Weaning advice to my past self with @arya_dianes_world

Weaning | | Amber

I’m Amber, first time mummy to 19-month-old Arya. I am a solicitor by day but everything baby-related enthusiast in my spare time, mostly I have a little bit of a clothing addiction!

Isn’t hindsight one of the most infuriating things?

As a first-time mum, I had dived headfirst into a weaning journey consisting of a million different pieces of advice. Weaning can often be quite confusing… so I wanted to share my account for mums going through the same stage.

I’m no self-proclaimed expert – my little one, Arya, is as fussy as can be. At 19 months old, I am still learning the ropes and trying my hardest to expand her very short list of acceptable meals. Here are the three things that I would tell myself at the beginning of our weaning journey…

1) Variety is the spice of life

From my experience, I would introduce a new flavour to Arya almost every day. It can be so exciting when you find a food your little one loves, so much so, that you end up feeding them the same thing repeatedly (especially when other people are about just to show that your baby is a “fantastic eater”).

It may have made no difference to the fact that she is now a fusspot, but I really do think that if I had been more adventurous from the start, she may have a more adventurous palate now.

2) Beware of the electronic babysitter

I feel I need to defend myself here as so many people are openly against “screen-time”, especially during mealtimes. Allowing Arya to eat her dinner in front of the TV worked for me at the time because Arya’s other mum and I split when Arya was still a little baby, I therefore found that the spare time given to me whilst Arya ate was valuable (to clear the kitchen or prepare some food for myself for example).

I realised that Arya, who has always been fussy, ate a little better with the distraction – and by that time I was willing to try anything! I completely understand how parents end up resorting to this. Despite this, I would give one-year-ago-me a word of caution – make sure that TV dinners do not become the norm and that your child is still happy and willing to eat without on-screen entertainment. Currently, I am really trying to introduce more mealtimes at the dining table, which is hard work as Arya just doesn’t seem to eat as much if she is not distracted by the TV.

Because of this, taking Arya out to eat isn’t a particularly relaxed experience. I am hoping it is just one of those things – you need to go through the tough times to really see the benefits!

3) Your little knows their own appetite

I’m sure that I’m not the only mummy who consistently panics about whether their baby is eating a “normal” amount. What I would say from my own experience, and from speaking with lots of other mummies, is that there is no normal!

To give you a vague idea, one day Arya can’t eat more than a few bites of toast, a handful of blueberries, half a biscuit, a fruit pouch and a couple of pieces of pasta. Another day she may eat an omelette for breakfast, a sandwich, fruit and crisps for lunch, snacks throughout the day and a bowl of curry and rice for dinner. The difference in appetite is huge.

Even though she is only a little one, she knows what she wants, knows what she needs, and she will not starve herself! It used to feel like most of the day was a mealtime; I would try constantly to get Arya to eat what I thought was an acceptable amount of food, but that would only serve to upset us both. Now I make sure she is offered food regularly, but I try not to worry if she turns it down. She is healthy and growing, and that is all that matters.