I loved me a good puree when I was weaning my babies. For a while back then, nap times consisted of steaming, mushing, blending and filling up ice cube trays with whatever fruit or vegetable was in most abundance that week – at full speed before they woke up.
Now, just a few years later, Baby Led Weaning seems to be where it is at.
Tinybeans Mum Caragh, Baby Evie and Fifa the dog are loving the experience and Caragh kindly agree to share her family’s experiences with us…
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) explodes the myth that babies need to be spoon-fed and shows why self-feeding from the start of the weaning process is the healthiest way for your child to develop. With BLW, you can skip purees and make the transition to solid food by following your baby’s cues – Rapley and Murkett.
Caragh’s Top 10 Tips for Baby Led Weaning
1) Read the Rapley and Murkett BLW book. This will answer all of the questions you have and the ones you didn’t even think about yet.
2) Do a CPR course. You will still have to sit on your hands but it will give you that confidence of being in control, even though you’re handing over the control to your baby.
3) Bring a food obsessed dog into your home. BLW is very messy and this dog will do 90% of the cleaning. You just have to disinfect the eating surfaces after the dog is done.
4) Don’t bother buying bibs. You’ll find that it’s easier feed your baby in the nude, then pop them straight into the bath. You can then feed the aforementioned dog the pea-soup that the bathwater becomes!
5) Politely smile and nod at everyone who tells you the baby will ‘choke’ or ‘is not getting enough solids’ or ‘will sleep better if you do purees’, then wait for their gasps of admiration as they watch your mere 6 month old eat a whole peach, or a piece of steak, or even green beans with no hands!
6) Bring your baby on your date night or include them in family BBQs. They will sit there and eat what you eat and feel part of the social experience and you don’t have to entertain or feed them. Everyone wins! Oh and bring lots of wipes and potentially the dog if you can eat outside!
7) Weigh yourself! Yes, you will find that you suddenly start eating healthier and cooking with spices instead of salt or using alternatives to sugar because you are now thinking about healthy food options that your baby can share. Not only that but when they go though the phase of dropping the food over the side of the chair, your abs also get a workout.
8) Relax and enjoy. It can be a long process of just staring at your baby in amazement as they learn new skills. At this point, it’s always useful to keep your camera handy, even if they’re just eating leaves!
9) Buy a high chair that’s easy to clean. You’d be amazed where you find food after a meal. A good high chair option is the Ikea Antilop that has no little cracks or padding and so is easy to hose down and clean.
10) Be creative. Experiment with foods that you’ve never tried. Cook with foods that you’ve never cooked with. It’s lots of fun.
Finally, remember the main aim of BLW is to give your child the coordination skills, to experiment and learn about different tastes and textures, to learn to chew and swallow with all foods, to take control over their diet and intake. We started off with steamed versions of finger shaped fruit and veg and progressed to more complete meals of all shapes and sizes. Milk is still the most important part of their diet so we only feed after milk. You will be amazed at your baby’s skills, and even the fact that they have no pre-conceived ideas about what’s good and bad as they munch away on their broccoli sticks.
By Caragh, mum of Evie (8.5 months) and Fifa the dog (7 years) – BLW’ing since 6 months and continuously amazed by the process and loving it.
Did you do BLW? Are you going to give it a go and reckon you could cope with the mess?