Monday, 21 January 2019

The Beginning of Dairy Free Weaning: My Experience

So it was time. I'd waited long enough. Just over 6 months in fact. I needed to start the weaning process for Matilda. With my older son. who is allergy free, I was so excited to start this step. He was so desperate to try food and was grabbing our hands and pulling our forks full of food towards his mouth. He was ready and loved it. Everything we put in front of him, he ate. Easy.

This time however, I was really apprehensive. I delayed it as long as I could. But after our paediatric dietitian appointment we had the green light and advice needed to reassure us to proceed. I needed to decide which meal to start with and I thought breakfast would be the best option as it is our calmest part of the day.

Even though the dietitian had give us a wealth of advice and support, I couldn't help but worry. I searched the shops for a milk free porridge that would be suitable and followed the advice of mixing it with her usual milk. Well having not long stopped breastfeeding, her usual milk was now Neocate LCP. When I mixed it in, it turned grey. It did not look or smell appetising, but it was a taste I supposed she was used to, so I made my best yummy sounds and put on my biggest smile as I offered it to Matilda. This is the moment. Will she take it? Nope. She wouldn't even open her mouth. She turned her head away with a look of disgust. So I tried again, chatting away to her, making even bigger yummy sounds like a scene from Mr Tumble. This time it looked hopeful, she opened her mouth, took the porridge and pulled the most disgusted face I've ever seen on a 6 month old. No, she did not like it at all. I tried again. She shut her mouth tight and turned away. OK, never mind it was the first day, lets try again tomorrow. I repeated this for several days with the same result. It was time to try something different, so I mixed it with boiled water, cooled down to a suitable warm temperature. No, that didn't work either. This was very different from my son's enthusiastic approach to eating. She needed something really appetising to tempt her. Limited by her lack of teeth and inexperience chewing, I decided to try a fruit puree, something sweet.

Something about trying a fruit puree made me really nervous. But she needed to eat something and if she wouldn't take porridge and wasn't quite ready for toast, this was our best option. I peeled back the lid on the pot, took a scoop with a spoon and offered it to her. Her lips automatically shut, as had become the habit while feeding her porridge, but I pressed the spoon gently on her lips. Mmm, this is different she must have thought, as she slowly opened her mouth with a cautious look in her eye. She took the puree and smacked her lips. She loved it and wanted more. I excitedly offered her spoon after spoon as she took every one. However I didn't feel relieved, I felt anxious. I was studying her closely with every mouthful, especially her lips. Was it the puree making her lips look bigger or was she having an allergic reaction and her lips were swelling up? I frantically studied her from every angle, examining her lips, breathing and trying to catch a glimpse of her tongue. It was OK. I could relax, it was just the light hitting the puree on her lips. I felt relieved but then it dawned on me...I will be feeling this anxiety with every single new food I give her. This is the reality of being an allergy mum.

For ideas on dairy free weaning click here.
For simple dairy free weaning recipes click here

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