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

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.

baby-led-weaning-2

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.


Baby led weaning: my fussy eater

Baby led weaned babies are not fussy eaters. Maybe. Mine wasn’t. She’d eat anything. Curried chicken? Yum. Squid? Yes, please. Paper? Err, unfortunately yes.

The standard line was that baby led weaned babies develop an enviable appreciation for textures and flavours leading to balanced, diverse, nay, adventurous diets.

I probably didn’t even read that anywhere official but somehow I thought I’d found the key to avoiding that pattern feared amongst parents of toddlers: fussy eating.

Well. Five months ago my then fourteen-month-old become a vegetarian. Or maybe a white-food-e-tarian.

I thought it was because we were abroad. We were visiting Trinidad for my brother’s wedding. Then she got tonsillitis while we were out there so no surprise she wouldn’t eat.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take the mango rejection hard. “What you mean you won’t even try mango? Paw-paw? WATERMELON?”

We stopped in Marks & Spencer’s in Gatwick Airport on the way back and bought a punnet of strawberries. Talitha ate it like it was running away. British, much?
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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.
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Baby Led Weaning Carnival 2

The second Baby Led Weaning Carnival is here!

This has been an exciting month for watching Talitha discover food. She turns one next week and can now eat pretty proficiently with a pre-loaded spoon (not quite as messily as this). She’s also started asking for food by signing and actually eats at each meal, instead of just throwing everything on the floor pretty much right away.

If you’ve not done baby led weaning (letting your baby feed herself from the start) Carolin from Mummy Alarm gives a succinct and accurate description in Baby Led Weaning is…
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Baby Led Weaning Carnival 1 – apples, sushi and a lot of mess

Talitha turns eleven months this week. As if some chemical reaction was timed for the appearance of two teeth, she’s suddenly begun to eat substantial amounts of food. Despite my bravado, opting for Baby Led Weaning from the start, a small part of me worried about her entering her second year of life without much of an appetite for anything but boob.

Mind you nothing’s necessarily wrong with that either. A mere century or so ago it was illegal to feed an infant solids before a year without medical advice to do so. Not that I’m advocating waiting that long either! I digress. On to the carnival.

About two weeks ago I invited bloggers and others to share their baby led weaning experiences as inspiration and encouragement, and generally as a resource for anyone visiting this Circus. Somehow I’ve got my dates mixed up, horrendously. So, this post was meant for this morning but it is now nearly the next day. Alas.

First off, if you’re not sure what I’m on about when I say “Baby Led Weaning”, head over to WAHM-BAM where Tasha gives a clear and thorough explanation of what it entails, with some tips about how to do it. I fully identify with the mess captured in her photographs and envy her the dog.

Next, we’ve got a photo from Molly of Mother’s Always Right. Her gorgeous daughter Frog is just past one here and making good headway with an apple. Unpeeled and unsliced, it was the stuff of nightmares for her unconverted friends. She looks like she’s loving it and it’s almost given me the courage to offer Talitha the same!


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Introducing the Baby Led Weaning Carnival

The health visitor came for a routine visit. I agonised beforehand about certain choices we’d made that we’re bound to be contentious, especially bed sharing and baby led weaning.

Maybe she’d surprise me but I made up my mind to be suitably vague. I just didn’t want to get into it, you know?

I keep thinking now that I should have.

HV: How many times a day does she feed?
Me: Oh, it varies.
HV: She should be eating more solids by now and demanding less of you.
Me: Mmhmm.

Really, though, why didn’t I say what I was thinking – that actually it’s perfectly fine that Talitha still breastfeeds at least six times a day?

That’s her main source of nutrition for the first year. It’s more nutrient and calorie dense than any other food I can give her. When she’s ready to eat enough to displace milk feeds, she will.

This is yet another reason I love baby led weaning. It ensures that she does what she’s going to do on her own unique schedule.

That said, she really does eat. Even now, it’s exciting seeing her do it. Her dexterity has improved massively and she usually will eat all sorts of things from cereal to squid.

I seriously lack inspiration as to what to feed her, though. Left on my own, I’d eat toast all day long but I want her diet to have more variety than that.

So that’s part of why I’ve decided to hold a bi-weekly Baby Led Weaning carnival*, to gather inspiration. The other is to gather real-life stories of BLW families. Hopefully this will be both an ongoing resource and celebration.

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The week in baby led weaning

I literally trawl the internet looking for photos of babies eating and real-life experiences of baby led weaning. If you are similarly inclined, read on.

Lamb and vegetable pot-roast-stew-thing.

Probably a bit too fatty but Talitha absolutely loved it. In fact I think she kept forgetting she already had stuff in her mouth but, hey, if she doesn’t mind spitting things out and putting them back in her mouth, who am I to criticise?
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