Thursday, 23 September 2010

Baby Weaning Party

On Monday I went to a weaning party at my local sure start centre.

Personally I went just to see what they were recommending and I thought I'd be one of those women sat at the back saying "yes but what about this, and what about that?" but I was pleasantly surprised.

I told her I was interested in baby led weaning and what she could tell me about it.  I was the only one who mentioned it but when she started talking about it a few women (mostly second time mums) all said they were interested.

The girl who did the talk was very non-judgemental and catered the talk to all of the mums, whether breast or bottle feeding, weaning before or at 6 months and definitely encouraged baby led weaning.

This was so different from a talk I went to in New Zealand (2008) where everything had to be liquidised and each new food had to be tried for 3 days before starting a different food.  I can honestly say I hated weaning my first daughter.

So to hear someone talk about giving your baby what you eat (within reason), large, easy to grasp foods, lots of different foods and even 'try to hold off giving them chocolate and crisps if you can!' was so refreshing.

In New Zealand I was given a list of all the foods that could be introduced to the baby only at certain months.  As a vegetarian, I was dying to give my daughter lentils, baked beans, brocolli, chick peas and other iron rich foods but most of these foods couldn't be introduced until she was 1 year old.  I was on a constant struggle with her iron levels and health care professionals kept trying to get me to give her meat.  I asked a health worker what is the best thing to give a vegetarian baby. Her reply - meat!

They even sent her for blood tests to check her iron levels and they were perfectly normal, which made me very happy.  But I also got conflicting advice too.  Another doctor was telling parents not to give children under the age of 4 or 5 meat.  He wasn't even vegetarian but said young children can't digest meat.

No wonder I was confused.

So second time around I'm much more relaxed, as second time mums are.  The lady giving this talk was talking about 'a window of opportunity' at 6 to 12 months.  She said if you want your child to eat certain foods then it is best to introduce it to them between these ages.  They are more likely to continue eating those foods if eaten early on during the weaning process.  (Better stay clear of the chocolate for a while then!)

Though I was a little disappointed with the description of it being a weaning party. I was expecting food, balloons and little gifts.  I got leaflets and a plastic spoon!

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