Weaning your little one is a tricky business. Well I certainly found it to be so. My post-natal anxiety was at it’s worst when I was weaning Little Man and it became a huge worry for me. Little Man choking, not liking what I gave him, not cooking things properly (I am a rubbish cook) all became triggers for my anxiety then. Today I have a guest post from Jenni Tellyn who blogs over at Baby Weaning Chart and is all over social media as @bibisgrowingup. She lives near Brighton with her same-sex partner, Kathryn, and two daughters, Isabella, 3.5, and Bibi, 7 months. Jenni has been cast in the “stay at home mum” role for the first time and is finding weaning baby Bibi a challenge!
Well I’ve found the whole business of having a baby to be inordinately worrisome. From the agonising we went through about whether to try to have a baby in the first place (admittedly perhaps overthought in lesbian relationships with two women on the case trying to find the elusive “right time”, no chance of a happy “accident” and the monstrous financial investment of IVF on the horizon just to get our ovaries around some tadpoles!). To the undignified rumpus of pregnancy with the omnipresent fears of it all coming to a heartbreaking halt at any moment. As baby Bibi is now nearly seven months old, I can hardly remember the anxiety-strewn first few weeks where the right room temperature, the excruciating pain of breastfeeding and her battles with the dreaded wind were all-encompassing at the time. For me, there is some truth in the adage that as babies get more sturdy, one worries for their very life a little less. However, the latest stage of trying to get her to eat actual food is proving to be a whole new kettle of piranhas and has got me worrying about a whole new universe of stuff. When Bibi was five months old, I started a blog to chart our weaning adventure and I created a sticker chart partly to satisfy the hyper-organised bit of me and partly to prompt me to make sure I introduce Bibi to a wide variety of food. For I have a secret. Admittedly a not-very-secret secret now as it’s “public” on the interwebnet (if anyone is actually out there reading 😁). I’m a REALLY picky eater! I wish I wasn’t as it has been a source of much ridicule and humiliation from family and friends all my life. If I try a new food in company, it is exclaimed over like the Second Coming drawing exceptionally unwanted attention to me gagging down a carrot in an effort to look “normal”. If I decline a food, my foody weirdness and disappointing attitude to eating what’s been lovingly prepared for me is raked over at length. The thought of saddling Bibi with this sort of nonsense is a big worry! So, even though I can’t stand the sight or smell of swede or cabbage and even the thought of puréed anything makes me retch, I’m determined to put a brave face on offering her new tastes to try to stop history repeating itself.
This is apparently easier said than done, however. Along with the pickiness comes my absolutely catastrophic cooking capabilities! This is a family joke as my mum and my partner, Kathryn, are both goddesses in the kitchen so it clearly isn’t rubbing off! Perhaps I’m not interested in food enough to practice but trying to make anything edible for anyone brings me out in a cold sweat. I find the potential waste of good ingredients, the juggling of cooking times to get different ingredients ready at the same time and the inevitable judgment of the diners on my very worth as a human being/cook really stressful! I find it inconceivable that people cook as a hobby or a way of relaxing! This is hampering our weaning efforts somewhat. We are so far inadvertently doing “baby-led weaning” on the basis that (a) Bibi won’t let me anywhere near her with a spoon and (b) I’m not entirely sure how to purée anything. Apart from pasta and sauce and steamed broccoli and carrots (even I can chop dammit!), I haven’t quite been able to get my act together to actually cook a meal for her. Apart from what Kathryn has cooked for her, she’s therefore had cheese, breadsticks, carrot sticks, banana, yoghurt, green beans, etc. Finger foods which don’t require much actual cooking. Because the act of cooking is such a huge and menacing hurdle for me, it is not something I am jumping to factor into our hectic days. When Bibi has her morning and lunchtime naps, when we are not out and about I find my time is more than spent washing bottles, tidying up, doing washing and responding to the demands of Isabella, our Threenager! When we have got the girls down at night, it’s all I can do to stay awake for a smidgeon of adult conversation and keeping up with the blog and life’s interminable admin. Cooking up a storm to freeze into little pots is absolutely the last thing on my non-foodie agenda.
I will clearly have to get with the programme soon though and find a way of galvanising myself to work through a recipe book and subject Bibi to every trial-and-error lurch along the road to Nigella-esque glory I can muster. I’m sure there must be some sort of European law against such flagrant experimentation on babies!? Wish her luck!
Follow Jenni Tellyn’s blog at www.babyweaningchart.com and get your own chart and stickers for £7.50 (incl UK postage) at www.babyweaningchart.com/shop. Or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.