Friday, February 23, 2007

To eat, perchance to wean

It's all getting very complicated about now. Apart from the struggling, 50-fingered monster who has replaced my dear sweet darling tiny little baby (ahem) we are about to enter the wonderful world of weaning which is rife with the type of confusing information I have encountered since the day the blue line showed up in the pregnancy tester.

The World Health Organisation recommends no solids until 6 months - what they don't say however is how much he should eat after that and what. Everyone else naturally has a lot to say on the matter and there is a complex plethora of baby gurus with books out on the market on how to wean one's infant.

The first thing that confuses me is that while everyone is keen for babies to eat nutritiously starting with fruits and root veggies and then grains, there seems to be a conspiracy to get one to feed one's baby something called 'baby rice' which is wallpaper paste by any other name. It's nice and bland and smooth and hypoallergenic and perfect for tiny palates - it does not however appear have much by way of nutrition and is effectively just a way to thicken up milk and I am struggling to see the point. It is however everywhere and I found myself buying a box despite my feelings on the matter. It had the word 'organic' written on it and I was powerless to stop myself.

Secondly, while the gurus all cosy up to the WHO and say 'these days the recommendation is to breastfeed until 6 months' blah blah blah, they all give instructions for weaning that start at four months because it's a fact that most women are back at work by 6 months and keen to get babies eating as soon as possible. By the time the gurus get around to telling one what to feed a 6-month-old it's all 'babies should be having iron and texture and flavour and three meals a day'. So much for 'baby rice' and one-week schedules where baby eats the same thing every day - Charlie would be at school by the time I'd moved him onto real food.

So, for those of us who are able to breastfeed for 6 months, the question of what to feed and when is a little fuzzy. This may be a good thing. After all, when I ask my Mother what she weaned me onto the answer is usually something like 'goats milk and olives and oh, you loved salami' as clearly in the 60s there were no rules, no gurus and babies just ate whatever stayed down. I seem healthy enough though and so perhaps it's time to relax just a little. Having said that, I am currently obsessing over such concepts as superfoods, allergies and iron and so I sense I will not be as relaxed about it all as I would like to pretend.

Charlie being Charlie, I'm sure he'll have his own ideas. Although he has had no solids and will have none until this time next week when he turns 6 months, he is currently showing a lot of interest in whatever we eat. By 'no' solids' of course I am discounting the half-teaspoon of banana he's eaten in the past week (I reckon he'd have had the lot if I'd let him), the oatmeal he had this morning to stop him from leaping into the bowl and the handful of dirt he ate in the garden last week that made it successfully through his digestive tract and arrived unharmed in his nappy two days later. Charlie, you see, is keen to eat no matter what the WHO say.



Kurvz said...

Your baby sounds adorable and I love to come and read about his latest adventures/experiences.

Rose said...

ah, welcome to the world of everybody else knows best, if you're not already there! we were right where you are, and Ella seemed keen on everything she saw, until we tried to bring it to her mouth. it took us 6 weeks of trying and trying to start with the bloody rice cereal, which she was having none of, to discover that oatmeal was the iron-rich grain of choice. 6 anxiety-ridden, wasted weeks. she really didn't take to solid food much til she was 9 months, dispite a thrice daily messing about with food routine. Needless to say, she's healthy and loves to eat now! Child of Mine: Feeding with love and Good Sense, by Ellyn Satter. The most fabulous, balanced book about how to raise your kids with a healthy attitude to food, without engaging in all kinds of battles. And I NEVER reccommend parenting books to other people.

Sparx said...


Thanks for that - I'll check out the book. Not that I haven't got plenty of books, oh yes, but I can't make sense of most of them so always up for another one.

So far Charlie is looking very keen to start eating, hopefully he's not dong an Ella on us!


Sparx said...

ps - thanks Kurvs!

Anonymous said...

This guy Charlie seems like a very nice character and its nice to read up on his latest stories about him, keep it up, cheers!!