After all this scary eating stuff on facebook for the Hallo”wean” photo competition, which was announced yesterday – congratulations to Faye and her boogie monster baby! – it seemed fitting to talk about Baby Led Weaning today!

Baby Led Weaning

The winning photo from the Hallo”wean” facebook competition – Faye’s baby after a run in with the boogie monster!

Sarah’s becoming a bit of a resident writer here on Mum’s Days! Having also shared her experience of bottle feeding, here she is telling us how she got on with Baby Led Weaning her two girls, Ava and Eliza, because, as she pointed out, and I quote, “There’s still not a lot written about it!” It’s funny because after she sent this through, Amy then asked the question on Facebook – “Baby Led Weaning, good or bad idea?” The general consensus was, do a bit of both, however, the die hard BLW experts would say if you do BLW you have do it exclusively!

Baby Led Weaning

Ava and Eliza loving BLW!

baby led weaning

Reuben at 6 months – Back when he would sit near a bit of broccoli

I wrote my experience of Baby Led Weaning back when Reubs was 6-7 months, which basically says, it’s not for me but if you want to have a go, here are some resources! It wasn’t until Reuben was about about 9 months, when I was around at my friend’s house with a few of her mum pals, that I started to question my decision. All of those mums had done BLW and while Reuben was just getting to grips with a little sandwich, all those babies were eating chunks of cheese, watermelon complete with pips and skin, and the one that really got me…corn ON the cob!

Baby Led Weaning

Corn ON the cob – beautifully modelled by Sarah’s youngest, Eliza

But I stuck with my decision as he was eating amazingly well. Up until he started teething and everything he used to like, the failsafes, he now hates!

Now Reuben is eating all by himself – GET OFF MY FOOD, MUM, I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP!! – I’ve been looking to BLW for some ideas to help him to really enjoy his food again (and not just scrambled egg and porridge but veg too!) and also to help me to be more hands off. I find it difficult not to get frustrated when the food I have lovingly created is being lobbed around the room, but you have to just go with it and, apparently, it doesn’t mean they will turn into yobs.

This is a lovely potted guide to Baby Led Weaning so I hope, if you’re just about to get started on your weaning journey, that you find this helpful!

Sarah’s Baby Led Weaning Story

You’ve just about got used to being a mum – night feeds, nappies and naps when people start asking about weaning.

When are you going to start? What will you give them? Will you try Baby Led Weaning? Well, my plan was to mush everything up, like my mum did, and go from there. Ava was 5 months and 1 week old when she started grabbing at everything I was eating, so I thought, “Well, she must be ready!”

So I cooked and mushed and blended and puréed, and all was good for about a week. Then, my little princess shut her mouth whenever a spoon came near. I couldn’t get anything in at all. I waited and waited but no. She had decided, no spoons. However, Ava would quite happily munch away on rice cakes, grapes, banana, carrot sticks and bread sticks.

I discovered later that I was actually doing baby led weaning, where the child decides for itself what they want to eat. You start in a similar way to puréed weaning – nothing too hard – I would cook my veg slightly longer than I would for us. I’d also be quite careful about very acidic food like oranges, kiwis, pineapples and tomatoes as these led to sore bottoms. 

Baby Led Weaning - pees

Peas make me hap-pea!

The idea behind baby led weaning is that the baby eats what the rest of the family eats, so it saves money too, but I found that some things, like beef and pork, were hard to eat without chewing and Ava couldn’t pick up things that were too small, like mince or rice. I made a lot of meatballs, fish or chicken goujons, fish cakes, falafels, savoury muffins (good for eating out!), rice balls and peculiar bread. My oddest experiment was sardine, spinach and cheese muffins, which Ava loved, but smelt vile! 

Smoked Salmon

Baby’s who do BLW are also supposed to be less picky, but I’ve found that’s rubbish! Some children will just decide that they don’t like a particular food for a while.

Most people seem to be put off by BLW because of the mess. Well, it is fairly messy, but then all weaning is and I found that by one, there was hardly any mess. I think part of it was my laziness, not wanting to purée! And, all of the purées that I’d made and froze ended up being pasta sauce.

Baby Led Weaning - apple

Just eating an apple

If you’re thinking about trying BLW you won’t need to worry about plates, bowls and cutlery until they’re about a year. I’d strongly recommend investing in five or six long sleeved bibs, ten cheap facecloths, a dustpan and brush, anti-bac wipes and a wipe clean highchair. If you go out for a meal, a Tupperware box is useful, but I’ve found I can do BLW quite easily in many restaurants, as Ava will just have a bit of what I’m eating or a children’s meal.

You can find more info on www.babyledweaning.com/

Thanks again Sarah! xx