We love baby-led weaning!! Baby led weaning means allowing your baby to lead the way – they tell you when they are ready to start solids (around six months, when they can sit unassisted and start grabbing food of your plate), and they eat the same food as you, as it is – so there’s no pureeing. The Baby-led weaning book is my favourite parenting book and I highly recommend it to every parent.
Firstly, some of the benefits:
- It’s so much fun! Yes, in the early months there is a lot of mess, but be prepared with bibs, wipe clean floors, and plenty of flannels and baby wipes and it’s no problem
- In the long run, it’s a lot less mess – I promise! Because your baby has a head start on learning how to eat, they get the hang of eating neatly a lot sooner
- It gives you extra time: spoon feeding a baby involves both of you and is over very quickly, but you can put your baby in their highchair with a selection of food and leave them to it (supervised) whilst you get on with eating your own dinner and doing the washing up
- You can go out for dinner and they can eat at the same time as you, meaning you don’t have to entertain them or take your own food for them
- It takes a lot less organisation as you just give them what you’re making anyway
- It helps you eat more healthily as you want to introduce them to more foods
- It’s makes for more adventurous eaters – it’s great showing off your kids eating things like olives and prawns and mustard!
- It’s less cooking and washing up for you – as everyone eats the same food at the same time.
And a few tips:
- At first your baby won’t understand that food fills them up, so if they’re hungry give them a milk feed first. Food should be considered an activity in its own right, rather than a mealtime, for the first couple of weeks at least so offer it when they are wide awake and happy – it might not be at traditional mealtimes for a while
- Offer a selection of foods and allow them to play with it and eat what they want. Even if they seem to not like something, keep offering it a few times to give them opportunities to try it again. Don’t worry if it all ends up on the floor!
- Don’t worry if they don’t seem to eat much, they are still getting everything they need from milk – remember “food is for fun until they are one”
- Start with things that are easy to hold: brocoli, roasted veg in chip shapes, soldiers of toast (spread with anything: hummus, cream cheese, avocado, banana, melted cheese)
- If you are worried about giving your baby solid foods straight away, then try to team up with a friend who has done baby-led weaning (ideally one who is a couple of weeks ahead of you) so that they can give you more confidence. Sharing mealtimes is also a great way to give you a break from cleaning up once in a while!!
- Enjoy it and take lots of photos! Here are three of my favourites of Oscar.