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Tiny Tyger, Baby Bear and Me: Weaning is a Chore

Saturday 4 October 2014

Weaning is a Chore

So, Baby Bear is a six months old and we have started weaning him.  I mean weaning in the UK sense of 'starting to introduce solids (or weaning onto food)' not the US sense of 'starting to stop breastfeeding (or weaning off the breast)'.  I have come across this language difference before so want to be clear in case I'm the victim of some online outrage.  Baby Bear is still very much a booby monster but I'm also trying to introduce him to the monstrous world of food.

Now that's cleared up, I'll tackle another potential internet minefield.  I'm doing what's known as 'baby led weaning' (or BLW on all parenting forums and groups).  This is basically the method whereby you plonk meals/food on baby's tray and let them get on with it rather than the 'traditional' method of mushing up food and making aeroplane noises.  I'm not advocating one over the other (she says, backing away from her laptop) since Tyger was 'traditionally weaned' but there you go: that's what we're doing.

Baby Bear is a big baby.  He's 6 months old and in 12-18 months sized clothing.  After Tyger - who was a scrawny thing - it is a joy to have a big fat baby whose wrists and ankles look like cookie dough with elastic bands round but there are also certain expectations when your baby's thighs are fatter than parts of your calves.  I had visions of him snatching at any and all edible (and non-edible) items as soon as they were in his general vicinity and opening up his maw like in Alien and just swallowing everything whole.  So, imagine my disappointment when it turned out he's a normal baby who flails around blindly for a while and then grabs some food just to drop it over the side of the tray.  He does manage to get some food to his mouth (more and more) but then comes the terrifying gagging.

Now, gagging.  Gagging is noisy.  If a baby has food in/near their throat and they're making a frack load of noise that's fine.  Noisy is good.  It's silence that's dangerous because choking is when no air can get past.  I know this.  I remind myself of this every time Baby Bear is making horrid retching and coughing noises but it doesn't stop that little stab of fear from pulsing through me every time.

What I'm trying to say is babies are fun!

And toddlers are a riot.

Tyger sees Baby Bear gagging.  Tyger sees Baby Bear thrashing around and squeezing his food and throwing his cup around.  And he sees Baby Bear gets attention for this...and he emulates it.

I ignore him and he keeps going.  I try the, 'Oh, Baby Bear doesn't know how to eat properly.  He needs to watch his clever big brother who does it so so well.  Why don't you show him how to eat since you're so good at it and so smart and such a good big boy,' tactic.  It doesn't work.  I'm sure this will pass but right now weaning is a chore.

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