How I introduced complementary feeding to my daughter
Date: 03 Jul 2019
Our Marketing Communications Executive, Sarah Mealing, talks about her experience with complementary feeding.
As my daughter was around 6 months of age, I thought I had better start looking into the weaning process. At the time, I was advised that this was the age to start weaning, but I understand this can vary depending on your child’s circumstances.
I had exclusively breastfed my daughter from birth, and I considered myself very lucky to have no issues during this time. In fact, I had enjoyed this stage as it was a wonderful and unique opportunity to bond with her. She enjoyed this time too, and had not shown any signs that she needed additional food.
As I began to read up on weaning, I tried to incorporate it into my daily feeding routine. One method suggested through my research was to utilise pureed foods. The easiest way for me to do this was to buy ice cube trays, puree broccoli and carrots and pour the mix into the trays to freeze. This allowed me to defrost the amount I needed to feed my daughter with ease.
It was around this time that I was made aware of a talk at my local Children’s Centre on Baby Led Weaning. I was curious and thought that I had nothing to lose so I went along! Following the talk I was sold on this way of weaning. To me this seemed to be a much easier way of getting my little one to start on solid food. It also involved less preparation time and still allowed me to feed my little one in a controlled way which made me feel prepared.
I supplemented the puree with bread, banana and cucumber, all sliced into suitably size pieces. She loved this and it was amazing to watch her feed herself. I even introduced cooked broccoli florets for extra variety which were a big hit!
When I spoke to my parents about this way of feeding, they were at first apprehensive about risks of choking when feeding a baby solids. I assured them that I would always sit and monitor her at all times whilst she was eating, and that she was always sitting upright in her highchair. I also explained the gagging reflex- which is a natural safety response to food travelling too far into the back of the mouth.
When you do decide to try baby led weaning, here is a few quick tips that I learnt from experience that may help:
- Expect lots of mess! – This will be your child’s first experience with semi-solid and solid food, so they will love to play with the textures.
- Ensure you have a large floor plastic mat and a good catch bib to save time cleaning up!
- Don’t be too alarmed if your little one does not eat much solid food for the first few months. Though this can make you feel immediately concerned, I was assured that my child would still be getting enough nutrition from her milk intake.
Looking back, I have no regrets of introducing this way of feeding, as I continued to breastfeed my daughter until she was 17 months old, with the aid of water from a sippy cup. There is no right or wrong way to introducing complementary foods to your little ones; it is whatever works best for you and your baby.
It’s okay to feel nervous about moving into the next stage of your child’s feeding. However it’s important for you to know that you are not alone. Our staff are always happy to help, so please contact your local Bright Horizons Nursery Manager who will support you with the complementary feeding process.
Bright Horizons are proud to be working in partnership with NCT. We support their mission to help parents through the first 1,000 days, to have the best possible experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. If you would like more information on the topic of complementary feeding from NCT, please visit https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/feeding/introducing-solids/baby-led-weaning-10-tips-get-you-started.