Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

I have been pestering mums of more than two children…

And here's what I've found… they all do Baby Led Weaning. In fact it was my own mother, who as you should already have gathered is right about everything, who said 'Oh for God's sake Aitch, stop reinventing the wheel, after the second child they're all baby led weaned.' Or words to that effect. She's really very supportive of me, you know. (I, by the way, am the eldest of four, weaned by the midwives onto baby rice at two weeks. It's a wonder I'm not typing this from my dialysis bed.)

So I have been asking parents of more than a couple of children that I have come across if they can tell me how weaning went for them. Without exception they tell me that they faithfully mixed purees for No. 1, slid a bit for No. 2 but No. 3 got loads more finger food. Partly because they were too busy for the one-on-one that spoon feeding requires and partly because by the third child they had established a routine whereby they were cooking actual real proper food every night that was suitable for children (no salt etc) and that while the mother is distracted by some dreadful menial domestic chore the baby is inevitably provided with some technically ‘unsuitable’ ie non
pureed food by their siblings and just gets started.

the mother, because she trusts her instincts and because she hasn’t yet broken the
first two kids, lets them get on with it. Now, I'm hardly tripping over people with three children or more in the street, they are increasingly hard to find… which makes me wonder if the fact that most of us have fewer children nowadays at a later age has separated us from the ‘natural’ way of
doing things? Well, until now, of course…

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11 Responses to “I have been pestering mums of more than two children…”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Aitch, I am that woman! Believe me, having four kids these days is considered freakish – people think you either don't understand how contraception works, are wilfully negligent in using it, over-sexed (!) or very posh. I am none of these things, I was just lucky enough to have 3 kids with my ex-h (that was considered bad enough) and now have a beautiful son with my dp (I also have a postgrad qualifications, a full time job and a mortgage so there!) Anyways, here is my weaning history:
    (BTW I have bf all my children)
    ds1 (12) – advised by HV to wean at 10 weeks (yes I know, but I had – contractually – to go back to work then, maternity leave was pathetic then, Tony Blair has done something right!). He suffered with reflux from birth and pretty much had 'toddler diarrhoea' for his first couple of years, most of what went in one end, rushed out of the other (I actually took green mucky nappies to show my HV much to her disgust!). I was very strict about potential allergies then though and avoided any milk, wheat, egg etc until well over 6 months. He is still prone to a dicky tummy now but other than that is very robust and will eat anything and everything.
    DS2 (10) – advised by HV to wean at 4 months, thought I was fantastic holding out till then! (honestly no-one else did). He hated purees and I started to give him all kinds of food to tempt him – I particularly remember cheese or egg on toast. I also remember sharing cooked breakfasts with him in Tescos after our shopping when ds1 was in playgroup! He now has a very adventurous palate but not a big fan of carbs, he is quite small for his age now (like his father).
    DD (8) – advised by HV to wean at 4 months and I did because having 3 kids under 4 with a school/nursery run had reduced me to a waif and I was having trouble keeping my milk supply up (I was advised to feed her more in the night rest more and exercise less…. yeah right…). She ate mainly family meals and pretty much brought herself up, so yes baby-led! She has an aversion to greens but is very thorough in ensuring she has 5 a day (for beautiful skin and hair I tell her!) so she costs me a fortune in exotic fruit for her after school kebabs :)
    DS3 (now 7 1/2 months) and we are following the BLW way, except this time we know what to call it! He has a huge appetite for solids and is a real carnivore, absolutely loves meat and fish but would probably live on apricots, bananas and sweet potatoes quite happily. I love it just for the look on people's faces when they see him eat a sandwich or lasagne (small squares impaled on many forks!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    great post, Rachel, thanks. Explain to me about the lasgne again, though… you make a normal family tray of lasagne and then cut bits for the baby into tiny squares, stab them with some forks and then offer them to the baby? genius. do you use normal metal forks?
    I do think we need to see more of you on the Recipes page, Miss Rachel, if you wouldn't mind… email me and i'll post them for you with due credit.
    (and DD does have beautiful skin and hair, so at least you know all those kumquat kebabs (recipe please) are doing the trick.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Honestly I don't use recipes, I just throw it all in! Dp is a chef but he insists on doing things all fancy – ie bechamel sauce – I just use a pint of milk, loads of pepper and some cornflour! I put cheese on top of the lasagne not in the white sauce, it's just way I like it. What I do do with the lasagne though is to use lots of sheets of the green stuff (maybe 5 layers of lasagne verdi?) which makes it sliceable into solid wodges which is the way we all like it (not a couple of pieces floating in meat soup!) It doesn't drown your salad then. This also means that I can cut it into solid squares (especially if cold) and yes impale on metal forks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm soon to start BLW with ds3 who is 25 weeks now..mind you I had to look that up. Once you get to 3 children you forget how old they are exactly!
    ds2, now 4 years old and breastfed for 2 of those, was BLW too, we offered food from 6 months but he started eating it at 8 months. It was to be expected in an atopic family like mine. Once he started that was it, he tucked right in. We avoided common allergens including deadly nightshade family until over 1. Although ds2 actually decided when to try things like bread and potatoes by nicking it off his brothers plate. I guess he knew when he was ready.
    Ds1 however was weaned traditional 4 month/puree way. To think of all that time I wasted filling ice cube trays! I was only 20, no net access so did the usual thing.
    I must say BLW is easier, healthier and much more fun.
    While I'm here have you read the interesting study about weaning on beige food can predispose a child to eating beige junk food later? Make sense to me. Fill their plates with colour I say. Recently had some fantastic purple cauliflower. That really cheered my steamer up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great link, thanks, really interesting, especially the last quote which seems to be an advert for BLW. And i laughed when i saw that you had a cheery steamer, ours is miserable thanks to my husband forgetting to switch the gas off and boiling the water all away. I spent half of Sunday morning trying to scrub soot off it while he took Babybear out for a walk to let the smoke clear out of the flat.

  6. Anonymous says:

    An interesting link Tracy – I remember reading something about this colour association a few months back, but can't remember where (!)… hence I have been keen for notsotall to try lots of different colours (including beetroot) at an early age. It does make sense.
    However I am somewhat taken aback at Gillian Harris' assertion that many parents don't feel that they can give their children broccoli?! Even in a puree form I don't think I've ever met a parent who hasn't felt 'safe' in giving their baby a green vegetable… what a strange thing to say?

  7. Anonymous says: bad as me. I'm on my 3rd steamer, I melted the other 2. I have a really small kitchen and thesteamer has has to live on the hob. However my hob nobs numbers have worn off. I accidentally turn it on without noticing…the acrid plastic smell is nasty!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hehe! Been lurking and think this is hilarious! Am the eldest of 9 and my mum didn't puree things for me let alone the others! She always said that she knew when we were ready for solids when we started pinching HagenDaas icecream off her spoon!
    And siblings (me included) have always fed the younger ones inappropriate things; earwigs, spiders, snails along with the more usual solids of course!
    Anyway. just wanted to say what a lot of sense this whole site makes, and when I'm lucky enough to have a small one of my own, I'll definitely be giving it a go! (Can't wait to see MIL face!)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Forgot to say that we were all breastfed to 12 months!
    My mum swears by it for getting her figure back.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I should think looking after nine is a pretty sure fire way of keeping a trim figure, I cannot even imagine how your mum did it :)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I lived there, and I still don't know how she did it!
    Still its interesting to see all the theory, don't think my mum knew she was doing BLW, she just got on with it. (Mind you, she is one of 10!)

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