The six month mark (or half birthday as we called it) was pretty major! It was when being a mum became enjoyable, but of course, as with every stage, it meant we met a new challenge…weaning.
Actually the weaning challenge started before this time and that’s what I really want to talk about…hunger and the guilt.
Weaning was different when I was a baby, at 4 months I was started on baby rice, then onto purees then finally, a long time later, onto tinned spaghetti and the like…then real food.
I chose to try BLW, which meant that before 6 months I was not giving the baby anything other than breast milk. Jem always seemed hungry, I’d heard of growth spurts which could increase the amount of feeding, but he had always fed pretty much constantly since birth so I didn’t really notice the difference. I did notice that when the other babies in our NCT group seemed to start settling into a routine and cutting back on feeds, that mine didn’t!
I didn’t feel this meant he wasn’t getting enough, he has never been a huge baby, and hasn’t gained a huge amount of weight but has maintained his place on the Health Visitor’s graph of guilt.
However, this was not enough to convince the generation above me…
Every time my mother saw us she would comment on how hungry he must be, and joke about him “starving”.
I do have a sense of humour…honestly…but it has been tested since having a baby. Actually jokes like this made me really question whether I was doing the right thing. Was he hungry? Was I doing the wrong thing?
I got some support from a strange place, one of my friends has a child 2 years older than Jem. My friend chose to exclusively formula feed and weaned onto baby rice pretty early.
“Your doing fine” she said, “he’s clearly not hungry and you’re doing the best thing for him”. She was right and all I needed was this small piece of reassurance. I have to accept that weaning was different 30 years ago and the concept of BLW was unknown and not understood by the generation above. No matter who you are someone will try to give you advice, you may agree with it, you may not, but you don’t need to listen!
It does seem ironic that after all the worrying I did seem to create a food monster…