Baby led weaning: six months into a love affair with food

Talitha turned one around the middle of last month but my last Baby Led Weaning Carnival was before then so I’m taking the opportunity to mark now what I think is a pretty exciting landmark: six months into a love affair with food.

As with all great loves, it has not been without its drama. We’ve had the days where she’s been more banana than stomach, only for the beloved fruit to be cast down from the high chair in disdain. And so it’s gone with most foods. Peas obsessively eaten one at a time only to be methodically thrown on the floor the next day.

We get through a fair few bibs and sometimes changes of clothes too. Like Little Lilypad Co, we’ve found baby led weaning more like baby food wearing. She mentions in her post about how much she’s enjoying baby led weaning a small cross-sectional study comparing spoon feeding and baby led weaning, looking for links to obesity. I’ve not reviewed that information myself yet but everything I’ve read so far has made me confident that BLW is the route for us. So what’s a little mess, hey?

Curries, rice dishes, creole food, English food are all greeted with gusto then snubbed cruelly. Some days I’ve worried that she’s overeating and other weeks I’m pretty sure she’s living on air. She continues to gain well, though, which is pretty interesting considering she’s so active. Between food and breastfeeding, something’s striking a balance.

Speaking of breastfeeding, she’d usually tug at my shirt if she was hungry but this past week she’s begun to go on the hunt for things in her changing bag and bring them to me for me to open or peel. She’s also begun to consistently do the “eat” sign too. She dropped one of her night feeds a few weeks ago too so I wonder if the balance is gradually beginning to shift.

The Secret Life of Kate clearly lays out how well breastfeeding and baby led weaning fit together. As she says, if you breastfeed on demand, you can’t go wrong.

So I bite my tongue as things land on the floor and I try to pay little mind when they’re shoveled in. It’s not always easy, especially when we’re in company and I want her to “perform” by eating well. I have been known to blush and cajole.

When it comes to it, though, I love that by leaving her to make up her own mind with food we’re promoting her independence. It’s given her the freedom to really explore food and although she keeps changing her mind about things, all in all she eats a surprising variety of food for someone so young.

This seems to be something that Mutterings of a Fool has also found with his daughter Matilda. She’s a real foodie in the making, leaving behind a freezer full of rejected puree and reaching instead for the smoked mackerel.

The best input I can offer her is to keep making healthy choices for her – stuff like this wheat-free, artificial sugar-free cake a friend made for Talitha’s birthday (featured above). Admittedly, the chips she ate at the seaside at Clevedon yesterday may not have been quite as responsible a choice.

I’m always on the look out for easy recipes that will help us eat well even when I’m in a rush so I loved the look of these three super easy pasta sauces by Jennifer’s Little World. I’m looking forward to giving one of these a go tomorrow.

Some other baby led weaning recipes I’m loving at the moment include Housewife Confidential‘s five minute pizza (I make it with spelt), mamacook‘s sugar free flapjacks and – oh, oh, oh, this is a real find – five-minute recipes from Crumbs.

Six months down. A lifetime of eating to go.

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I’m not sure where I’m going with the Baby Led Weaning Carnival. I’m going to keep writing about our experiences and what I’m learning. Hopefully I’ll even start including some Caribbean recipes I’ve adapted to be baby-friendly and to suit my laziness. As for the carnival, I probably won’t do it regularly but I will still do a roundup every now and then of BLW and other food posts I’ve been reading. So please keep sending your BLW links to adele@circusqueen.com