The journey of food!

An extract from the forthcoming book ‘The things they never tell you about becoming mum’

It’s commonly said that the move from milk to solids enables your baby not only to sleep better and be more content, but it also stops you having to worry about their feeding. The first part of this is simply not necessarily true, but more importantly, the second part is definitely not true. The move to solids does not represent a huge watershed moment of no longer needing to think about or indeed worry about feeding – it just means you think about other aspects of feeding. 

The journey will vary for everyone, but forewarned is forearmed, so here, for your consideration, is a very quick run-through of the stages associated with feeding and the associated concerns that are likely to come up:

·         Stage 1: The milk intake – How many ounces are they having? How many feeds? Is it enough, and are they growing enough?

·         Stage 2: Increasing daytime intake and decreasing night-time intake so as to facilitate sleep – Which feeds do I decrease in the daytime? How do I stretch them between feeds? When do I finally drop the 10 to 10.30 p.m. feed?

·         Stage 3: The move to solids – How do I get them to eat solids (aka purees)? What should the first solid be? When should I try it, that is, what week, what day, and what time? How much should they eat? How quickly should I add in new foods? Ahhhhh, they are sick! Why?

As a slight side note here – please don’t be fooled into thinking that once your little angel settles having ‘solids’ it’s onwards and upwards. They trick you that way, but actually, they will frequently go backwards with their tastes and their volumes.

Stage 4: Establishing meal times and reducing milk – Growing babies need growing nutrients, so gradually, milk must be replaced by solids. How do I reduce milk? When should I? How on earth do I get them to wait for meal times when they’ve previously been fed in some way every few hours!?

Stage 5: Progressing solids – You begin to focus on moving them to thicker purees, finger food, and then lumpy food (or whatever order you go in). I note that some schools of thought advise that your baby starts on finger food from day one – I’ve no idea if this prevents this particular stage of worry as I have no experience from which to draw. The concerns here are, then, when to progress, in what order, and how.

Stage 6: Separate meals – At some point, you eventually ask yourself how you ended up making totally separate meals for you and your child and make a move to combining the two.

My usual disclaimer applies here; this is not written as a guide to stages of weaning, but the point here is that you won’t suddenly stop thinking about food or feeding at any stage in this first year. This is normal. (In fact at any stage! See my blog post about my school lunches!)

Please do get in touch and let me know what you think of this page either via the comments below or twitter. I really want to hear what you think. 

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