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 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!