Baby A loves her food. She loves to eat it, throw it and demand it if I haven’t fed her dinner by 4.50pm! I can’t believe that this time last year she was still being breastfed and hadn’t even tasted her first foods yet.
I’ve shared my advice before about how to wean a baby with food allergies but now we are nearing the end of our journey as part of Hipp’s Wean Team, I have been thinking about what we have learnt on the way.
Take it slowly
It can often feel like there is a rush to start weaning – your child will be hungry, won’t grow enough, or never eat solid food if you don’t master it soon! It’s not a race and you will get there eventually. We were having issues with baby A reacting badly with loose nappies and eczema when we started weaning. We weren’t sure why and so decided to start again. We went back to basics, fed her only milk for a few weeks and reintroduced foods slowly. And you know what – she now eats pretty much everything you put in front of her! Take it at your baby’s own pace and don’t feel you need to keep up with anyone else.
Meant to be messy
Ok, I didn’t really learn this with baby A as I had already been through it with J, but I was definitely reminded of it! Luckily we have a loveable Labrador who happily hoovers up anything that is thrown from the highchair. Baby A still likes to eat yoghurt with her hands, tip porridge onto her tray and smear chocolate across her face. But that’s half the fun. It’s all learning, experiencing and interacting with food and she loves it.
It’s OK to be scared
Your first gagging incident, worrying they are eating enough, letting them eat their own food – weaning can be a little scary. And that’s OK. It’s natural to be daunted by such a big and new part of your baby’s life. Throw allergies into the mix and it all becomes a little scarier. Baby A’s first big reaction was horrible and every time I introduced a new food I was worried about what would happen. I still am. But we are prepared, we introduce new foods carefully and we are giving her a fun and varied diet.
Introduce allergens early
There has been varying advice about when and how to introduce allergens to babies. The latest guidance from LEAP study suggests that introducing peanuts from 4 months can helps stop allergies developing. We were unable to get baby A tested until she was 7 months so couldn’t introduce them that early (there are many issues with the NHS not making referrals earlier enough) but we did feed her peanut butter once we got the all clear.
Hipp Organic have surveyed all the members of the Wean Team and found what we have learnt during our weaning journeys:
Hipp Organic have some great weaning advice on their website, including some informative pages about weaning with food allergies.