Excuse me whilst I just remove the tiny bits of mashed up food from my fingers, computer screen and eye lashes for the seventeenth time today so I can write this. OK. Thanks. Right. 5 things I hate about weaning. Where to begin?
THE DECISION MAKING
The timing of weaning is mean. Just when you think you’ve made all of the big decisions (breast or bottle? co-sleeping or cot? pushchair or baby wearing?) and you’re just about feeling confident in yourself as a mum – BAM! Your baby turns 4 months and suddenly everyone has an opinion again. “Is he on solids yet?” “It’ll help him sleep better.” “Here, give him a Rich Tea…” Only to be followed by, “So, Annabel Karmel or baby led weaning?” Seriously. He’s 4 months old. I’m impressed if I manage to eat a Pop Tart before 1pm. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with him so please, let me avoid thinking about it for as long as possible.
THE TIME YOU LOSE
Because leaving the house in the stupidly short intervals you have around 6 months when they need to nap ALL. THE. TIME. isn’t hard enough, along comes weaning. And suddenly you actually have to start thinking about meals in the day and not just chocolate Hobnobs. Days full of lovely long leisurely NCT lunches whilst baby naps get replaced with a non-stop cycle of milk feeds, meals, more feeds, cleaning, washing up, laundry (oh the washing!) and naps. Wake up after 45 minutes, and repeat. It’s a painful moment when you realise you need to reschedule all of your social events until your baby is 5.
Things you learn about food during weaning: 1. Broccoli is the most spreadable food on the planet. You will find those like green bits everywhere. 2. Dried Weetabix is stronger than cement. They should build houses from it. 3. Ants will hunt out any food and hang around a high chair like dogs. 4. The sun really does bleach tomato stains out of clothes. So there you go. The mess isn’t all bad. It’s actually quite educational.*
*This is the positive spin I have put on the fact that I now spend several hours of my day cleaning food I have just cooked off the floor and chiselling it off a high chair. Just let that sit a while. It’s a thoroughly depressing fact.
Newborn mums and dads: you don’t know good you’ve got it. You think it’s bad because they poo three times a day. But oh! Those early days poos. Amusingly yellow. So inoffensive that if a bit gets sprayed on you during a nappy change, you wipe it off with a cloth and don’t think any more of it. A tendency to leak a bit on clothing, but it’s nothing that won’t wash out. And then weaning starts and you don’t think much is going in. But then the poo turns. And the smell turns. And the texture turns. And the frequency changes. And you suddenly realise for the next two years This. Is. It. And then going back to work in a few months doesn’t look so bad.
The bibs. The Tupperware. The entire drawer in my house devoted to my search for The Perfect Cup. The rice cakes. The breadsticks. The fact that somehow I now have a snack cupboard in my kitchen with nothing in it that I actually want to eat. The IKEA high chair. The tiny little knives and forks that sit redundant every single meal time because they’re just slowing The Boy down. There’s just So. Much. Stuff. And that’s just at home. Going out is worse. That old nappy bag that’s been working so well, neatly organised with spaces for nappies and wipes and a change of clothes? Where exactly do you plan on keeping a leaking cup, a bib, seventy hundred raisins, a packed lunch and an about to turn banana. Because you’re going to need them all, all the time, even if you’re just popping to the shop for 10 minutes. And worst of all, when the moment comes, you still won’t have packed the right cup.