What is Baby Led Weaning?

This is a term that often floats around social media, blogs and baby magazines.  A wonderful weaning technique that nurtures happy babies and non fussy children.  Healthier children that eat all their fruit and vegetables!

But…

What exactly is baby led weaning?

To be honest, I don’t really know! There are so many thoughts and theories on it that I think you just need to kind of draw your own conclusions and take different elements of certain techniques to suit your parenting style.

My understanding of baby led weaning is that you don’t go down the puree, baby rice, mushy food route and you basically just let your baby steal bits of your food as and when they want too.  Food before the age of one is for fun and exploration, learning fine motor and socialising skills.

In theory, I really like this idea.  It suits my chilled out, stress free, go with the flow attitude to parenting and life in general…

In reality…

It’s bloody scary and often impractical! He can’t have that he’ll bloody choke! He can’t have that it’s too spicy!  He can’t have that it’s too sugary!

With most foods, I don’t feel safe just letting Ted have bits when he feels the urge.  He just stole a crisp from me and freaked me out, it was a Quaver so it melted and he’s fine but you know what I mean.

I love the idea of baby led, I feel like baby food is one big marketing campaign if I’m honest.

Just because it says from 4 months on the jar, it doesn’t mean babies need food from four months! They really don’t.  I think I fell into the new mom marketing trap with Ollie.  Buying things for the sake of it just because he’d reached that age.  We need to trust our instincts and do it when they’re ready not when the jar tells us to!

I tried Ollie with baby rice at 4 months, not interested at all (but the jar said he should be‽ WTH‽) Then I tried him with puree at 5 months… sicked it straight out.  Not ready.  It was shortly after 6 months that he was actually interested and started eating.

With Ted I decided I wasn’t going to buy any well marketed products, I’d go with the flow and see when he was ready.

He was 7 months before he was really bothered about food so I let him eat bananas and rusks.  He loves both.  I like using one of these little food holders because I get scared that he’ll bite off too much and choke!

Now he has porridge for breakfast everyday and he loves yoghurts! I’m getting braver with letting him try new stuff and I use a little baby food blender to let him have some of our food but in smaller chunks!

I think the key thing with baby led weaning is to not give them food until they show signs that they’re ready.  Some people say if they’re finishing their bottles gives them food, I say more milk!

I also think if they can’t sit up and support their own head what is the point in food? Seems wrong to me!

 

And the other mistake I made with Ollie is thinking I needed to teach him to eat his dinner and try and get him to finish set portions.  I don’t do that with Ted, he has food offered if he doesn’t want it, he doesn’t have to eat it.   He gets enough nutrition from his milk.  Some days he’ll scoff loads, other days he’ll barely have anything.  Just go with the flow.

 

It’s called baby led because they’re leading the way!

(Unless they have a big brother, then obviously they’re in charge…)