I am the kind of mother that doesn’t read parenting books, I don’t follow the grain and I do what is acceptable to me. Advice can be offered but quite often I will dismiss it. Having 5 children I feel like I have enough experience when it comes to getting them through the various stages. So you can imagine my horror when the midwife told me to hold off from feeding Freddie till he was 6 months. 6 months! This child of mine was taking 8 ounce bottles all of the time, moaning when we ate and showing all the signs. All of my other children had been weaned at 3-4 months old and they were fine so why should I wait?I knew what I was doing!
So what exactly was it that changed my mind?
I went to get Freddie weighed at the clinic and I was asked how he was. I explained again he was hungry all the time and I really thought it was time to wean him. The health visitors asked me if anyone had actually sat and explained to me what baby-led weaning was and how it worked. I was amazing I couldn’t believe that if I waited until he was 6 months old I wouldn’t have to puree anything, he would be able to eat whatever we did and all I would have to do was cut it up for him. It just seemed a little too good to be true. Completely used to going through rice, then getting lumpier and lumpier this was just an alien concept.
I went home and discussed it with Gareth and then I said thinking about it realistically, by the time you have gone through all of that they are 6 months old anyway. So we decided to give it a go, we continued with milk and then for his very first meal we gave him CHRISTMAS DINNER! My baby sat at the table and ate every last bit not only that but he enjoyed it. It wasn’t pureed it was just like everyone elses but cut smaller. After that he had spaghetti bolognese , lasagna, cheese cubes, fruit, vegetables and all with absolutely no fuss. Well apart from carrots he really didn’t like them and even now at the age of 2 his favourite food is curry!
So what is baby-led weaning?
Baby-Led weaning simply means forgetting the mush, forgetting the puree. Letting your baby feed themselves and learn different textures of different food. Yes it’s messy but its great fun for them to get things and squidge them between their fingers. Incredibly this means that they are less fussy and as much as I hate to admit it, the health visitors are right. Annabelle wasn’t baby-led weaned and for the first 4 years refused to eat most foods, in fact she practically lived on macaroni cheese or pasta with cheese sprinkled on top.
Freddie on the other hand will eat absolutely anything ( even the carrots) and it worked so well with him that I have also used baby-led weaning with Elizabeth-Ann who is 8 months old and will eat anything. I don’t have to worry if we’re having curry or spaghetti bolognaise. There is no panicking trying to cook several meals at once. I don’t have to worry about standing and blending things. although sometimes I will blend stuff but that is more for my benefit that Beth’s. She is my very last baby so I get to help her every now and then 😉
Ideas of start off foods
Like I said above Freddie’s first meal was a Christmas dinner however there are many things that you could try. Cubes of cheese. Cucumber sticks. Carrot sticks. Cut bananas , cubed sandwiches. Ideally you should find foods that they can grab with their tiny hands and put in their mouths.
Would I recommend baby-led weaning?
DEFINITELY – I wish I had known about it with my older kids and then maybe they wouldn’t have ended up as fussy as I am.
Despite thinking I am always right and trust me this happens a lot. This is something I wasn’t right about and despite my ‘If they are hungry I will feed them regardless of what anyone else says’ attitude. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone that will listen. It will save you valuable hours that could be spent making memories instead of cooking.
Be confident and it will be fine, Have fun and enjoy the mess!!