When Teddy turned 6 months old we started our baby led weaning journey so now he’s 8 months I thought I’d write a little update about how we’ve been getting on.
For anyone is new to the concept of baby led weaning (BLW), it simply means starting your baby on real food from the start, and letting them feed themselves, as the name suggests, baby takes the lead! So no purees and no spoon feeding. Your baby can join in with family meal times, eating exactly what you do, the only exceptions being no honey until 1 and no whole nuts until 5, and you should be mindful of salt and sugar. At the start you can make it easier for your baby by cutting foods into strips, making sure they’re long enough to poke out of their closed fists, and round foods such as grapes, cherry tomatoes and sausages should be cut lengthways to prevent choking.
Teddy’s first food was some broccoli the day after he turned 6 months old. It was quite close to bedtime and he just had a lick of it then had had enough of being in his highchair. We started properly the next day and went straight in with 3 meals a day, as we figured the more opportunities he had to explore food and practise eating it the better. He had avocado, egg and toast for breakfast, a greek yoghurt and raspberry lolly for lunch (we ate out so gave him something when we got home!) and chicken stir fry for dinner. He did so well at picking up all of the foods and putting them to his mouth to taste. With BLW babies learn to chew before they swallow, so at first they spit a lot of things out. They can also gag a lot which is perfectly normal and safe, they have a more sensitive gag reflex than adults to prevent them from choking so its important not to intervene and let them work it out for themselves, for this reason you should never put anything into their mouths for them.
The saying goes ‘food before one is just for fun’ so we didn’t stress if Teddy wasn’t awake for a meal or if it seemed like nothing was actually being swallowed, we soon started to see evidence of food being eaten in his nappies! 90% of the time Teddy eats exactly the same as us, the only exception being if we’re eating out and are worried about the salt content or are eating something junky that we don’t want him to have. On these occasions he gets something like tuna pasta, or a mini homemade pizza that I freeze extra of each time I make them. We haven’t bought a single baby food product or snack as there just hasn’t been the need, oh except a few Ella’s kitchen prune pouches to ward of constipation!
Mealtimes have become one of our favourite activities and I could honestly watch him eat all day, he amazes me. In a few short weeks he went from only being able to pick up larger pieces of food to being able to grab fistfuls of food and then open his hand into his mouth. He was then able to pick up small pieces like quartered grapes and can now easily manage sweetcorn and peas!
Teddy seems to like everything he’s been offered, apart from egg, and his particular favourites seem to be tomatoes, corn on the cob, fish pie and strawberries. Most of the time he absolutely loves mealtimes and will sit and eat for up to an hour and a half, but the odd meal or day he isn’t interested and that’s fine. We trust him to eat to his appetite and never force or encourage him to eat any more than he wants to. I took him to be weighed last week and he was just over 20lb at 36 weeks, moving from the 25th to 75th centile! The health visitor seemed to think he’ll drop down again when he starts moving and isn’t worried since he is eating a healthy, varied diet and is still breastfeeding on demand. I offer milk around an hour before food because milk should remain the main source of calories and nutrients at first and he will gradually drop feeds as food starts to take over.
We are absolutely loving weaning and I plan to share more of our journey with you soon, including top tips and meal ideas too!
Thanks for popping by,