Starting Weaning

A few weeks ago, when he was hitting the six month mark, I began trying to give Henry solid foods for the first time. My aunt had advised me that once babies start putting things in their mouth that means they are ready to have a go at real food. I was really excited to give Henry his first meal which I decided should be mashed avocado as I’m told that is what I first ate as a tiny baby. The story goes, according to my mother, that I was a stubborn and impossible child who refused point blank to take a bottle after the boob was taken away but the day I was given avocado I immediately became the robust eater that I am today.

I wish I could say that the same was true for Henry. I had lovingly mashed his avocado and no sooner had I spooned it into his mouth than suddenly his eyes opened wide and he forcefully and thoroughly ejected every scrap of green mush. He looked at me like I had committed the ultimate betrayal. As usual my hysteria promptly kicked in and I began googling ‘babies refusing to eat’ and wondering if protein shakes were suitable for babies should the worst come to the worst — I was envisioning that Henry would still be a bottle-feeder at age fourteen. Every day I tried in vain to give that child some real food. Top marks for motherly dedication; I was tirelessly boiling and blending every permutation and combination of vegetable I could think of but still Henry refused point blank.

I began to seriously resent Tom as well because I felt he was really not bothered even trying to feed the baby as it was just easier to give him the bottle. I tried baby-led weaning, force-fed weaning and trick-him-into-opening-his-mouth weaning all for nothing. Then when the breakthrough happened it was so obvious I wondered how I didn’t think of it. Of course! We all want what we can’t have, which is how Henry’s first foray into the world of solid food came to be this rather exotic coconut and banana porridge which I was eating for my own breakfast. Perfect for the colder mornings. Now if Henry ever seems unenthusiastic about a new taste I just eat a few bites and then he’s all over it. Trickery and reverse psychology — now I feel like a real parent!

Coconut and Banana Porridge

Serves 1 adult (with enough extra for the little one!)

  • 60g porridge oats
  • 200ml water
  • 80ml unsweetened coconut milk (or baby’s usual milk if preferred)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • A handful of berries (for Henry I just mash these with a fork)

Place the oats, the water and the coconut milk into a small pot over a medium heat. Slice the banana into the pot also. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously until the porridge has thickened and is nice and creamy. The banana will melt into the porridge and gives it a lovely natural sweetness. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the coconut oil. Divide into a little and a large bowl and serve with berries on top. Allow the baby’s bowl to cool before serving.

Sarah Greene

I recently became pregnant to my delight, shock, awe, terror… you get the idea! I’ve been working as a chef since leaving college and have had the good fortune to have worked in kitchens in New Zealand and France before moving back home to Dublin last year to “settle down”. This involved marrying my boyfriend and then moving back into my parents’ house. I know, I know. There’s something wrong with this picture. In our defence we are currently trying to get a mortgage and saving for our first house so it’s not quite the arrested development that it sounds like. In all I think it’s going okay and my parents are slowly adjusting to the ‘clothing optional’ policy Tom adopts at breakfast time. Currently I work as a café cook in a busy and very popular breakfast and lunch spot in Dublin City.

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