This is a guest post by the lovely Mummy Matters :O)
When weaning goes wrong . . .
I have always wanted to be a Mummy for as long as I can remember, I couldn’t wait to have my own children, to have someone to care for, someone to love. When you long for a child, you only imagine everything being perfect; you don’t count on things ‘not working’.
Little Bean is my first born, my beautiful little princess who melted my heart the moment I set eyes on her. People would always comment on what a contented baby she was, always happy, ALWAYS on the move; her little legs would cycle for England. I breastfed her exclusively for 6 months, that was the recommendation from my Health Visitors. I toyed with the idea of weaning her at 4 months because she seemed interested in food but when I mentioned this to the Health Visitors they told me that I definitely should not, so being a first time Mum I listened.
At approximately 27 weeks I decided that I had waited long enough so I read up online and in whatever books I could find about weaning and set the wheels in motion. I bought baby rice, I expressed some breastmilk and tried giving it to Little Bean. It was not received very well at all, the look on her face said “what do you think you’re doing” and she quickly spat it back out. I persevered and tried again and again for a week, each time getting the same reaction or worse, hysterical screaming. I thought perhaps I’d not left it long enough so I waited for another week before trying again.
This time she started screaming the second I approached her with a spoon so I tried a different tack, I tried dipping my finger in the rice mix and letting her lick it off my finger. This seemed to work for a while, at least she was getting used to the taste. Over the next couple of weeks I tried different spoons, different consistencies with baby rice, Rusk, pureed carrots, pureed pears but nothing seemed to take her fancy. Eventually at about 35 weeks she accepted fromage frais but I knew this wasn’t the best route to go down because it was sweet not savoury.
I would sit and watch my friends’ girls who were the same age, they would eat pretty much anything that was put in front of them whilst Little Bean would scream and flail around trying to avoid food at all costs. Some of my friends found it upsetting to watch and said that they wouldn’t be able to do it if it was their child but what other choice did I have? I couldn’t just carry on with milk every day, she needed more.
By 10 months my perseverance had paid off and she eventually started to eat Stage 1 jars of baby food in savoury flavours and I thought we were finally on our way, for the next few weeks she would eat porridge for breakfast and then a savoury jar followed by a dessert jar or yoghurt for dinner and tea. I tried to progress her onto the textured baby food but it never happened. It was the baby rice scenario all over again.
At this point I thought it might be worth trying baby led weaning but as much as I could get her to eat would be a breadstick. She wouldn’t entertain fruit or vegetables in the slightest. At her 1st birthday party, all of her friends happily had all the party food that I had prepared and her birthday cake but not Little Bean. She still would only eat a stage 1 jar but we had gone backwards as savouries were now off the menu and all that I could get her to eat were the desserts. This was not how I thought it would be.
Finally at 15 months Little Bean tried a chip (ok so not the healthiest but as far as I was concerned it was a massive leap forward). Slowly over the next couple of months she began to accept chicken nuggets, fish fingers, pizza and toast.
At 31 months we are still in the same position, her daily intake of food consists of a bowl of cereal for breakfast and two small yoghurts, dinner is a Plum fruit puree pouch followed by a custard or some other similar dessert, mid afternoon she will eat a pack of fruit flakes or raisins and then tea is chicken nuggets and chips, pizza and chips or fish fingers and chips – although actually she isn’t that bothered by the chips.
I try everything I can to get her to try new foods but it always ends in tears, always hers, sometimes mine through sheer frustration.
We have tried pasta, rice, all fruits, all vegetables, different sauces but nothing will budge my stubborn little princess.
The problem that we now have is that she is suffering with iron deficiency anaemia because of her poor diet. She looks pale, she has dark circles under her eyes and she seems to be constantly tired, it is such a horrible position to be in as a parent because you hate to see your child like this but as the saying goes, ‘you can lead a horse to water . . .’. We have been putting Minadex Tonic in her milk to supplement her iron (we only give her half the dosage because it can be dangerous to give her too much) but this then gives her constipation so she then has to have Califig lotion to help her go to the toilet. Frustration doesn’t come close to explaining how we feel.
In my honest opinion I don’t think we would be having these problems had we started weaning earlier than we did. I think by 6 months she was too used to her milk and bottles, I think she was too set in her ways but this is something we will never know!