Welcome to Weaning Wisdom Wednesday. This week I am joined by the lovely Zoe from Mummy and Liss, who has written a great piece on her struggles with weaning her daughter alongside a diagnosis of CMPA. Take it away Zoe…
Hello, my name is Zoe. I am 18 years old & a young mum to baby girl Alyssia Grace aged 1.
At around 3 months old, Alyssia was diagnosed with CMPA and was put onto Aptamil Pepti milk. Alyssia seemed so much happier in herself once she had settled on the new milk, she was like a completely different child. We got ourselves into a routine, I knew what I was doing and it was just so easy – until at 5 months old she started to refuse her milk. What do you do when your baby is not drinking her milk?
I took her to the doctors and because she was losing weight, we were advised to start weaning at 5 & half months – starting with smooth purees. We did this for a few weeks and at around 6 & half months we started baby-led weaning with finger foods. (This was mostly fruit & veg with her being so young still) Alyssia’s first finger foods were cucumber & melon sticks. We then went on to try different fruits & vegetables and found that she absolutely loved broccoli and carrots (and still does now at 13 months old). In all honesty I never knew how hard weaning would be until I went to the baby section in Asda, most pouches, jars & finger foods had milk in. I was shocked at how little they had for babies with allergies – I didn’t want to give my baby the same foods at every meal time, we needed variety…
Maybe just maybe I’d LOVE to know she can divulge in chocolate, yoghurts, cheese etc if she wanted to when she’s bigger. Instead half my time is spent reading the back of food packaging with that sinking feeling that yet again she can’t have something..
At around 8 months old Alyssia started to eat what we were eating – proper meals. But this meant that we had to change our lifestyle to suit her, dairy-free meals & snacks. This was when we discovered the free-from section – an absolute godsend but at the same time – very pricey! Trust me the cost of having a baby with CMPA is so high.
Alyssias favourite foods at 13 months old are blueberries, oranges, broccoli, carrots, roast dinner & spaghetti bolognese. She doesn’t really have any foods that she dislikes at the minute, however she’s not keen on raw tomatoes but will eat them occasionally.
Eating out with Alyssia is an absolute nightmare, I am constantly having to check the menus / ask if things have got dairy in etc.. or having to pack extra food just for Alyssia to be able to have tea out. At home I try and plan my food shops & meal plans around Alyssia’s needs – everything I buy (pretty much) is dairy & soya free so that we can have meals as a family and she doesn’t feel left out. She’s only 13 months old so she doesn’t really notice/ understand that she’s got different food to other people but it still affects me knowing that one day she’s going to wonder why she can’t have that same chocolate bar as the other kids at school etc.. the doctors told us that she might grow out of it, and that this could just be a temporary thing but we have noticed that she gets the same reaction with soya products & after the last time (swelling eyes, diarrhoea, eczema rash, colic & vomiting) I am very nervous to try her on any of those foods again however we have seen a dietician and are going to slowly be introducing dairy into her diet.
We have got the i-safe mama highchair in Hawaii, it is a good highchair. It’s suitable from 6 months, it reclines & the tray comes off therefore it’s easy to clean. I would recommend it as a first highchair, it’s only £50 so is good value for money however when your child gets bigger and heavier I would recommend moving over to a more sturdy chair.
The most challenging aspect of weaning for us has definitely been the dairy allergy, its put up a massive barrier in front of us and restricted us alot. However, it has taught me how to meal plan and I have learnt alot about CMPA (Cows Milk Protein Allergy). I personally haven’t ever received any criticism for my weaning choices, but I have heard people critizise others, “they’re weaning there baby too early” “make your own, don’t buy jars” “it’s full of rubbish, make it yourself so you know what goes in it.” Let’s be honest – not all of us have time to make our own purees and if you are baby-led weaning you won’t need to anyway. However some mums think that making it yourself is the way to go. In the UK it is recommended that we wait until at least 6 months to wean our babies – but not everyone waits that long. Some babies are ready before others, but all babies are different and so are all parents (that’s something we all need to remember) you might find yourself judging other parent’s for their parenting choices however most of the time – there is a reason as to why they are doing things differently. For example: my daughter refused her milk and was losing weight, we were advised to wean a few weeks early by a professional therefore that is what we did. Every baby is different, Every parent is different!
If I were to have another baby and have to do weaning all over again, I would definitely try and stick to a plan. Rather than going all in for baby led weaning, I think I would do combination weaning – the same as what I’ve done with Alyssia. I personally think that there is a massive jump from milk to a finger food so i would start off slowly with vegetable purees, followed by fruit purees, meal purees and then I would probably start to introduce finger foods.
My advice to new parents – combination feed (do both baby-led weaning and spoon feeding) that way you can’t go wrong and you’ve covered all aspects. Weaning is hard, don’t get frustrated if your baby doesn’t like the foods you’re giving them – try, try, try again. Don’t be scared to give them big chunks of food if you’re baby-led weaning, chances are they wont eat much of it anyway – they’ll mostly just suck on it. If you are going to give your baby grapes, please make sure you cut them in half longways to prevent choking. Baby led weaning is messy so you might want to invest in a floor mat and a steam mop. But most of all have fun & enjoy your baby – they don’t stay little for long!
You can find Zoe:
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