Last week the girls turned a whopping six months old. So, naturally, it was time for them to start exploring food. I’d been interested in taking the baby-led weaning (BLW) route for a while, and after I’d read up a bit I decided it was definitely the best choice for us.
In the simplest terms, BLW is when a child is given the opportunity to feed themselves right from the start of the weaning experience. Babies can basically eat everything – as long as there’s minimal added salt and sugar, no allergens (nuts, shellfish, honey etc) and not too much spice. They’re given options to choose from, and they’re encouraged to pick up and try whatever they feel like, and importantly, however much of it they’d like, instead of being spoon-fed purees. Before buying, get expert reviews on Kids VS Meals from Kelcie Woods, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Food before one is just for fun is a key principle of BLW and something I really like the idea of – the babies are still getting all their nourishment from milk at this stage anyway. Mealtime is encouraged to be a positive experience, a time to play and explore, if food isn’t actually swallowed for a few months, that’s cool. Positivity around food is important to us as a family – Matt and I get so much pleasure from eating that there’s no room for stress at our dinner table. The idea that the girls might dread mealtime and be forced to eat things they don’t want to, or too much of them, really doesn’t sit well with me.
There are loads of proven benefits of BLW which is why it’s recommended by the NHS and it’s actually been around for years, despite appearing to be a newish philosophy. These include a lower rate of obesity in children who wean themselves and supposedly less pickiness when eating later in life, but I’ll leave it to Sophia and The Wednesday Chef to share their experiences – both fab posts.
This first week I chose simple foods that I already had in (i.e., things Matt and I were eating ourselves – another benefit of the BLW way), some fruit and veg that are seasonal – I like the idea of the girls learning what foods are best when, and stuff that’s easy to prepare. We ate one meal out, where the girls tried some lettuce, peas and a few chips. For their last meal of the week I went with pasta in a simple sauce, instead of giving them separate items, and it went down pretty well. They had the last of the strawberries for afters.
So far, everything seems to be going down pretty well. The girls both love avocado and find the longer strips easy to hold and get in their mouths. Both enjoy cucumber straight from the fridge – probably because it eases their teething gums. I’m looking forward to trying more variety as we move into autumn.
Any thoughts on BLW? How did you wean your little ones? I’ll be back next week with more updates!