A few weeks ago I shared about how we chose to wean Piglet. It’s a topic that most parents end up discussing in quite a lot of detail and there’s no one size fits all way of doing it. So instead of just telling you what we have done, I thought I’d get Nicola from Mummy To Dex to share their experience with weaning too.
Nicola has the cutest little boy who is now 8 months old. They are enjoying baby led weaning, and Nicola has come up with lots of great recipes for Dex – and Piglet has been enjoying trying them out too.
Take it away Nicola!
I first learned of baby led weaning when I was pregnant. I thought it looked like a fantastic way to introduce food to your baby and was excited to start.
When Dexter came along, I started saying to people, only 26 more weeks until we can offer him food, and people started looking at me strangely. It wasn’t because I was so excited to start weaning, but because they couldn’t understand why I would wait until he was six months old. By the time he reached four months old, the pressure started from family members. “Why don’t you give him something, he needs it”; “Does he keep waking up at night? Food will help”; “Try a rusk in his bottle, that’ll help him”.
I decided to go to a couple of weaning classes when he was 17 weeks old to see what the professionals were saying. They were definitely on the same page as me with regards to waiting for six months, but they weren’t happy with me doing baby led. This was because I hadn’t breastfed. I was told that Dex didn’t have the right shape mouth to be able to do BLW because he was bottle fed. It left me reeling.
At 23 weeks, I offered him his first puree: pumpkin. He gobbled it up. It felt nice and safe giving him the spoonfed mush. I didn’t have to worry about him choking (I now know this is a fallacy; babies can choke on their milk) and I was in control of what he had.
I don’t know what made me do it, but a few days before he turned six months, I went into the kitchen and made some banana pancakes. When I offered them to him he gobbled them up in a matter of minutes, using his hands to feed himself. I knew there and then that baby led weaning was definitely the way forward for us.
Since those first banana pancakes, we haven’t looked back. The first couple of weeks were tough. I had to sit on my hands a lot. He gagged and spat out a lot of food. It was a steep learning curve for us both. I joined five or six BLW groups on Facebook and read through the hundreds of questions that were posted each day. I did my own research into the benefits, what food to avoid and made mental notes of how to prepare certain foods.
We have since offered a vast array of different foods. The only things he has majorly struggled with have been raw apple (this is a potential chocking hazard I’ve since found out) and an unripe banana. His favourite things to eat are pasta, pancakes and toast. He will eat whatever is on offer on the plate and there is minimal waste. Dex is very lucky in that he seems to have my metabolism. He is tall and skinny but can eat for England; something I have always been able to do.
We have learnt so much since we started this journey. A bath after a meal is sometimes unavoidable, especially if you’re eating things like avocado or blueberries but there are certain preventions you can put in place to avoid mess. I offer Dex his food from a Nuby Sure Grip mat which means he is no longer inadvertently swiping the food off his tray onto the floor. He uses a plastic bib which catches any food which he drops onto his lap and I always ensure he is not wearing any pants. I usually have him in a short sleeved vest and a nappy. After he’s finished, I rinse the tray, bib and highchair for easy clean up and do a quick sweep and mop. (I have one of those mop brushes which makes mopping SO easy!)
To avoid wasting time, I batch cook as much as possible especially things that we can grab and eat on the go such as pinwheels and fritters. He eats whatever we are having for dinner most of the time, so there is no need to cook two separate dinners. When we go out to eat, I take something I’ve premade or give him little bits and bobs off my plate.
It has been incredible to watch his fine motor skills develop in the short space of time we’ve been doing baby led weaning. He quickly learnt how to pick up a small piece of food with one hand, then transfer it to the other to put it in a position where he could put it in his mouth. He is now able to pick up blueberries with his thumb and forefinger.
The next stage in our journey is going to be introducing cutlery which I will probably try in February. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to using a fork or a spoon. I do the odd preloaded spoon at the moment but it invariably goes in his eye and then is thrown on the floor. He is still very young though.
Other mums always ask me, “What is a good first food to try?” Staunch baby led weaners will tell you, there is no perfect first food, you offer them whatever you are having. I find this scares many mums and it puts them off even trying. I already mentioned that our first food was banana pancakes, but some soft steamed veg is an excellent first food to try. Cut a carrot into batons or offer a floret of cauliflower or broccoli. It will give you the confidence that baby is able to pick up his food and put it to his mouth and try to eat it. You could go in, all guns blazing with a full roast dinner, but I much prefer the gently-gently approach to start with.
You can follow our baby led weaning journey on my blog http://mummytodex.com
Please note this post may include some affiliate links. This has no effect on you - to find out more please check out the disclosure