How does one broach the subject of BLW with a nursery, then?

Without wishing to moan too much, I should perhaps point out that I had about ten days maternity leave before I had to attend to some of my work commitments… sometimes it’s easier to do things yourself rather than have someone fill in for you.
However, I work from home so actually it’s easy enough to work at night (although you will often find me skiving here or on Mumsnet). I fear that I’ll have to access some childcare soon, however, as Babybear is dropping naps all over the shop. You’ll know all about it when I do, I’m quite sure that there will be a suitably outraged ‘you will not BELIEVE how much they are asking’ post. But of course you probably will know…

So on that note, I asked the prolific and deeply lovely Dizzybint to write down her experiences of starting nursery and BLWing with Dizzybaby. She’s happy to answer any questions that you might have, the darling woman.

“Dizzybaby started nursery at nearly 8 months old.  She goes two afternoons a week, from 1pm until 4.30pm and she’s in a room with other babies aged 0 to 12 months.  It’s one of the big chain nurseries, and I have to say I went in with the assumption that they wouldn’t go for the whole BLW idea.  The chain had Annabel Karmel do all the menu plans, she’s even been in person to DD’s nursery to meet the chef and help him cook meals for a day.  As you go in there is an enormous photo montage of her visit… a great selling point for most parents!  I thought to myself ‘well they are so not going to be up for BLW… are they?’

At the settling-in sessions the nursery nurse took all DD’s details, how much milk, what naps, etc etc… then the food questions came up.  I’d already flummoxed her by discussing expressed milk storage and Doidy cups and a few other things so I though ‘what the heck let’s do the BLW chat too. So it goes ‘have you introduced lumps yet?’ ‘Well no, she has proper solid food, we haven’t done purees.’  ‘Right.  so will you be starting purees soon.’  ‘No we haven’t done it that way, she just has normal food like we have, no purees, no lumps, just normal food.’ ‘So she won’t have purees she just has finger food?’ ‘Yes, but it’s anything really, not just finger foods like bread sticks, she eats normal food, but with her hands.’  ‘Right.’  So she goes away to get the week’s menu, shows me it’s divided up into 3 types of food; puree, mash, and toddler food.  She says to me ‘So basically you want her to have toddler food?’  ‘YES!’ I then explained a few more things, about leaving her to do it herself, not handing food to her, just put it on the table she’ll eat if she wants to eat, or not as the case may be.  We go over the week ahead’s menu to check DD will be able to handle the food.  If it’s something really tricky then the chef makes her sandwiches, it’s very rare but happens now and again.  And if it’s something new she hasn’t had before I try her with it at home first.

So at tea time all the babies sit round the table with DD at the top.  She tucks in while the others are spoon fed, helped, handed food, coaxed etc etc.  DH picks her up and sometimes they’re still having tea, he’s sees how they do it.  I also spent the day there for a special ‘take your Mummy to nursery’ event for Mother’s Day last week, so I saw tea time and lunch time then.   They were giving bananas out to the babies that day.  For DD they just peeled it and handed the entire thing over whole.  For the others they chopped, mashed, squished, held it to their mouths, spooned it in, all kinds of things.  I think they must like that they don’t have to ‘do’ much to feed DD.

I’ve had a very good experience of BLW at nursery.  I don’t think they know it as BLW, they just see it as ‘toddler food.’ No big deal, less work for them.  The choking thing was never an issue, I’m happy that all the staff have done first aid courses and could handle it if it happened, it’s just as likely to happen with one of the 4 year olds as my BLW 10-month-old.   I see DD as paving the way for all the other BLW babies who’ll be joining the nursery as I’m sure they will.  I just hope the sight of an enormous Annabel Karmel doesn’t put BLW mums off the nursery!”

7 Responses to “How does one broach the subject of BLW with a nursery, then?”

  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My now almost 11m old, first baby, daughter will be starting nursery in 5w time & she is exclusively bf on-demand and blw-ed :) I have been so worried about how to get things together in preparation for nursery. One friend even commented “you’ll have to start spoon-feeding her now though won’t you, to prepare for nursery” & instead of my usual confident laugh I spent another night in a tail-spin worrying about it all. We are going for our taster session at nursery next week & I’ll be armed with the
    blw book. As for expressing my milk I feel a bit overwhelmed about this & am not really sure when to start but sure I should go buy some pots/bags & get on with it!

  2. Meg says:

    I realise this response may be a little late for some blw mums whose babies have already started nursery but it may be helpful for others ;-)
    I am a child-care professional who has spent many years working in day nurseries so am very familiar with how they operate, I am a huge fan of blw especially as I have spent years doing the traditional method of weaning I have good experience of both methods. I now go into nurseries and do 1 hour work-shops with the staff to basically explain everything about blw in a way that they understand, look at their menus & reassure them that blw is easy & safe. I don’t normally charge but ask that they promote my other services (which include HypnoBirthing, parenting classes, counselling & other post-natal support) by just putting up a poster or some leaflets in their lobby. I am always careful to explain that I’m not part of the official BLW but just a mum & professional who has lot’s of experience feeding babies!! I work in St.Albans, Hertford, Harpenden & Welwyn areas so if any of you are starting your blw baby at a nursery in these areas soon & are worried that the staff won’t understand how to feed (or not!!) your baby please feel free to pass on my details & they can book me for a staff information session. You (or the nursery) can contact me via the website

  3. Kristen says:

    Thanks, this is a very helpful post as my LO starts childcare in a few months and will only be 8 on this old. I think I had better get a copy of their menu now to see whether I can introduce some of the “toddler food” to him early.

  4. kat says:

    Thankyou for this post. I work at the nursery where both my children attend and when I return fom my holidays in 10 day my little girl (6m) will be returning minus the purees. Even though I work there and my colleagues are amazing, I think she will be the first blw baby they have had! But I think this is good, because I can lead the way!

  5. Gina. says:

    I work in a baby room in a nursery and have had a child start who was starting baby led weaning, we were happy to adapt the menu to suit him, so he could pick up the foods with a good grip, it was the first time I’d heard of it but I really enjoyed doing it with him and was interesting to see how well he developed and gradually started eating more and drinking less milk, we never had any choking and he now eats pretty much whatever he is given, not fussy at all, we now have another child starting who is doing baby led weaning and I’m looking forward to doing it all again, and am planning on doing this when I have my own child.

  6. Shannon says:

    I would highly recommend approaching the subject with each nursery you are considering before making a decision. One of the nurseries I discussed BLW with said and I quote “but some foods can’t be eaten with hands, like lasagne for example. What we would do then is give her a spoon and then when she opens her mouth quickly get the other spoon in her mouth”. Needless to say they didn’t make the short list!

    The nursery we chose however had a much more open minded approach, similar to the original post, and fingers crossed will be fabulous

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