Hungry for solids
Since starting our weaning diary, we feel like Mia has come such a long way – and so have we! She seems better at having the mixed combinations of fruit, which she wasn’t too sure about before. We are also trying really hard to give her some finger food. When I see her negotiate the bigger pieces, it scares me a little. However, she is learning to chew to make them soft. Today, she had a longer lunchtime nap and was definitely hungry by the afternoon. She seemed to enjoy having toast spread with Heinz By Nature Apple mixed with mashed avocado, moving her tongue around to soften the toast.
Balancing milk feeds
Mia had a terrible cold last month and she absolutely refused breast milk. I used to feed on demand and this was very frequent. So we had her on formula to monitor her fluid intake, and this now hasn’t changed. It has been much easier for me to see how much she is having.
Her milk feeds have gradually reduced since weaning began. She used to have between five and six milk feeds at seven months, and between seven and eight months we dropped that to four.
She started today with seven ounces of milk at 7am, and then breakfast at 8am of mushed banana with yogurt. It was hard as I felt she was overtired already, and wasn’t interested in eating her breakfast. She seemed focused on getting her bib off, and pushing at the highchair straps. We are still working out the best time for a milk feed and when to give her breakfast, before she gets tired.
Accepting more lumps
In the last few days we have noticed Mia is getting much better at holding finger food like toast. Today, she was continuing to soften it by sucking and is learning to chew it. I’m trying not to worry too much about her gagging, but I’m watching her carefully all the time.
For dinner she had the Heinz First Steps Cheesy Veg with Pasta. She loves food with cheese in! This has bits of soft pasta shapes and I noticed she pushed those bits forward with her tongue. I think this must be a process she goes through to negotiate them around her mouth. I feel like this is a step forward as she is now more accepting of food with texture, which she hasn’t been before.
The next night she had pasta with larger lumps, which she seemed quite cautious about. Her expression changes and she really concentrates with the Heinz By Nature Cheese & Tomato Pasta Stars. I know it’s important to keep giving her more foods with lumps in, but it is hard to balance this with smoother purées, which she eats so much quicker and therefore seems more satisfied. But I’m sure she'll soon be managing the lumps better soon.
Mia’s appetite seems to be increasing and we are still learning to balance the milk feeds with the mealtimes alongside her naps. We have noticed that she is definitely eating more. We just need to find better times to feed her lunch and dinner because she often isn’t hungry or has had milk too close to meal times. This is something we are learning to do.
It’s silly looking back, but I think we were giving her breakfast too soon at 8am, after 7 ounces of milk an hour before. When we moved breakfast to 8.30 or 9am things improved. We have kept it flexible and wait to see signs she is becoming a little restless and hungry again.
Mia has lunch at around 12.30pm and dinner at 5pm now. We used to do dinner at 4.30pm because we had concerns she was eating too close to her 6.30pm bedtime. But we realised this was too early and she wasn’t hungry, so dinner was moved to 5pm. I think in doing that we have noticed that she is actually getting hungrier and is able to take on more food, so we are really happy about that. She needs at least an hour and a half between a milk feed and a meal.
At the table
We tried something new at dinner time this evening. We moved Mia closer to the table and took her tray table away. She can be quite a distracted eater and we thought we would try a new position while she had her Heinz By Nature Sweet Potato & Beef Casserole. She seemed to enjoy being at the table but I know that when I feed her food I need to keep to a good speed, otherwise she seems to get bored or fidgety.
I would like to increase the amount of food she has with lumps, and to be brave when giving Mia finger food. I need to embrace the gagging as it is, of course, part of her development in learning how to manage the food in her mouth. She loves to watch us eat and was reaching for the food we had on the table, so we are starting to give her little manageable pieces. We have learnt so much, although we know we still have lots to learn in our food journey with Mia!
Moving to texture
Now that Mia has started weaning we want her to try more textures, flavours and combinations too. She's done so well with individual purees but it's all about tasting new things. For breakfast we tried her with Heinz First Steps Creamy Banana Porridge and pureed mango, which she's not had before. She's still struggling a little with a leftover cough and I know it's been making her a little more sensitive to food still. She started with the mango and seemed to really like the sweetness, reaching for the spoon as I helped guide it to her mouth. I alternated it with the porridge and she kept having little mouthfuls.
At dinner I thought we could start with some carrots before we went onto some of the Heinz By Nature Spaghetti Bolognese and then finish with a fruity custard. I am just building up gradually, seeing how she goes. The carrot sticks were cooked until they were quite soft and she did really well picking them up, especially for her first time. She was having a really good explore, squishing them with her fingers and at times attempting to lick them. She was really inquisitive, but I think she's definitely still more comfortable and confident with the purees and spoonfeeding.
I put some of the spaghetti bolognese onto her spoon and she reached for it and ate some spoonfuls, which was great. She put her fingers in the little bits of pasta, feeling them and squishing them. She loved the custard and I think this has shown us that she definitely prefers the sweeter fruits than some of the other flavours she has tried.
On Sunday we thought it was only right to give her a roast, so she tried a jar of the Heinz By Nature Sunday Chicken Dinner. We warmed it up a little bit and Mia grabbed the spoon straight away and took a spoonful. But then she screwed her face a little bit and I am not sure if she really got on with this one that well. She wasn't really quite sure what to do with those lumps, she tended to push them to the front of her mouth as if to try and get them out.
I think she was interested in the different flavours of the potato and the carrot and chicken, because she kept taking spoonfuls and you could see her gums working up and down on the lumps. It was a bit of a challenge this one to say the least, but we are persevering and we will see how we go.
The next day we tried the spaghetti bolognese again and like the chicken yesterday it had a few lumps in it. Mia seemed to manage the lumps a lot better, she was grabbing the spoon and feeding herself. She was very excited for it. I don't know if she was just in the mood but certainly we saw progression on the lumps she had yesterday. It's really good to give us confidence going forward with different flavours and textures.
For pudding she really enjoyed some Heinz So Yummy Apple Biscotti biscuits which are harder than the savoury puffs she has been eating. She can now eat them without anyone needing to hold it for her and can chew the hard biscuit with her four little teeth. We think she likes the feeling on her gums of something a little harder like this.
Playing with texture
We introduced a new flavour to her porridge the next day, which was cinnamon and apple puree. It was so nice to see Mia was still grabbing the spoon and wanting to try it and for the first time we started to see her playing with the texture of the food with her fingers which she hasn't done before.
After the success of the cinnamon porridge we thought we'd try it the day after with Heinz By Nature Apple & Strawberry. The pouch had actually been in the fridge and Mia really showed an interest and a change of expression when we did a change of temperature with the food. She has had a lot of warm food so far and for the first time it was really interesting to see that the temperature of the food, whether it be cold from the fridge or warmed up actually really changed the experience for her. This may be because she is getting more teeth through but she did have more than a normal breakfast. She is also continuing to enjoy the new cinnamon flavour as she is grabbing the spoon to get it in her mouth. I think she liked the coldness of the fruit flavours on her gums so I think it will be worth us remembering that for a few weeks to come.
"I’m so excited to start weaning, but a bit nervous too. I’m a self-confessed neat freak and it’s going to be messy! Ollie can’t wait to have a go because he’s not had much to do with feeding until now. We’ve got everything ready…all the gear, but no idea!
The first day felt like a huge step because she turned six months old and the weaning can start. She had Heinz First Steps Creamy Banana Porridge because we felt that was a good one to start with because it wasn't too complicated and didn't have too many flavours. I tried Mia’s porridge myself about three times to check it was the right temperature and texture, but I’m sure I’ll eventually relax. I offered her the first spoonful and it was so exciting - she leaned forward with her mouth open and happily had her first mouthful. She was smacking her lips together and made a little 'mmm' noise, so I gave her another two spoonfuls and she opened wide to eat it. Then she reached out and grabbed the spoon, she was smiling and it was so lovely.
Each time I would offer her a spoonful and she would reach to grab the spoon and it felt like she was guiding it to her mouth and putting it in. I think she liked gnawing on the rubbery tip of it too, although it made it trickier for me to control the spoon! It was a very exciting experience in that there were just so many new things around her. As a first day we both felt quite positive about it. Obviously as people say, it's baby steps, but it really is about Mia just having a few spoonfuls here and there and getting used to all these new flavours that she's never experienced before. She was using her hands to spread it around on the highchair tray and she didn't seem to mind porridge being all over her face. It’s definitely going to be a messy affair.
For day two we went with the porridge again, but on day three we introduced Heinz By Nature Apple at breakfast. I was nervous trying a new flavour and worried it would be too sour, and I think Mia seemed unsure too. She had three spoonfuls and was smacking her lips together, and then she scrunched up her face as though the tang of the apple had hit her tastebuds. Her eyes were full of surprise. She was quite vocal about the whole eating experience and definitely let us know that at times she wasn't happy. I am guessing every day is going to be different.
We were thinking, do we keep going or should we stop if she's not happy? I feel I’m trying to balance her having enough with reminding myself that she has only just started her food journey so we must remain relaxed – even if she has just a few spoonfuls. It’s easy as adults to feel that an empty plate is a successful meal whereas for a baby a few tasters on a spoon are actually huge leaps in her development.
I wanted to try hard with her first vegetable on day four – pureed carrot, because my own anxieties made me think she might not like it. It was fascinating watching her move her lips in a different way responding to the texture. I have to remind myself that every mouthful is still a big step for Mia even if it only looks a little bit for us. We tried something new halfway through with a chunkier spoon that Mia could hold herself and I think it actually paid off. She can hold it better so she was not as frustrated as when I was using a smaller weaning spoon, which she was desperate to hold. Let's see how it goes.
We had our first eating experience away from home on day six at Grandma’s house. I cooked peas and then pureed them and was surprised how willing Mia was to try the puree. She grabbed the spoon and leaned forward to have three or four mouthfuls in a row. I’d secretly hoped we’d have success for Grandma to see, putting terrible pressure on myself. But Mia did fantastic and there was no reason to worry. We did notice that although she had a few mouthfuls she was quickly distracted, looking around the room and reaching to play with her bib and the tablecloth. We got her attention and she had another few spoonfuls - and then looked around again. I think she liked having an audience with Grandma watching!
It’s been a great start – and we can’t believe how quickly the contents of her nappies have changed! I’m getting more aware of Mia’s eating characteristics. She’s started making little noises when she eats certain foods, making different movements with her lips and moving forwards in the highchair. I’m also noticing the signals for when she has had enough. I’m learning the importance of feeding with more speed too, as Mia quickly gets distracted. And during these early weaning days I feel it's good to have the familiar environment of home for my confidence too."