I breast fed Jake until he was just over 7 months old. At about 6 months we started weaning him onto solid food and have found the method we used to be very successful. Now at 9 months Jake is down to just having a milk feed in the morning and evening whilst having three meals and two snacks during the day, he now eats almost exactly the same food that Jamie and I are eating.
We got to this result by weaned Jake in a number of stages which I will outline for you now:
1) Stop feeding milk on demand and swap to regular intervals:
I did this on the advice of our health visitor, at around 5 months she said that Jakes stomach would now be big enough to hold four hours worth of food at a time and that swapping him onto regular timed milk feeds would ultimately help me introduce food into his diet. Jake was generally almost going four hours on him own anyway so this did seem to make sense. This meant I was feeding him milk a maximum of 6 time in a 24 hour period.
2) Introduce small tubs of pureed food about an hour after a milk feed. Three times a day.
Some people say to add in certain meals first, but we went straight to three small portions of food a day. Roughly at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but always after a milk feed so Jake wasn’t actually hungry but could just get used to the process and experience of eating. I used a small hand blender to puree cooked softened foods, such as carrot, pear, apple, broccoli, cauliflower etc I would put these into small tubs with roughly 2 tea spoons of food in each and store them in the fridge / freezer.
3) Increase the portion size and gradually drop the night time feeds
This isn’t really something we did on purpose, but we just seamed to find it was a natural progression that sometimes Jake would cry when he finished his food, so we gradually started giving him slightly larger portions, as well as mixing different flavours together such as giving him carrot & pea etc. We found this lead to Jake sleeping for longer periods during the night so that he gradually started sleeping through his night feeds (I never woke him up to feed, but waited for him to wake up and demand food) First we went down to one night time feed and then we dropped them all together, meaning Jake was getting four milk feeds in a 24 hour period, all during the day.
4) Add finger food after meals, and move to mashed food instead of puree.
I decided to spoon feed Jake his main meals as I didn’t feel he could get enough food by feeding himself or get the types of food I wanted him to eat, but I am conscious that I want him to develop his dexterity and be able to feed himself so after he has his spoon fed food he always has finger food, either specific baby finger food, of small pieces of soft fruit such as banana.
5) Increase portion size and add in protein into meals, reduce milk feeds.
Throughout the weaning process we found that Jake was wanting less milk feeds during the day and taking less milk at each feed. We were generally giving him a milk feed first thing in the morning, mid morning, mid afternoon and before bed. So we decided to drop the mid morning feed. To make sure Jake was getting all his required calories and a balanced diet we added additional food’s he hadn’t had before, such as, cheese, beans, potato and yogurt and pasta. It was at this stage that Jake started to be able to eat somewhat in line with the meals Jamie and I were having, such as Jacket potato with beans, or pasta in tomato sauce etc.
6) Reduce milk feed and add in snacks
At about 8 months we stopped giving Jake a milk feed in the day, so he now just has milk in the morning and before bed. He does however have breakfast, a mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner.
This is our weaning story so far, but I’m really please with how everything has gone Jake eats really well and so far we haven’t encountered anything he wont actually eat. He now quite happily eats almost exactly the same as Jamie and I this include things such as curry and rice, roasted vegetables, spaghetti bolognaise and stew and dumplings!
If I had to offer tips on successful weaning they would be:
1) Stay relaxed and don’t worry, your baby will pick up on this sand you can both enjoy the process
2) Don’t assume your baby wont like something just because you don’t give them as much variety in food as you can.
3) Don’t get too settled into one stage without realising your child is ready to move on. Children grow and develop quickly so what is enough for them one week may not be enough the next.
4) Recognise that if your child has become more active they will need to eat more – Once Jake started crawling we found he actually lost a bit of weight as we hadn’t increased his portion size to compensate for all the extra calories he was burning – therefore I’d also recommend to get your baby weighed regularly during weaning.