Weaning ABC part 3. Compromise

Final chapter in my ABC of Weaning:

[NOTE- written before coronavirus hit, and wow does it show! Stay safe you guys.]

I wrote the first two Weaning ABC posts for a friend with twins 3 months younger than mine, so I was trying to be encouraging that BLW is totally doable with two. Rereading now I’m out of the haze of the first year, I’m worried they come off somewhat preachy. If so, I AM SO SORRY.

I generally try not to be a knob, and contributing to the preachy parental one-upmanship (one-upmumship??) culture is a knobish thing to do. I certainly don’t want anyone to feel rubbish about their weaning choices: FFS we’ve all got to teach them to eat, and there really is no right way. Aspirational instagrams are all very well, but the reality is that time and energy are in short supply in most parents’ lives. There has to be a compromise between lovingly prepared and speedily convenient: and that is no bad thing.  

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Eco recs

 

I remember someone once saying that having a dog was the carbon footprint equivalent of flying a jumbo jet multiple times per year, and then someone else chipping in: “yeah, but that’s nothing compared with having a baby!” and we all (none of us then parents) laughed.

Roll on umpteen years: we have two babies and a dog. Our carbon footprint is deep.

 

Here are 5 things we do to try minimise the ecological nightmare that is having offspring… and 1 thing that despite our best efforts didn’t work at all.

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The State Of Us: March 2019

I keep starting a post and then abandoning it because the tone is wrong or the content is off or… basically because it doesn’t fit what my ever-helpful subconscious has defined as a good blog post! As a result, the last few months have whizzed by with much half-written but little finished.

So I thought I’d do a quick stream-of-consciousness update on where we are RN, because everything changes so rapidly. And then if I don’t post again for another 6 months, you’ll know why!

Play KX is our happy place at the moment

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Best Ever* Edible Fake Blood

* Safe for babies… unsafe for upholstery. Delicious for adults. Vegan!

I love dressing up, festivals and frippery, and most years I manage to attend a costume party or dance macabre to celebrate all that is gruesome, exciting and escapist at Halloween.

This year… not so much! I was home alone with two 7-month old babies, who are now in a fairly set routine of dinner, bath, PJs, feed to sleep (albeit with mighty protests at every transition). It’s a lot to do on one’s own and recently the monotony has been starting to get me down.

Social media was filling up with other people’s party pics, everyone and their gorgeous offspring seemed to be out Trick Or Treat-ing, and I was looking blankly into the fridge trying to plan a nutritious yet mutually-palatable meal for one adult and 2 babies… when a vacuum pack of beetroot caught my eye.

New plan!

ZOMBIE ATTACK!!! 🧟‍♀️

Featuring Sleep-Deprivation-Zombie Mummy & the Two Tiny Terrors

Zombie Mummy

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Weaning ABC, part 1. Allergy

Info-dump time… welcome to my ABC of Weaning:

I was in no hurry whatsoever to start weaning, and happy to follow official WHO guidelines of exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months. Especially since I was leaning towards Baby Led Weaning, which isn’t recommended before 6 months. “Food before one is just for fun!” people said. I felt quite relaxed about it all (classic!). And then everyone around me started talking about allergy.

Recent medical studies (EAT & LEAP, if you’re interested) support introducing highly allergenic peanuts and eggs by 6 months to reduce chance of peanut and egg allergy. Speaking to doctors who specialise in paediatric allergy, the recommendation was to try and have all major allergenic foods introduced and then regularly exposed to the baby, 1-3 times per week, by 7 months.

Just like that, I was no longer relaxed. My babies were 5 and a half months; the clock was ticking!

More: we have no history of food allergy in our family. If we had, we would probably have sought a doctor’s opinion before launching in…

Major allergens: Eggs, Peanuts, Other nuts & seeds (eg sesame, Brasil, cashew), Dairy, Wheat, gluten, fish, shellfish, sulphates

I found this list quite intimidating. My sweet little babies knew only milk and cuddling, and now I had to cram a dozen different savoury foods into them whilst waiting for hives to break out at any second? And yet, now it felt like not doing that was neglectful and basically guaranteeing a future nut allergy with all the rigmarole and anxiety that entails.

So for what it’s worth, here’s what I did:

Weeks 1-2: single ingredients

To test for severe allergy to things I was most concerned about, I just did a finger-dab of the ingredient on the inside of the baby’s mouth. Then when there was no reaction, five minutes later I offered a baby spoonful of same ingredient. Official guidance is to do this 3 days in a row, and not to introduce any other potential allergen in that time.

Peanuts: Finger dab of smooth salt-free peanut butter into baby’s mouth.

Egg: Firmly scrambled egg, no milk initially (or breast milk/formula if you want; I found that super weird for some reason), gave a small spoonful initially, then if they’re anything like my two scrambled eggs will become a regular lunchdate-saving occurrence.

Dairy: Finger dab of full fat yoghurt; then full fat cow’s milk in porridge

Sesame: Finger dab of (organic salt free etc) tahini

As no allergy to any of these, I then relaxed a lot.

Wheat, gluten: gave small finger of bread to gnaw on

Dried fruit (sulphates) – poached some raisins in milk then strained and used the milk in porridge

Fish: gave inside of a fish finger to explore. Could have used fish paste / pate apparently, but we rarely eat fish so wasn’t after culinary points here!

Shellfish – haven’t yet tried.

Strawberries , citrus etc: not a classic allergen but lots of kids have hypersensitivity reactions to these. So we introduced them one at a time on individual days, and watched for any reaction.

Repeat introduction:

– Scrambled eggs made with with cows milk; we eat this regularly so just give babies a bit whenever we have it (eggs & dairy)

– Full fat yoghurt as a dip for steamed veggies (dairy) or on pita bread (wheat)

– Hummous made with tahini (sesame) on fingers of toast (wheat)

– peanut butter: on toast / in porridge / melted onto noodles. One of our girls’ favourite foods!

– cashew butter on toast (only once because holy hell that stuff’s expensive!)

Once all that was done, I relaxed even more. But if we’d had a set-back at any stage, I would have stopped the likely culprit, started a food diary and made a routine appointment with my GP.

Remember, under 12 months they get the vast majority of their nutrition from their milk, be that breast or formula; so there’s never any nutritional harm done by pausing weaning for a few days whilst you all regain your equilibrium.

Which brings me on to B in my ABC of introducing solids to babies: Baby Led Weaning .