- Can be cheaper– as there is no real need to either buy jars of food or separate food
- Takes less time – if you want to prepare meals for your little one, making purees from scratch can be quite time consuming. Additionally, because you eat when your baby eats with BLW, you don’t have to have time to fit in about 6 meals a day between the 2 of you.
- Your baby may develop fine motor skills earlier than his none BLW’d peers
- You offer a wide variety of food, with different textures and colours which your baby can explore as they want. This can lead to a more accepting attitude to a wide variety of food as they grow up. When using purees you often end up weaning your child twice, firstly onto “solids”, and secondly onto real food!
- You can enjoy a family meal, and your child becomes accustomed to the process being about coming together, chatting and enjoying food. Which is often a stark contrast from “mealtimes” which can become a focus on “how much of this food can I get in her / him?”, and using a variety of distraction techniques to achieve this aim, you know what I mean – aeroplane on the runway / train in the tunnel etc. Whilst these can be fun games, should we be coaxing our children to eat food, or should we be allowing them to enjoy and discover food for themselves, letting them retain the choices to be made in the process.
- Going out for lunch can be almost as easy as it was before you began weaning. You don’t have to bring a lunch box of stuff, or make do with what jars they have available where you eat at. Instead, your baby can have what you are eating, or have some salad or pasta. Often a healthy selection of a variety of finger foods from the outset can lead to a less “fussy eater” as they grow older. As mealtimes are something that can be enjoyed, there is less chance of them becoming something of a battle ground.
Fussy Eaters Anonymous
Okay, I’ll be the first to hold my hand up. My toddler is a fussy eater! Well, that is in the eyes of most people anyway. My story is as follows. I have always been keen not to foster any eating issues in my son, and felt that best way to do this was to not make a big deal about anything to do with food, and certainly not to get too hung up on what he did and didn’t eat. There have been plenty of times when I have almost physically had to hold my tongue and hand back at mealtimes to ensure that I didn’t push anything down him, but in the main, I simply just didn’t get upset about it, let my son eat what he wanted nothing more, nothing less.
I did find the situation a bit tricky when he still wasn’t really weaned at 15 months! When I began to lose my resolve I called a breastfeeding counsellor who advised that I trust my instincts and looked at my son, and ask myself if I saw a child who was lacking nutrition and unhealthy. When I did that, I realised that no, of course he wasn’t, and if he was then I would know about it. Babies and children are not going to starve themselves in the face of food – a kind friend reminded me the other day. It has taken until now for me to truly realise that though.
My son sits with us at mealtimes and is not averse to holding food or even putting it in his mouth. The eating part took much longer for us. He is relaxed and happy at mealtimes, and see us as positive role models eating the same food as he is presented with. He now will eat or at least try most things that he is presented with… at a family meal out he even ate artichokes. Over the time he has been introduced to food my son has taken his time to come to eating but has remained well nourished and has grown well. He has plenty of energy, very active and is now enjoying learning how to use his knife with his fork.
My advice is to relax, we as adults have hungry and non-hungry days, but we don’t try to work against those feelings, so why should we fight with a child who simply doesn’t want any food, and would prefer milk. I just remember to ask myself: Is that extra mouthful of food really so important? Is giving it to my child really the best thing for him, if he clearly doesn’t want it?
Written by Beth Roche
Hopefully this has whet your appetite for a bit of baby led weaning, if so you might like to check out the resources below for support with doing so and look at the following tips
Baby-led weaning tips
I found the best bibs were ones which cover the arms too… as your little one will be exploring the food with arms and hands it is the easiest way of protecting their clothes from the inevitable stains. Ensure your baby can move his / her arms easily and the bib doesn’t ride up into your little ones face inhibiting the process!
Invest in an easy to wipe down high chair… Those all singing all dancing type chairs may look impressive, but it is unlikely you’ll say that when you are cleaning in between the cushion seams, and desperately trying to move it out of the way so you can wipe the floor down.
The Ikea basic plastic chair is great – really cheap, light and comes apart easily and has no nooks and cranny’s for food to go mouldy in!!
For those with a bit more cash to splash, the Tripp Trapp chair and the like, are fabulous and comfy too.
Bumbo chairs have a little tray you can buy to make into a “low” chair, great for picnics and eating in the lounge
MOST IMPORTANT KIT HERE!!!!
Whatever you get for your little one to sit in, the catching receptacle is SOOOO important to prevent you from giving the whole thing up!!!! Some people use a square of lino or plastic sheeting… if they are wipe clean then this is fab. You can pop them under the high chair and treat them like a second plate – pick up any food that goes overboard and give it back to your child. We used a large black builders tray, which has now become a sand / water tray for my toddler!!!
Don’t use plates on the high chair, well not at first anyway, you are asking for your child to simply tip that plate over. If the tray is clean, then why not let that be the plate?