We are now well and truly in to the weaning journey with Sienna, as she approaches 8 months old. I’m not really one to be in a rush to start the whole weaning thing. I know a lot of people can’t wait for their baby to have the first taste of solid food. But for me, it’s one of those signals that the baby days are slowly coming to an end. When they can manage proper food and not just milk. When they suddenly seem so much more grown up, sat proud in their high chair.
With Ella, we took a mostly baby-led approach. I fed her porridge and yoghurts, but otherwise she fed herself normal food. I didn’t once puree anything or give her food from a jar or pouch. As suggested with baby led, we started weaning her at 6 months. Well actually, just before six months, as this meant her first taste of proper food was Christmas dinner!
As with most things though, Sienna is so different to Ella. While Ella used to guzzle milk, and it would take her a matter of minutes to drain a bottle, Sienna is not so keen. It has been a battle to feed Sienna from day one, both breast and bottle! She doesn’t seem that interested in milk and, while she will drink it, it takes time to get it in her! So, just before she turned 5 months, I decided to start giving her some porridge morning and night, in the hope it would fill her and her sleep would improve (of course it didn’t!!!). We then started the baby led approach from about 5 and a half months.
We decided to take a bit more of a combined approach with Sienna, particularly as she’s not so keen on milk and had started dropping ounces. And the last thing I wanted was for her sleep to get worse! So, she does both traditional and baby led weaning. For breakfast, I feed her porridge. She does pretty well with this most days, but if she’s tired or had a bad night, I usually wait until after her nap, as she’s not so keen on eating when tired!
Snacks are completely baby led. She’ll have fruits – oranges, bananas, kiwis, strawberries, whatever we have in really! And also some baby snacks – biscuits, wafers, carrot stick crisps. She does enjoy snack time! She’s usually rested and happy to sit for a little while gorging on whatever I’ve given her. She particularly loves sucking the juice from oranges!
Lunch is also baby led. It depends what we’ve got in really, which is one of the things I love about the baby led approach. They mainly eat what you would! She might have some cheese, some bread, sticks of cucumber, tomato (she’s a big fan of sucking the tomato seeds), chicken, or pasta. It really depends what I’m making for me and Ella that day, or what I can find in the fridge! I’ll generally feed her a bit of yoghurt when she’s finished. I tend to give her plain natural yoghurt, as I worry a bit about the sugar content in kids yoghurts while she’s so young. She loves natural yoghurt! Though she has also had some of Ella’s yoghurts, and wolfs them down too!!
Dinner is where I take a slightly more combined approach. Sienna’s naps still leave a lot to be desired. And by the late afternoon, she’s pretty tired. As such, I’ve found she’s just really not interested in feeding herself. She mostly cries when in her high chair, which can be quite frustrating. However, she is happy to sit and quickly be fed. So, at dinner time, I have been giving her Ella’s Kitchen pouches. I think for me it’s a psychological thing of making sure she has enough to eat before bed, in the hope it will improve her sleep. She loves the pouches and will wolf the food down. Often it gives her a little energy boost, and she will then feed herself whatever Ella is having. She loves broccoli in particular. And potato always goes down well with her, as it’s so easy for her to mush and swallow. She also really surprised me the other day by having her pouch, and then feeding herself loads of pasta bolognese! Again, she’ll have a bit more yoghurt after.
When we’re eating out, I don’t take a pouch with us. She usually has a bit from all our plates, and Ella loves sharing her dinner with Sienna! She always picks a few chips out for Sienna straight away!
I had thought Sienna hadn’t really taken to the baby led approach as well as Ella did. Ella certainly was feeding herself a lot more by this stage. But when I think about it, she does do really well. She can pick the food up with ease, get it to her mouth no problem, and gum it without issue. She also gags far less than Ella did. Ella would gag at almost every meal. Mainly I think she would just put too much in her mouth (still does actually!!). Whereas Sienna seems to be more aware of how much should be going in. I think a lot of it is tiredness, and once she stops waking so much in the night, and naps better in the day, I think her eating is going to really take off!
She still has four bottles of milk through the day, on waking around 7am, then 11am, 3pm and one before bed about 6.30pm. The amounts she drinks varies each time, but is usually around 4-5ozs. I think she might be gearing up to drop one of the day time ones, and instead have one around 1pm instead. She also has 4ozs around 10pm, as she wakes habitually for this after giving her a dreamfeed at this time when she was younger. I’m not going to drop this yet, as I’d rather get the night time sorted first!
I’m not really sure if weaning has affected Sienna’s sleep. She has had a cold for pretty much the last month, which always leads to her waking in the night. But actually this week, her sleep has been pretty good. She did a 6 hour stretch one night, and last night woke once at 3.30am. She’d usually have woken by about 1am, so I’m hopeful that’s she starting to manage longer stretches of sleep, which could well be down to the food. When she does wake, milk is what settles her. She only has about 1ozs of watered down milk, as I don’t want it to impact her first bottle (which she struggles to drink anyway!). It sends her straight back to sleep. I’m thinking of going cold turkey on this within the next month, if she still continues to wake, as it’s not the calories she needs, just the comfort. I’m sure after a few nights of using other methods to get her back to sleep, she’ll stop expecting this milk, and will hopefully find it easier to sleep through (the dream!!!). It’s just far easier for me to give her the milk than spend hours trying to get her back to sleep. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with what gives you the most sleep at the time, though I know this often leads to bad habits!
I think over the next month or two, I’ll stop feeding Sienna at dinner time, and she will manage more of this herself if her sleep hopefully improves, and will take a more complete baby led approach. It’s so lovely to have Sienna have dinner with us, and to enjoy meals out. I guess there are some advantages, even if weaning means my little girl suddenly doesn’t seem quite so little any more!