Before I became a mum, I never appreciated how truly frustrating encouraging your baby to eat would be. I suppose at the start of our weaning “journey” (which I actually prefer to think of as a rollercoaster), feeding Emma was part of my day-to-day responsibilities. Much like changing her nappy, or making sure she’s had enough sleep during the day. I felt this overwhelming feeling of failure if she refused to eat anything. The frustration inside me would build up until I felt hot with anger, helplessness and self-doubt, googling every weaning tip or trick out there.
I’m pleased to say I got better at that. I started to cut myself a bit of slack and relaxed a little. I honestly don’t think I could’ve kept it up! In those periods of time when Emma only wants Ella’s Kitchen Mango Baby Brekkie (seriously good even for adults), rice cakes and cubes of cheese…I remind myself she’s perfectly healthy and it will pass.
I just repeat to myself “it’s just another phase to get through”.
Yesterday we got through to the other side of a phase that lasted about a week. I wasn’t sure if it was teething (the legitimate excuse for any unforeseeable tantrum), a cold or maybe the heat. Emma has inherited the Irish gene from both her parents and she can’t stand the heat. At 4 months old, there was a heatwave and I actually had to put her directly in front of a blower fan to stop the screaming! It was all so sudden, one minute she was eating perfectly fine and then the next minute she was stubbornly crying at all the regular favourites. It was a relief that she ate so heartily yesterday and that it continued into today.
Weaning can be hard. People don’t tell you that – I walked into this world of weaning thinking that I would give Emma a stick of carrot and she’d devour it. I must add that for some people, it does happen like that and their babies are super keen on food…but in my experience and through other mums I know, it’s pretty testing. I’ve spent the last 9 months reading books on weaning tips, how to get your child to love it, things to cook when they get fussy over purees, and the one I loathe the most – the month by month ‘what your child should be doing at this month’.
Emma took her time. It makes me laugh now because as her character emerges this is her all over. She’ll do things when she’s ready…when I try to get her to show Nanny how she can clap, she’s not interested. If she spots the camera pointing in her direction, she immediately turns away and does something else. At 7 months, I was supposed to be only mashing food, which was laughable as I knew there is no way Emma could do that, she had no interest in using her teeth.
So to those mamas out there who are beginning the weaning journey, just know that taking your time rocks. It’s the only way. Taking the lead from your baby is the secret to it all, however painstakingly patient it takes. And just remember this:
One day your baby will suddenly be crazy about every food they set their eyes on, including your snacks!
One day he/she will suddenly be able to use the sippy cup without spilling it all over themselves like a water fountain.
One day you won’t have to puree everything or cut a million blueberries in half.
One day you won’t have to race home to have lunch/dinner in the house, as meals in public just aren’t happening.
One day it’ll pass. (and it did!)