How Baby Led Weaning starts
While chatting with a friend about weaning, it occurred to both of us that we can’t remember much about our what our first children did when. It seems a bit ridiculous that I’ve forgotten all about it. After all, I did blog about it (Oh my, I can’t believe how much like Ophelia Talitha looks in that post! I’m actually trying not to tear up, knowing that my little baby will be a “big girl” in no time at all).
Even so, I wish I’d kept a closer record. I’ve had a few emails in the past couple of months asking about baby led weaning and though I can offer solid information (like the pun?) from reading and breastfeeding support training, I’m amazed at how little I remember from personal experience.
In an effort to answer some of the questions I’ve been asked and to keep better track this time, I’m going to try to blog a bit more about it this time around.
Baby led weaning involves offering family foods for babies to feed themselves from the start instead of spoon feeding them pureed “baby food”. It’s amazing what happens when we wait for babies to grab food and shove it in their own mouths. Yes, it may be messy, but they can do it, they love it and it can be a lot of fun for us too.
As with Talitha, I waited until Ophelia was six months before introducing solids (she’s seven months old today!). I wanted to be sure she was physically ready to get started. She was sitting up unsupported, was developing her pincer grasp, was no longer pushing everything out of her mouth with her tongue and was breastfeeding a lot. I’d also started to have a tough time keeping her away from food. I reckon she’d have got the process started if I hadn’t.
That’s been an interesting difference to observe between Ophelia and Talitha. Talitha loved experimenting with food but didn’t seem to consume that much of it until into her second year. Ophelia, on the other hand, actually eats quite a lot. In fact, I need to keep reminding myself to breastfeed her before offering solids. Milk is their main source of nutrition for the first year.
What does she eat? Anything I do, as long as it doesn’t contain added salt or sugar and isn’t a choking hazard (like nuts). We limit bread because of the salt. I’m avoiding giving her dairy products because I suspected she was sensitive to it in my milk as a newborn but can’t be sure.
She’s eaten chicken, rice, potatoes, beans, lentils, all manner of fruit and veg – to name a few bits. Sometimes I take the skin off things and other times I leave it on and she just manipulates it out of her mouth after a good munch.
She’s gagged at times and thrown up a couple of times. That’s a normal part of the process as they learn to manage food. I remember it freaking me out with Talitha. I just kept a watchful but significantly calmer eye this time.
The mess has bothered me more this time than it did the last but I’m trying to just let her get on with it, remembering how quickly Talitha became skilled with a spoon. I’m really enjoying recording this process a second time.
For more information:
My other BLW posts
When should my baby start solids, La Leche League International
Gill Rapley’s book, Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food*
The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook: Over 130 delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy*
Rapley’s BLW guidelines
*These are affiliate links which means I get a few pence if you buy these books. I own these books and find them helpful so it’s a genuine recommendation.