed so you can do it together. Good luck lovely. I will be soon coming to you for the same advice I’m sure x

    05/09/2013 at 7:36 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks Emily, unfortunately I think I’ve seen all of the health visitors in our area and I’m not liking any of them. I find them all very patronising if I’m honest. I’ve had a good chat to my friends who are weaning their little ones and they’ve offered some support. It’s good to talk :) xx

      06/09/2013 at 10:21 pm
  • Reply Emily Tealady

    It is so stressful! I am blw but I am worried she’s not eating enough! It sounds to me as if he loves the food you’re giving him. I was told not to worry about bottle they will drop it when they want to. Just to reassure, bubs with blw loves to mush things up in her hand, stuff her mouth, spit bits out and sometimes will cough and splutter but she’s not choking. He will take to finger foods when he is ready, carry on as you are work up the stages, you are doing great, I just make sure at every meal she has a bit of each food group, so I’d say if you’re following those recipes they would be already following that. Xxxx

    05/09/2013 at 8:12 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Oh Em, I’m finding it all a bit stressful. I need to ignore what everyone else is doing and just concentrate on what Little Mr wants. He’s enjoying stage 2 purees at the moment so I’ll carry on and work my way up to soft veg etc! Thanks for your support xx

      06/09/2013 at 10:16 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I think all mums are the same when it comes to weaning I panicked like mad when Thomas first started with fingers foods but they know what to do it comes naturally and they have such a good gag reflex anyway

    05/09/2013 at 8:50 am
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks Sarah, I think we’re going to preserver with the soft stuff and stage 2 puree for now. Hoping it will let me get a bit more confidence for the future x

      06/09/2013 at 10:13 pm
  • Reply Pamela

    I’ve not been through this bit yet so can’t offer any advice really. Have u saw the mesh with handle things available that u can put foods in like banana, strawberries etc? The baby then eats through the mesh so not biting off huge chunks.

    05/09/2013 at 6:24 pm
    • Reply mrsshilts

      We’ve got one of those things and the juice gets everywhere. They are good though, if you’re little one is in the bath, lol!

      06/09/2013 at 10:12 pm
  • Reply Stephs Two Girls

    Really, it sounds like you’re giving him all he needs to me. Purees are fine – some babies just can’t cope with the chunks, some just don’t like it (even at 8 years old ;). I know it’s easier said than done, but try to relax a bit about it. He will be fine, you’re doing a great job!

    06/09/2013 at 11:47 pm
    • Reply Stephs Two Girls

      Oh and meant to say, over from Blog Horn ;)

      06/09/2013 at 11:47 pm
    • Reply mrsshilts

      Thanks so much Steph, I’m going to try and relax and stick with purees making them thicker and lumpier over time. Such a worry!

      07/09/2013 at 12:19 am

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