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Parents Panel: How did you wean your little one onto solid foods?

Feeding schedules, tantrums and lots of mess.

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel all about mealtimes: How did you wean your little one onto solid foods?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

He grabbed my sandwich and that was it
At seven months old, my son was on my lap one day and he just took a bite out of my sandwich, so I figured it was time to move more to solids!  As he ate more during the day, there were less night feeds, and he stopped breastfeeding himself around 13 months. Now, at 3, he still loves a bottle of cow’s or goat’s milk going to bed (his “nigh nigh”) – but we’re working on that!

Olly Keegan

I just knew it was time
When I saw that hungry look in their eyes I knew the boob wasn’t enough anymore. Both were around five or six months when I started to give them solids. It was a great relief from breastfeeding as much as I’d had to.

Suzie Kelly

I learned not to stress (the second time around)
I weaned both my kids onto solid foods at six months. My first-born got specially-crafted organic salt-free everything, cooked daily from recipe books. Not a morsel of sugar or salt passed her lips. With my second child, I was far less stressed about getting every nutrient in, and to be honest he has turned out to be a much better eater than his big sister!

Denise

13902605_1202917546439917_569552604417905903_n Source: Denise Cumiskey

We faced lots of doctors’ visits
Two of my four kids are coeliacs, and the lead-up to the first diagnosis with my daughter Rosie was pretty grim. Her symptoms started as soon as cereals were introduced. She didn’t gain weight, she had constant diarrhea, she was always sick and had anaemia. She wasn’t digesting any of her food properly and it was like pure stomach acid coming out in her nappies. Thankfully with her little brother Brendan, we recognised the signs straight away, and he improved as soon as we took him off gluten.

Susannah O’Brien

We had no clue at first
Like every new parent, when the time to wean came around we had no clue.  None. We were given a really great poster showing how many bottles/which foods a baby should have at each age, so loosely following this, we progressed to more and more food and fewer bottles. It was a gradual process with our eldest, but by kids two and three we were on auto-pilot.

 Alan Dooley

We swapped out the bottles one by one
We started by removing one of their bottles per day and replacing it with a jar of baby food. We would stay at this level for a few weeks before removing another bottle and adding another jar. It was a slow and arduous process over six months, with the pre-bedtime bottle the very last one to go.

Ken Hyland

Liesicka Source: Marta Lisiecka

I told him the milk was asleep at night
Timothy is a good eater and he’ll try anything. His night-time breastfeeds were the last thing to go, when he was 15 months old. I explained to him that at night everybody was asleep and the milk was too. The first night was hard, but I kept telling him that, offered him water instead, and gave him plenty of cuddles. He did ask for milk over the next few nights but eventually became okay with the change.

Marta Lisiecka

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We followed his lead
Around 4.5 months in, Charlie was exhibiting major food envy – he’d been staring and grabbing at our food for a couple of weeks. We followed his lead and began with small bits of baby rice, pureed vegetables and fruit. He gobbled them up and has been going from there. Other than keeping him entertained while eating (which is a whole other can of worms) he has readily accepted most foods – sweet, savoury, lumpy, etc.

Kait Quinn

There was a lot of stress… and a lot of mess
We got so stressed with the whole weaning process. We got some really dodgy advice, even from healthcare professionals! Our first baby didn’t take very well to solids until she was at least a year old. Our next three babies were all breastfed on demand, and at six months we just offered them food on their high chair table and let them pick what they wanted. Normally they’d just have the same food as the rest of family. If they didn’t eat we didn’t stress, my wife would simply give them as much milk as they needed instead.

There are so many advantages to baby led weaning but I have to warn you that it can get VERY messy!

Ross Boxshall

shutterstock_682455946 Source: Shutterstock/hobitnjak

We started her with one piece of banana
Ellie was a very hungry baby who loved her bottles. She was always watching us while we were eating, so one day when she was nearly four months old I gave her a bit of a banana. Over the next week or two we just gave her a taste of whatever we were eating. By six months she was eating everything.

Denise Cumiskey

We’re still figuring it out
My little one is five months old on Sunday, is almost sitting up by herself and shows great interest in our food. I think like all things with a first baby, you can research all you want and take all of the advice… but then fumble your way through to find what works for you.

Riona Flood 

More from our Parents Panel: How do you make mornings less stressful in your house?

And even more: Parents Panel: How did you approach the ‘sex talk’ with your kids?

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