The Joys of Weaning

Starting the weaning process with your baby should be fun and exciting but many parents find it stressful!
When my little boy Quentin was almost 6 months old. We looked into how to go about weaning and like parents most we got the baby rice etc from the supermarket and started to research the best ways of introducing new foods. It was then I stumbled across ‘Baby-led Weaning’.

What is Baby-led Weaning?

The principle of ‘baby-led’ weaning works on recognising your babies cues on their readiness for solids and moving straight onto finger food – No Purees, No Spoon feeding! Your baby feeds themselves – straight from the start!

I know what your thinking – I thought it myself. What about choking? Amazingly your baby won’t accept food till their ready – they’ll generally push it straight back out. More importantly their own judgement does provide some protection from serious choking and are less likely to choke than with traditional weaning methods.
Baby-led Weaning by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett explains Baby-Led Weaning babies learn how to move food around inside their mouths and how much they can safely put in; they tend to bite off small pieces to chew, whereas older babies who have been spoon fed often over-stuff their mouths when they are first allowed to feed themselves.

The website linked has a useful printable leaflet that will give you the basic guidelines of baby led weaning, and help you determine when your baby is ready.
We also brought the book as it’s very explanatory about how to effectively introduce food to our baby and helped us to build confidence in trusting him to feed himself.

Our Progress

Our weaning journey has been fun and exciting, Quentin sits and enjoys meal times with us, eating what we eat as well. Family were dubious and opinionated to begin with but now they’ve seen him eat with them at mealtimes they are quite taken aback by his eating skills!

This is Quentin at 7 months old. He loves spaghetti and can suck it up! I love the no faffing about with purees. Yes, weaning this way can be messy! but it really is an experience in itself.

What do you need to get started?

Quentin uses a booster seat style high chair, so it straps to any chair and compacts down so we can take it everywhere with us, but any style high chair will do. We’ve even used a picnic blanket!

Sleeved bibs are an absolute must – It can get messy but don’t get upset or annoyed with your baby – he won’t understand, initially food will be a toy to him not nourishment.

Flannels or washable wipes are also a useful cost saving essential – I found we was going through a whole pack of wipes a week on mealtimes but now I just use my Pop-in Bamboo Wipes instead.

A snack tub, I always have a little tub of finger foods in the change bag, just in case I was eating something that would be unsuitable for Quentin.

Last but not least – Patience! Don’t rush your baby, he will take his time and won’t have the same understanding of urgency as you. Relax and sit with your baby as you both eat  – I’ve found my own diet has vastly improved since we started weaning!

4 Comments

  1. Always lovely to see positive stories of BLW – bea is just over 8 months and can get on with most foods now. She doesn’t eat much but her dexterity is great!

  2. we love BLW 🙂 we started at 7 months when she refused to be spoon fed. my daughter is now 13 months and people are constantly amazed by how well she eats compared with her peers, some of whom are still being spoon fed mush. Yes its messy and still with her hands, but its a heck of a lot easier than purees and spending every meal time coaxing her to eat. She only throws things on the floor when she’s had enough and that’s her signal to get me to clean her up (Thanks goodness for tesco value flannels…we have a stash of them). She tucks into her food whilst I eat mine, no fuss! And not having to prepare anything separate for her is brilliant. And its so easy to eat out too. Love it! We won’t even be starting with purees with baby number 2!

  3. We have been doing BLW with my 13 month old, and getting so much flak from the people at the weigh-in clinic, despite his enormous size! He was slow to catch on, only starting to really eat anything at about 10 months, but now he does brilliantly. He still can’t use a spoon on his own, but the wrist bones don’t harden until about 18 mths, so I don’t expect much at the moment!

    One of my absolute favourite things is watching him eat small things like peas and raisins, delicately picking them up one at a time and popping them into his mouth! His manual dexterity is definitely much better than that of other children his age, and we haven’t had any problems with choking. (A lot of gagging in the early days, but that’s to be expected!) It’s great knowing that he’s in control and learning to love food and to make healthy choices already. And it’s definitely improved my diet too!

  4. We started doing BLW with my second child a few weeks before 6 months (we started slightly early as he just helped himself!). He is now just over 7 months old and it amazes me at how quickly he has learnt to manage so many different foods. He has a much more varied diet than my other son did at the same age and I am loving not making the pureed meals!

    I must admit though that I have done some spoon feeding with porridge and yoghurts but now I generally ‘load’ the spoon and let him do it himself.

    I never got on with long sleeved bibs with my first child as he always found the cuffs uncomfortable, so I prefer if the weather permits to take off his top before dinner or just put him in a short sleeved t-shirt. We use a tommee tippee roll ‘n’ go bib which has worked brilliantly as it means that if he drops the food we can either get it back out or he can get it back himself! Another plus is that it can go in the dishwasher. We also use a cube highchair which gives him a good seating position and a large detachable tray for eating from (I do not give him a bowl or plate at the moment otherwise this would end up on the floor within seconds!).

    BLW is great but you do need nerves of steel especially in the first few weeks as the recommendation is that you take a ‘hands off’ approach!!

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