“Feed a toddler and a baby? I have difficulty feeding just one child!”, my friend once exclaimed as she bemoaned her 19-month-old son’s willingness to consume only Shreddies and bread with butter.
I was pregnant with my second child, Mia, at the time and I remember an image flashing across my mind of two shrieking little ones covered head-to-toe in food, in a kitchen resembling a Pollock masterpiece. Luckily this image did not become a reality… well mostly!
When I started weaning Mia, I fed her around the same time as my eldest Lola, to get her into a routine and make it easier for me when it came to preparing food. This definitely stood me in good stead, as she settled into a routine very quickly.
I always try and feed the girls the same foods or variations on a meal to suit their ages and allergies/intolerances. When Mia was in the earlier stages of weaning, I would puree some of the veg I was cooking for Lola and then, as she progressed, I would fork mash the same meals and give her finger foods.
Like I did with her sister, I did a combination of traditional and baby-led weaning with Mia. I started giving her finger foods from a younger age as she constantly watched her older sister and wanted to copy her. She took to food suprisingly well and developed her pincer grip very early on and has now become very indepedent with food.
Although it’s nice to make homemade meals in big batches, some to serve, some to freeze, it’s not that easy when you have two little ones, a tiny freezer and a busy schedule. Pouches and good quality ready-made toddler meals have been a godsend for me.
I didn’t cook as much homemade food for Mia as I used to for Lola, and felt guilty about it at first. But now that both are older, I have a little more time and have reclaimed my Kitchen Goddess status – although on Fridays, I buy a “treat” meal for them, or should I say me!
I am lucky that Lola has always been such a good eater and does not really make a fuss at meal times. It’s Mia who can turn into a mini-diva, so meal times can sometimes descend into (organised) chaos.
Mia takes great delight in throwing food – either because she doesn’t want the food or because she wants attention – off her highchair. I tried to ignore it once and didn’t see the radius of the mess and slipped on a strawberry and fell on my bum much to Mia’s mirth – cheeky monkey!
Lola is always telling Mia off for throwing food. Mia always wants what her sister is eating too, even if she has the same, and can get upset when she doesn’t get her own way – cue the fruit/vegetable shaped missiles.
Even so, for all the food thrown, mess caused, spoonfuls refused, blueberries pinched or extra yoghurts demanded, I love every meal time with my girls.