Ok, so I said in my last blog post that I would write about weaning, and I will, but first I wanted to get this “experience” out the way, as it’s quite shit and it put a proper downer on things, brought out the old friend MUM GUILT again and I’ve found it quite hard to move on from, as it was really scary and I dread to think about what would of happened if circumstances were different within that split second.
So, as you may or may not know, my boy William is a hungry lad. We started putting baby rice in his milk from about 10 weeks old as he was just NOT FULL after having 9oz bottles. A lovely friend Emma gave me some fab advice as she has a similar hungry little boy and after speaking with her, and looking into it a bit I decided to give it a go. Shortly after this I started weaning slowly. When he was about 16 weeks, on my health visitors advice.
When I say weaning, I mean offering him a taste of a fruit of vegetable puree at tea time. I was adamant I was going to be this super-mum and puree all my own food and he was only going to have organic and it would be loads cheaper and he was not going to have jars of baby food, and all the rest of it blah blah blah.
Well, it all started off so well, I did a small variety of fruits and vegetables; mango, apple, pear, banana, sweet potato, butternut squash, that sort of thing. I spent one (long) afternoon doing it all and blending it all up in this blender hubby once got me for my Christmas present (don’t ask, you can imagine my reaction on Christmas morning when I open this present to see a Kenwood fucking blender there on my bed surrounded my soap and glory gift sets and frigging lindt chocolate reindeers), and had them all in little ice cube trays in the freezer ready for each day.
So, as time went on and William was enjoying more and more food, I thought I’d mix it up and do some broccoli puree for him. So I did the whole boiling to a pulp, making the house smell of fart and death (what is it with green vegetables they REEK) and froze them all ready. I used one the next day. I used to get excited to see what flavours he would Like, and also felt proud that he was having food I has made for him.
I sat him in his little Mamas and Papas bumbo seat thing and bless his heart he sat there patiently waiting for me to defrost this green slop in the microwave, and he had a couple of spoonfuls of it. He seemed to enjoy it! I was buzzing, I felt like superwoman as he had tried and liked all my homemade purees. I was at one with nature. I was at one with my child. I felt like Yoko Ono.
However. I think it must of been the 4th spoonful, he started to gag a little. I know that this is all part of the learning experience for them and they have to learn how to gag and bring up any food, so I let him cough and splutter a little bit, gave him a little pat on the back to help him alone and get it up.
But he didn’t manage to get it up. He coughed a little bit, and made gagging noises and actions, but nothing came up. Then he kind of…froze. it was literally the scariest moment of my life. He went really still, sort of leant forward in his seat, and his mouth was open. His eyes were staring, wide open, at nothing, and he wasn’t really blinking. There was no sound from him. He looked like he was struggling to breathe.
He was choking.
Even writing this now makes me feel sick to my stomach . Like..it literally makes my stomach churn. The memory is so strong. For that split second I didn’t have a fucking clue what to do. Then all of a sudden, I dunno, instinct I guess kicked in. I screamed “William!” Threw the little play tray off his seat, grabbed him and just kept saying his name over and over. He was really stiff, like he was tense. I put him upside down, my hand on his chest, near his neck, and quite literally, smacked his back like fuck. Like, so so hard. I think I did that three times and he finally coughed and started wretching and gagging, and some spit came out, and he started crying. I flipped him over and sat down, and had a look in his throat and mouth. There was nothing there. He was proper crying his eyes out, I must of really hurt him. But he was crying. He was safe. He was alive.
We sat on that chair and cried together for a good 10 minutes. I just kept hugging and kissing him, asking him if he was Ok (fuck knows why, I’ve just slapped the fuck out of him and he at the time was about 20 weeks old, it’s not like he could answer is it?!), I looked for the piece of broccoli that he had choked on but I couldn’t find it. It must of been so so small. Or, maybe the puree was still a little cold from being defrosted? And he was storing it in his mouth rather than swallowing the small spoons I was giving him? Who knows. I mean, I have always been very cautious with what I give and do give William. I’ve never loaded the spoon up with a shit load of puree, or left him unattended whilst weaning. And he seemed to be really enjoying the flavour and the taste, and I believed that the puree was smooth. Obviously for him at that time of weaning it wasn’t.
Afterwards I threw the bowl of puree in the bin, and I started to feel really shocked and shaky, I was shivering and was feeling so bad and guilty. I believed it was my fault William had choked on this broccoli. I rang hubby crying my eyes out, i felt so bad, how could I of done that to our baby?
The rest of that night went the same as usual, we had a play, I was a little (ok a lot) more cautious with William, when we had a bath I sat there staring at him crying, apologising for weaning him, apologising for hurting his back, apologising for being a rubbish mum. When he fell asleep in my arms that night I didn’t want to put him in his cot, I was petrified something would happen to him, what if he choked again while I was asleep? (Just for the record I have always had a phobia of this, as he was a very sicky new born baby and would often be sick in his sleep when he was laid flat, I used to sit up awake all night at first, just watching him sleep to make sure he didn’t choke on his own sick. I completely understand I sound like a lunatic. That’s just me, I worry and overthink every possible little detail or possible outcome. I’m always the one who says “yeah but what if…”) I think that night i maybe had about 1.5 hours sleep. Not just from the worry and watching the monitor endlessly all night. But also because every single time I closed my eyes all I could see was his little face , his eyes wide with fear, and it made me shudder and jump out of my skin. I still see it now sometimes. Thinking about it makes me feel cold. Writing this, it upsets me.
Now some people (if anyone is still reading) may be thinking that I’m over exaggerating, or just think I should get over it, and yeah, you’re probably right. But I you can honestly say, it is exactly how I described it. Afterwards I didn’t give William any puree for I think it was 5 days. Norms had to sit with me when I finally plucked up the courage to do it, and i was literally sweating and shaking the whole way through. He even had to tell me to stop and calm down at one point because the spoon was shaking so much from me being frightened it was going to happen again, that I kept getting it all over Williams face.
I know now that it wasn’t my fault, and it was just one of those things. Babies have to learn, and in this instance he just didn’t have the knowledge and didn’t know what to do, or whether the puree was too cold or whatever, but the fact is, it happened. I have been very cautious (even more so than I already was), with what I give William, I analyse how lumpy or smooth something is, and I now don’t trust my own purees. So since this incident I have just weaned on shop bought baby food. Because I honestly don’t trust what I have made for him. Which is silly really, because he was doing absolutely fine before and didn’t have a problem with any of the others I’d made for him. But the thought was in my head. I had mum guilt and self doubt. And one thing I have learnt since becoming a mum is, even if your not sure , you have to just suck it up and go for whatever decision you’ve made with pure confidence, and with this I had gone from being quite confident and enjoying weaning, to having zero confidence and not trusting myself, and dreading mealtimes.
Another thing that it has made me think is that I would love to do a first aid course for babies/children. I am going to look it up for my area, as it just shows that you really don’t know what is going to happen, and I am one of those people who like to be prepared for every eventuality, no matter how good or bad (but of course you all known this as you’ve seen the endless amount of shite I carry about on the daily). So if anyone in the Hull area wants to come on a first aid course let me know!
Of course, William was fine the next day and was his usual happy self, as if nothing had ever happened. And he is loving trying all the new foods again, I am slowly building my confidence back up with the whole weaning thing. I do still over analyse every thing I give him and I sometimes panic the whole 45 minutes of a meal time, but I think as time goes on it will eventually all just be a distant awful memory.
As for being an earth mum and doing all my own purees, I have one thing to say about that.
FUCK. THAT. Let’s be honest. I don’t know who I thought I was, Mary fucking Berry, making all these purees, half the time it goes up his nose or on the wall. I might as well just buy the bloody stuff then when he doesn’t eat it for whatever reason, I can’t be offended. But fair play to those who do make all their own food, i take my hat off to you all!
Besides, I don’t buy organic fucking sweet potatoes or bananas. I buy the cheapest.
I’m going straight to earth mum hell.