Let me tell you a story about a little boy who loved to eat.
At six months old, his mother cried bittersweet tears as her baby took his first mouthfuls to becoming independent from her and her milk.
The boy took to Baby Led Weaning so well, that his parents would proudly exclaim ‘My son only eats finger food’.
But then, a dreadful spoon obsession began.
The baby only wanted to eat things that could be loaded onto said implement. And so, the boy declared that he would forever more eat only purees and mush.
Unless of course, there was chocolate cake on offer.
I left my last weaning post on a pretty final note, thinking that we were over most of the early hurdles and well on the way to normal eating habits. Gone were the issues with gagging, and the painstakingly slow process of introducing one new food at a time – we had finally got to grips with the food allergy issues Arlo faced in the early days of weaning.
But now, at 19 months old, we are most definitely stuck in a food rut.
I don’t know whether to blame toddler fussiness, or my reluctance to experiment (knowing that it’s 90% likely to end up rejected straight away) for the uninspiring variety in Arlo’s diet. His ‘guaranteed to eat’ list is small:
Branded fruit pots and puree pouches
Baby food jars
Very, very occasionally, will he surprise us and try some of the home cooked meal that has been painstakingly prepared for him. He doesn’t like finger food. He doesn’t like lumps and food that he has to chew. He is not interested in eating the same food that Sam and I are eating.
Contrary to what I expected when we started our weaning journey, I’ve discovered that weaning is not something that begins at six months and promptly ends at a year. It’s a longer journey, with detours down scenic routes, and unexpected delays along the way.
I’m not quite sure where we are right now. We’re no longer at the beginning, but I don’t feel that we are at the end. I think we have got ourselves lost.
I’ve always felt very strongly that I didn’t want to make food an issue, and by pushing him I could do more damage than good. This is why we stuck with the child-led approach even when he veered right off the finger food path. But I would love for him to have more of a healthy and varied diet.
So here begins my mission to get Arlo excited about food once more. To get him more involved in the cooking and preparation process.To research healthy, appealing meals without breaking the bank and spending all day in the kitchen.
I am submitting this post to the Plum Cookery School competition. Plum are looking for ‘one Plum parent and child to attend our Cookery School for two days, where you and four other intrepid parents and babies will learn all about the weaning journey, take cookery lessons with your little ones and have the chance to talk to our experts.’
I’m really hoping that the Plum Cookery School could be very helpful with my mission to get back on track with healthy and interesting meals for Arlo, and I’d love to share all the tips and advice from the food experts at the school.
In all honesty, travel and road metaphors aside, I am feeling really quite lost at this stage of the weaning process, and I’d love a bit of expert guidance on where to start. Also, I’ve always been interested to get an insight into the preparation of these baby meals and purees that Arlo loves so much, and what exactly goes into the recipes. As they form such a large part of his diet, it’s important for me to be able to trust ingredients lists and organic labels.
Plus, Arlo would look pretty awesome in a chef’s hat.
What about you? Do you have a fussy eater? Has weaning been a simple process, or not as cut and dry as you expected? Do you feel that you are done weaning, or are you still on the weaning journey?