The start of a love affair with food

The first smile is a classic landmark. The first smear of curry across your baby’s face? Not so much. The first time she shovels more chicken into a mouth full of chicken while trying to babble? It’s pure delight.

Boiled egg

Talitha started eating solid food the week before she turned six months. She had kept grabbing at what I was eating and it seemed time to let her do what she would. So, I peeled her a banana and the carnage began.

I don’t even remember what she’s eaten so far. I look up into my brain when people ask. Eventually I admit that she eats whatever I do. I ate chicken curry and rice yesterday and buttered toast this morning so, yeah, that’s what she eats.

Some of it is pureed – as in, if I’m eating soup then so is she. I load the spoon and at first she feeds her eyebrows. A few minutes in and it’s actually going into her mouth. Who would’ve thought my seven-month-old could use a spoon. It’s pretty hilarious.

Porridge

I decided to go down the route of Baby Led Weaning (letting the baby decide what she’ll eat, how much and when) because the prospect of schedules, blenders and playing the choo-choo with a spoon confused and worried me. It also seemed so unnecessary.

Having read Gill Rapley’s Baby Led Weaning and having let my daughter to feed herself this way for the past month and a half, it makes sense to me. When she’s physiologically ready to eat, she’ll developmentally be able to do so.

pancake

In the beginning, I heard a lot of “Won’t she choke?” Well, hopefully she won’t. Babies are actually really good at maneuvering food around their mouths if they’re allowed to be in control of the process. There have been a few nerve-wracking gag moments but usually by the time I get concerned she’s spat out whatever was giving her a hard time and is smiling at me.

Fruit and yoghurt

Cons? It’s messy. But the more she eats the better she gets at putting it in her mouth and not on the floor.

Pros? I get to eat my lunch while she eats hers. I’ve cut salt and sugar out of my diet considerably. I also get to see my daughter explore new foods every day with gusto, improving her co-ordination and clearly enjoying every bite.

Red pepper

At some point I need to explain to her that talking with your mouth full is not the done thing, I suppose.


25 Comments

  1. Katrina
    January 25, 2012 / 7:44 am

    Loved the image of Talitha feeding her eyebrows! 🙂

  2. January 25, 2012 / 8:13 am

    Good girl. I luv your approach, and you know what, they have their own little skills already. I’ve noticed that my son never scuffs food and he never accepts anything if his mouth is full. You’ll find that she’ll be happy to eat most things. They are a pretty much a blank canvas start early they’ll be find with food. The only time my son refuses something is if its bland or he’s really full. Enjoy this time. Will you give her an y Trini food? 

    • January 25, 2012 / 9:47 pm

      Not yet. I’ve got to get my head around cooking Trini food without salt, I think. Do you cook Trini for Angelo?

  3. January 25, 2012 / 10:13 am

    BLW is fabulous – both of mine have been and (apart from the traditional toddler fussiness fads) have enjoyed their food

    Life is so much simpler having missed out purees – we all eat the same things and they get to see mealtimes as a family thing (and we can kick back, enjoy our food whilst they get on with enjoying theirs)

    Mine have also ended up with the strangest set of favourite foods but hey, it is what they want not what I want so what is wrong with that
    Keep up the good work!

    • January 25, 2012 / 9:49 pm

      It really is so much easier. This is definitely the method for lazy parents! I’m excited to see what food she develops a preference for over time. Nice to hear from a family it’s worked well for.

  4. January 25, 2012 / 1:49 pm

    BLW is fantastic. I didn’t commit to it fully and only did it for 1-2 meals a day – partly pressure from family who didn’t understand, partly a misplaced wish that getting more food into baby would mean more sleep for all of us (it didn’t!), and partly because I knew he’d be getting purees in creche and I wanted him to be prepared for that.

    But it is just wonderful seeing your baby gumming away on broccoli and enjoying every minute of it! I think if I had my time over, I’d take a more wholehearted approach to BLW. 🙂

    • January 25, 2012 / 9:51 pm

      I thought about combining the two but then that just worried me because I was concerned I’d end up upsetting the milk/solids balance and it was just too much for me to think about. My family has been unsure about it too but thankfully they’ve just left us to it. I know a lot of people who have taken your approach.

  5. Mum2BabyInsomniac
    January 26, 2012 / 6:39 am

    I think I will definitely go down the BLW route next time. It does completely make sense, I was pretty terrified every time Iyla gagged which is why I steered away from it but I think I would be more relaxed about it if I did it all again and I can really see why it would lead onto kids eating a wider variety of foods and I think it’s great to let them be in control of it. Iyla is not a very good eater, I have a real struggle getting her to eat vegetables, the only way she will are whizzed up in tomato sauce but she is getting a bit better so hopefully we will get there one day! Talitha is gorgeous, we def need to arrange another meet-up soon x

    • January 26, 2012 / 7:20 pm

      The hope is that BLW will help avoid fussy eating but I think that’s just a part of toddler life, regardless of what you do! One day Iyla will see beyond the pasta and tomato sauce!

    • January 26, 2012 / 7:24 pm

      The hope is that BLW will help avoid fussy eating but I think that’s just a part of toddler life, regardless of what you do! One day Iyla will see beyond the pasta and tomato sauce!

  6. January 26, 2012 / 10:52 am

    She’s so cute!  I think BLW is great….with LLC I didn’t really do the puree thing and gave her finger food each day along with mushed up food of ours.  I didn’t do BLW in its purest form as would sometimes spoon feed her porridge, lentils, etc but she too always had a go with the spoon from the start and because of that became quite good with it early on.  For me introducing a mix of foods to her early in the hope that she’d learn to enjoy them and not be fussy was most important and fingers crossed she is thus far a good and varied eater (though also an opinionated toddler who has tossed food or refused it when not hungry…..and then eaten that same food the next day!)

    • January 26, 2012 / 7:18 pm

      Good on LLC for liking her food. It is so much fun seeing them try new things. I’m wary of the opinionated toddler stage though!

    • January 26, 2012 / 7:19 pm

      Good on LLC for liking her food. It is so much fun seeing them try new things. I’m wary of the opinionated toddler stage though!

  7. January 27, 2012 / 8:16 pm

    Fabulous! I loved that stage – and BLW is just perfect. Honestly can’t understand the appeal of purées at all. I always advise anyone doing BLW to get a dog, though – it’s so much easier to leave them to clean up the mess. 🙂

  8. Anonymous
    January 27, 2012 / 10:19 pm

    She’s adorable, hun and she has changed so much since I last saw her. We are mainly going down the BLW route now because Amy has decided she doesn’t want purees anymore – I can’t really blame her – and I absolutely love seeing how much she enjoys her food. There is nothing she doesn’t eat. Tonight she’s had grilled garlic-balsamic crusted pork tenderloin with new potatoes and fried green asparagus – so much more exciting than some mushy stuff from a jar that doesn’t taste of anything x 

      • Anonymous
        January 28, 2012 / 2:37 pm

        It was, mainly because I didn’t cook it lol x 

  9. Jennypaulin
    January 28, 2012 / 10:20 pm

    awww what a cutie first of all and how she has grown!
    she is doing brilliantly isn’t she? wow so many new tastes and texture already – brilliant and well done to you and her xx

    • January 28, 2012 / 10:39 pm

      It’s been a while since we all got together hasn’t it?! We’re having so much fun with food, really.

  10. January 29, 2012 / 12:48 pm

    We loved BLW. I’ve interviewed Gill Rapley a few times for various features and the more I speak to her, the more I think it’s such a common sense approach to weaning. It worked really well for us – although the husband constantly moaned about the mess. At 19 months, F now eats everything and – amazingly – we don’t need to redecorate after every meal. Enjoy the journey with food, it’s such an exciting one!

    • January 31, 2012 / 11:01 pm

      It’s great fun. Mess and all. And you’re right. It makes sense. That’s why we’re doing it – because it doesn’t freak us out.

  11. Bishopston Mum
    March 28, 2012 / 1:50 pm

    Great post, Adele.  Sounds like your little girl is getting on very well with BLW.  I went down the puree route with my first child but for my second she has had whatever we are having (within reason) from the very start by me cooking proper healthy, home-cooked meals.  So much easier than faffing around with blenders, etc than doing separate meals.  Like you, I had a few surprised (and occasionally shocked) reactions when feeding my second child proper food rather than mush!

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