Thank you to Laura Summers and her gorgeous daughter Ellen for htis really useful, personal experience guest post.
Making the decision to go the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) route was a no-brainer as far as we were concerned. The idea of weaning our breastfed milk monster terrified me so when I read about babies who were bypassing the mush and going straight in for the big guns I was sold.
Put simply, the essence of Baby Led Weaning is no purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no mixing everything with expressed breast milk or formula, no weird combinations of fruits and vegetables, no preparing everything weeks in advance… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family. (www.babyledweaning.com)
To begin with, I had not fully appreciated the pocket friendly nature of following the BLW route, it simply seemed, fun, logical and most of all – convenient! Since milk provides all nutritional and calorific content they need until they reach 12 months, I was not concerned with how much she ‘ate’ but more with how much she experienced and had the opportunity to taste.
In order to go the BLW route, babies need to be six months old and able to sit (with support). You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and let them experience it. Sometimes it will go in the mouth, sometimes up the nose and other times, straight onto the floor but the feeling of watching your 6 month old baby handling stems of steamed broccoli or gumming on a strip of chicken is something to be experienced.
The true wonder of BLW came into its own the first time we went out to eat with friends. We secured Ellen into a highchair and when the food arrived, we lifted various bits and pieces from our plates to cool and then placed them on the highchair tray (sterilising wipes are essential kit). Our friends were agog as she munched on the various elements of roast dinner on offer. Admittedly, much of it was gummed and then flung to the floor but all the same, she was gaining nutrients and learning about food. Even better, we were able to eat our dinner at the same as had both hands free and when the bill came we had nothing additional to pay!
My husband initially liked the idea of watching our daughter eat ‘real food’ and experiencing textures etc. He had concerns around choking which were quickly alleviated when he saw how well she was able to cope with lumps and how much enjoyment she was getting from handling her food. He’s now a BLW convert and hates seeing people spoon feed their babies which is quite amusing J
We continued to follow BLW principles and as Ellen got bigger and ate more we started to realise how much money we would be spending if she had been eating jars of baby food or if we had been making purees. We have no food processor in our house so would have had to buy one of those. We would be spending a fortune on fruit and vegetables and throwing more away. As a breastfed baby, until Ellen reached 11 months and we introduced formula milk, I can honestly say we spent not a single penny on feeding her. Not a bad saving I’m sure you’ll agree?
In order to begin BLW, your baby has to be showing some signs they are ready. These include:
Being able to sit un-aided
Reaching and grabbing for food
A leaflet produced by Gill Rapley for futher information (and for doubting in-laws!) can be found here:
Thank you laura! Laura is a very innovative mum her leatests venture is try before you buy slings. If you want to know more head over to www.petitpoppet.co.uk