Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Coping with sceptical Mothers-in-law and other animals

My mother, as I many have mentioned once or twice, was very dubious about Baby Led Weaning when I first suggested it. She seemed convinced that my having kept her grandchild in one piece until the age of six months was largely a fluke, and that any further off-piste baby decisions would surely result in disaster. (Remember that Babybear had been sleeping in a hammock since the day she'd been brought home from the hospital, so my mother felt that she had paid her dues already with regards to toleration of her daughter's loopy childcare ideas.)

So I mention Baby Led Weaning and she tells me that I should go ahead so long as I don't mind Babybear choking to death, or words to that effect. Babies must have their food mushed for them, otherwise how will they learn to chew?

Now I know that there isn't a great deal of information out there about BLW even today, after all why would you be reading this godforsaken prose if you had a choice? But at least now more people are talking about it on websites like Mumsnet and others. A few months ago it felt like there was nothing but the excellent Yahoo users group and that spooky Dutch website… after that you were on your own, with just a vegetable steamer for company. No leaflets, no recipe books, no Annabel Karmel ticky-box calendars of weaning… nothing.

So there wasn't much that I could employ to fend off my mother's concerns, other than clear-eyed logic. It worked, and I am delighted to pass on my wisdom to you all.

Simply ask: “When did you start weaning your children?”

(In my case the answer to this question was an astonishing two weeks but really that wasn't my mum's fault, it was the midwives at the hospital putting Farex infant rice into my bottle. And yes, I do suffer from IBS thank you for asking.)

Generally, however, the British matron will reply 'three months', for that was the advice back then.

Now leave them to think about whether they spooned and spooned and spooned for, what, six months, before offering so much as a slice of toast? Didn't happen, did it?

Of course after three whole months of spoon feeding, women of our mothers' generation were only too happy to try finger food with their babies, it's just that they fondly assumed that their children had needed the three months of puree to get used to the idea. (Which was kinda true in a way, in that a three-month-old is incapable of self-feeding).

So when my mum realised that I was doing was my best to adhere to both modern WHO guidelines and copy her own shining example, she suddenly chilled right out about it, surprise, surprise. And the funniest thing is that I've now overheard her recommending baby led weaning to her golden girl grandma pals and she is proud fit to burst when she sees her grandchild eat her roast potatoes.

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21 Responses to “Coping with sceptical Mothers-in-law and other animals”

  1. Anonymous says:

    i've been showing MIL your blog in preparation for blw starting in the next few weeks. she'll be helping out with childcare for an odd day here and there when i'm back at work, so i thought it best to get her used to the idea asap. she thinks i'm mad, keeps on about choking etc too. i showed her all your photos and she just hmmmmd at them. mind you, this is a woman who thinks pasta is exotic…god help me!

  2. Anonymous says:

    so repeat after me… 'MiL dearest, when did you start weaning your babies?' Go on, ask her, I'd be really interested to hear why her grandchild is less capable than her own children.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm convinced that my WHOLE family just hear BLAH BLAH BLAH when I talk, although I have explained blw and that is the way Boomer eats – EVERYBODY still wants to mash stuff for her and feed her off a spoon – Am I insane? Can you hear me? Do I really exist? Have I been on my own too long?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi All
    Am an avid reader of this site (got the link off ivillage) and we started BLW with our babe (6months) a couple of weeks ago all I can say is why didnt I know about this first time round as a laid back ,some may say lazy, mum its amazing and I must admit I feel a little smug when my ladiesbabies group are moaning about constant boiling and pureeing.
    Anyway I digress on the thought of MIL I thought I needed to defend the breed a little as I actually caught my MIL talking to her mates and saying “oh no you dont do all that faffing and pureeing anymore its wait till their 6 months and then straight in with the good stuff”! So no worries there when I go back to work in January

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Shaz,
    that is good news about the MiL…. You see Morv, they do come round eventually.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh don't get me wrong my MiL is fab, and I did recieve a letter from one of her pals that said ' I hear LO is gettung really good at feeding herself' so she does get the picture. It was this friend that gave us the full over radiation suit bib.

  7. Anonymous says:

    MiL has been fine with BLW (but that might just be because I never see the woman – happily she lives miles away…) but my fellow mums at my mums 'n' bubs group all think I'm insane. Have been bleating on about BLW for a couple of weeks since helpful mumsnetters showed me the light -thank you SO much Aitch- but I have a bit of a rep for earth mother tendencies which is considered rather suspect amongst all the Gina followers. They all keep moaning about puree and I keep saying just TRY BLW, it is so much easier and actually makes the whole process fun, but no joy.
    So I have left them to their puree hell and just send round photos of little Grizzles munching happily on the food du jour…

  8. Anonymous says:

    and why, pray, have we no photos of little Grizzles in our photo album thingie?

  9. Anonymous says:

    how do u put photos into ur photo album? do i need to email them to you? i have loads of really cute photos of josh stuffing his face if u want them :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    click on my name above and you'll see my email address, i should get time to put them up tomorrow night.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes! finally managed to get back on the site – my computer is intemittent in allowing me to logon here :-(
    You may not believe this, but the HV was really impressed with her yesterday and said we were fostering a really healthy approach to food with Widget!!! Of course, I knew this already but was gobsmacked to hear a HV say that. I was astounded and said, “So… I'm okay not shoveling purees down her then 'cause I'm getting hassle from older relatives?” just to further test the water and she said, “Of course. Babies used to wean at three or four months, but were usually on finger foods by six months!” You could have knocked me down with a feather!!!
    Update on latest foods:
    – Pork steak
    – Potato wedges
    – Extra strong cheddar
    – Weetabix (must admit to using a spoon with this, but she intercepted me a couple of times and either 'helped' put the spoon in her mouth or took the mush off and shoved her hand in her mouth – bless)
    It's her Christening on Sunday, so if she's in the mood for food I may just get her a plate from the buffet and shock the rellies :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I'm a sceptical friend!
    So baby led weaning (I hear from my friend) is allowing you baby to take the lead ….. and almost all foods can be given ….. Is that right?
    So, my friend who is feeding her 7 month old pizza, kebabs, chips & sausages from the take away round the corner is ok????? Nightmare …..

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would approach it from the perspective that if you would ever consider whizzing a food to a puree and spoon feeding it, then you are more or less okay to hand it over un-whizzed…
    i personally wouldn't in a zillion years consider feeding my daughter a kebab or a pizza from our local takeaway pureed or not so in my humble opinion it's not okay. I'd be lying, however, if i said that Babybear had never eaten an unsalted chip from a local restaurant.
    Your friend, if she is really doing this, should be very concerned about the amount of salt that will be in her child's food. That's the same for every baby, as their kidneys don't know whether their food is pureed or not. And the fats too, they must be hideous in a chippie sausage.
    I think that everyone who has sent in recipes to be published here has been very careful about the nutritional content. Baby Led Weaning isn't rocket science, though – if every single health message you've ever seen advises you against eating from a takeaway every night then it's reasonable to extrapolate that it's extrememly unsafe to give to a baby.
    It's an interesting question, though… there is a school of thought that suggests that Health Visitors might be encouraged to persist in recommending pureeing for young babies so that parents who themselves eat rubbish are forced to make different (ie more nutritious) meals for their babies. Many HVs take weaning as an opportunity to try to change the way the whole family eats. Even people who feed their children jars at least know that the mush has vitamins etc added to it and that the salt content is intensely monitored.
    But unless your friend is daft beyond belief then I find it hard to believe that her child is really eating only from the local chippie. And if she is, then as depressing as it is i should remind you that all BLW does is allow the child finger food earlier, so if she is feeding the baby crap then we can probably assume that it would have eaten it anyway, just a few months later.
    If you are really worried i'd consider finding out the name of her Health Visitor and mentioning it to her. HVs by and large don't understand BLW, so she might try to persuade your friend to give purees – but when the most important thing is for the child to be fed good food the manner of its presentation is unimportant.

  14. Anonymous says:

    First of all, thanks for a brilliant site, I haven't laughed so much (in a non-sleep deprived hysterical way) for ages. My Boogybum is only 19 weeks at the mo' but after reading all this I can't wait to start weaning. She's champing at the bit or rather chomping on her Babybjorn carrier webbing bit (hubby reassures me it's a 'non-structural' part – he's an engineer) but I'll be patient.
    Anyway I recently went to a weaning lecture thingy and found the HVs surprisingly open to the idea of BLW. They didn't know alot about it although UNICEF was mentioned as I vaguely remember (LO was trying to gnaw chair in front so I was slightly distracted). HV said she knew of one (one in the whole of Newport, Shrops???) mother who'd tried it and it had worked really well so she'd be interested in hearing how I got on. However she was under the impression that it would only work for BF babies so I tactfully told her otherwise and directed her to this blog (just put the cheque in the post…)
    My mother on the other hand surprisingly (she's normally quite open to new ideas) thought it sounded dodgy and is worried that her granddaughter will choke. Now, knowing that both me and my sister were BF for 6 months (it's a family joke that she did it so my dad could afford a new car – he does like a new car every three years) I asked her what we ate at 6 months. 'Oh rusks I think', she replied. Which explains my close resemblence to Shane McGowan in my first three school photos.I rest my case..
    BTW when my LO is on solids will I finally get nappies that can (as rumours go) be sluiced in the toilet? Jetwashing is my current cleaning method (well ok having the cold tap on really fast, you know what I mean).

  15. Anonymous says:

    wrt ur last question, im using disposables and it would be nice for the contents of 9 mth old joshuas nappies to stay in them, nevermind anything else! yuk!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Not just my daughter with sloppies then!!She's in reusable so you can imagine the mess!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hmm at least it stays in the nappy when you use real ones! I have only ever had leaks with disposables. Don't you use liners? I am at the stage where I don't even have to rinse them, the poo goes straight in the loo on the paper, but then TheBubs is just a year old. With no. 2 on the way, I am REALLY not looking forward to going back to the rinsing lark, especially as no1 will still be in nappies unless something amazing happens in the way of potty training. Good luck with starting!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Very impressed that you are using reusables. I had all sorts of virtuous thoughts, but then laziness (and squeamishness) took over and now I have shares in Huggies.
    In more “solid” news, we are now finding what my husband charmingly calls “logs” in the Weeble's nappy. They still honk though!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Must niavely ask at what point can I expect solid? DD is eight months old and I'm still rinsing :(

  20. Anonymous says:

    My mum is really supportive, but then she is of everything so I knew she'd be cool. I don't get on fantastically with MIL – both FIL & MIL are contrary people. They will disagree with your opinion even if it meant saying black was white. Its just the way they are and not personal to me – DH gets his ear bended a lot too!
    Anyway, we've just got back from holiday and invited them along for a few days walking. We stopped off after 1 walk in the pub and we all tucked into some hearty fare while Bruno munched on my surplus veg – ie couliflower & carrot which I'm not too keen on.
    I've already explained what we are doing weaning wise and thought they had grasped the concept when MIL came out with the classic “So do you do the purees next then?”
    She also suggested I give Bruno baby rice to up his milk intake so I'm clearly fighting a lost cause here!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I'm in the same situation with my NCT gang, although after seeing Cheeky tuck into the lunches they made for me (she sits on my knee and eats from my plate happily) they've been converted. They're not going full BLW, but the finger foods are increasing steadily, and they're looking on here for good recipes!

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