Thursday, 20 May 2010

Baby led weaning

Baby led weaning was the technique we used for getting our son onto solid food. Actually, that's not strictly true, we did try a little bit of single fruit puree and porridge at around 4½ to 5 months when it became clear that breast feeding alone was no longer enough to sustain him (we checked with our health visitor and she said this was okay, I'd suggest anyone who is considering early weaning does the same). However, at around the 5½ to 6 months we started to introduce finger foods and have done this exclusively since, in lieu of the more traditional spoon feeding method.

How has it worked out for us? Well pretty great on the whole. We started off with lumps of steamed veg, done for longer than you would for adults (I like mine near raw anyway) and then introduced breads, pulses, berries and other finger foods over time. Shugs has an amazing appetite for a baby, there is very little he doesn't like or won't try and I think much of has to do with this. We've never pushed food on him and in many ways we've let him decide what he likes and dislikes. The lack of mixed purees meant that he was tasting all ingredients individually and hopefully this has led to a strong pallet. We were also able to gauge developmental milestones by his success in eating certain things, for example blueberries were originally mushed with his chubby hands, but since developing the pincer grip, he carefully picks them up one by one. And I don't know if this is related, but he was very quick to learn to use his sippy cup and leave the bottle behind.

Mind you it hasn't all been a picnic (boom tish). Baby led weaning can be very messy and if you intend to go for it you really need to prepare yourself for stuff getting all over the place (if you have carpets, invest in a splatter mat) It is also quite time consuming, as the baby eats at their own pace, rather than the pace of the person holding the spoon, meaning if you're in a hurry you may have to make other arrangements.

But other than that I've got few complaints. My son's 13 months and his pace is picking up. As such we now eat meals together at the table as a family and we'll be introducing the steady bowl and cutlery very soon (he's okay with a loaded spoon once in a while, but it's time we made it a more regular thing). The best thing though has got to be the fact that we can take him pretty much anywhere and he'll eat. Friends, relatives, mother and toddlers, restaurants and cafes, you name it, he'll sit there contently eating his food and drinking his milk.

Every baby is different, so I'm not saying this will work for everyone, but it certainly did for us, so if you're interested in more information check out

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