Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Posts Tagged ‘baby led weaning’

What is BLW, anyway? And what is it not..?

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Right, this is coming totally off the top of my head, so forgive me. I will add, edit, fumble and apologise later if I’ve inadvertently stuffed something up…

Recently I’ve seen so many people fighting over what Baby Led Weaning actually means. Not on our own website, funnily enough, and not on our forum, both of which are havens of tolerance and gorgeousness dontchaknow, but Facebook seems to be aflame with accusations of ‘mummy martyrdom’ for not using spoons, purees, pouches and whatnot.

For what it’s worth, here’s my understanding of the two main types of weaning your lovely little milk-fed baby onto solid food, as lovingly practised by perfectly sensible parents the world over.


Baby Led Weaning
self-feeds bits of ‘cutted up’ food from 6 months, as per the World Health Organisation guidelines. Milk on tap. Everyone happy.

Traditional Weaning (for want of a better expression) –
Parent makes purees, puts them on a spoon and gently and un-pushily feeds the child. The age might be as low as 4 months, because children can eat from a spoon from that age, but very often it’s at around 6 months as per the World Health Organisation guidelines. At some point, possibly even immediately, the parent lets the child self-feed as well, so that they’re having both finger food and puree. Milk on tap. Everyone happy.


Now, despite the equally blissful end result, these two methods are not the same.
The key thing is that in the BLW method, the parent just has to take a step back and let the child get on with it. The baby learns to chew first, and to spit out, and THEN to swallow food.

With the more traditional approach the baby is using everything that they’ve learned from taking in liquids to swallow the puree, while also tackling this new, and in some instances rather thrilling, experience of chewing and swallowing as well.

Is this mixing of spoon-fed puree and finger foods a problem?
Probably not.

Is it Baby Led Weaning, as described by Gill Rapley in her best-selling weaning book?
No, it is not.

Is that a problem?
No sirree, but it does mean that talking about doing ‘a mix of BLW and (spoon-fed) puree’ makes not a jot of sense. Unless you, for example, also think that you can be ‘a mix of vegetarian and carnivore’? Buddy, chum, old pal… you’re an omnivore, be happy.
Take what you want to take from the vegetarians and the meat-heads (she says, extending this unlikely comparison through all sorts of pain barriers) but don’t call the veggies mean names because they want to do something different to you. **

Let’s be clear, though. If you are weaning your child in a more traditional fashion you are MOST WELCOME to hang out here. Finger food recipes are finger food recipes, after all, babies are babies, and very few of us are getting a solid eight hours these days. Who amongst us wouldn’t benefit from a relaxing chat about the exact way to chop up a steamed carrot..?

And if you join us on the forum, we’re discussing much, much weirder things as well… everything from make-up to mooncups, very often both at the same time… Peace out, folks.



**(This is where the comparison falls down horribly for me, I admit, as I regularly tease veggie pals about their laughably puny muscles. *prepares barbecue* *awaits flaming*)

Oh, and PS. If you want to explore all this in greater detail, here’s a link to a chat on this subject that we had on the forum a while back. Covers the pros and the cons, the ups and the downs… all that shizzle.

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What would it take to convince you to try Baby-Led Weaning?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

No. I’m keeping the spoon. You may conduct your ridiculous experiment when I am finished.

A guarantee that they’ll be Good Eaters(TM) at the age of four?

Nope, can’t do it. I mean, they probably will be good enough eaters, but they’ll still be pesky human beings, prone to changes in taste and challenging boundaries. But you’ll trust them to come good, because you’ve seen them hoover up broccoli.
You, my friends, will have Faith.

A guarantee that they will not gag or choke?

As above, I’m afraid. Gagging’s great, it’s a safety mechanism, and while it sounds barf-a-rrific, it’s such a cunning way of moving food shapes around a little that you will marvel (once again) at how clever and wonderful your child is.
Choking? Not fun. Rare, though. I had two babies, one of them choked once, and it was on a bit of apple that I just knew I shouldn’t have let someone give her but I was scared to look a prat. Lesson learned, Mother, don’t be scared to look like a prat in front of your friends. Fortunately I’d done my sensible parents’ Infant Resus course and the baby was fine with a bit of a whack on the back. She, naturally, was unbothered, and I had to wrestle the apple from her pudgy fists before it went straight back in.

So, what will convince you to do Baby-Led Weaning? *drum roll*

It’s a little experiment. Very simple. (Not altogether enjoyable.)

Simply sit in front of your beloved tomorrow night, and have them cut up your food into pieces and feed them to you. Mebbe mash ’em up a bit, even, get all those flavours nicely mixed. MAYBE even whizz them up a bit, if you’re feeling racy.
Serve on a spoon, not a fork.
Now, see if they get the portioning right – is your mouth unpleasantly full, or half-empty? Do they feed you slowly, so that you are begging them for more (with your eyes, hush now, no speaking, you’re a baby. Furious yelling will be fine). Or is it so fast that you worry you can’t swallow the first bite before the second and third hove into view? And what if you don’t like the dinner but your partner or friend can’t abide waste? Eeeer. Open wide…

Try it, and see what you think. Don’t forget to finish with a lemon-scented wipe to the lips! Think of it as dessert!

And if that doesn’t convince you to let your baby have a bash at self-feeding, nothing will.

Which is Fine. At the very least the experiment will likely have made you a better spoon-feeder, and that sort of understanding and care can only be good for our babies, no matter which weaning method we choose.


(many thanks to margaux for the lovely pics)

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The La Leche League responds to the BMJ hoo-hah

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Well, thank goodness for that, then.

“La Leche League GB’s response to the article reported in the British Medical Journal, January2011, questioning the recommendation to introduce solid food to babies at 6 months 19.01.2011

La Leche League has been providing breastfeeding information and support to parents for over fifty years. We support the view of The World Health Organisation (WHO), The Department of Health (DH), and other eminent organisations, that infants should be exclusively breastfed for around the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive appropriate complementary foods alongside continued breastfeeding.

When WHO recommended this policy it was based on a systematic review of 3,000 studies on infant feeding. The article the British Medical Journal published, on 14 January 2011, suggesting that babies need solids earlier than six months of age, is not a new research study or a systematic review of all available evidence. Three of the four authors of this research have declared an association with the baby feeding industry.

There is clear scientific evidence that breastfeeding protects both the short and long term health of mothers and babies. It reduces the risk of infections such as gastroenteritis and respiratory, ear and urinary tract infections, particularly infections requiring hospitalisation, even in developed countries such as the UK. The risk of diabetes and obesity in children and cancer in mothers is lessened and it reduces the risk of postnatal depression and neglect. With the current risk of swine flu, exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of the baby catching secondary infections, which could be serious enough to need hospital admission.

• The BMJ article says that delaying introducing solid food may increase the risk of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)

Breastmilk supplies all the essential nutrients a baby needs for around the first six months of life. There isn’t a lot of iron in breastmilk because there isn’t supposed to be. It is more completely absorbed by a baby than the kind in formula, baby cereal or supplements. Breastmilk contains a protein that binds to any extra iron that the baby doesn’t use because too much iron can end up feeding the wrong kind of bacteria in his intestines and this can result in diarrhoea/constipation or even microscopic bleeding. Formula fed babies can have too much iron in their intestines, which causes these problems and ends up reducing their overall iron.

If a baby is started on solids before he is ready iron stores can drop. Some fruits and vegetables can bind with iron before the baby has a chance to use it. These foods are often low in iron and so are simply replacing the perfect food for babies with ones with fewer nutrients.

To help ensure a breastfed baby has a good supply of iron, women can look at their diet during pregnancy and ask that the umbilical cord is not cut before it stops pulsating as this adds to his iron supply.

• The BMJ article says that delaying introducing solids may increase the risk of coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is associated with the early introduction of gluten, which is found in cereals. Currently available evidence on the timing of the introduction of gluten into the infant diet is insufficient to support any recommendations and a study suggesting this should be at four months is considered by many to be flawed. There is evidence suggesting that not being breastfed at the time gluten is introduced into the diet is associated with an increased risk of subsequently developing coeliac disease.

• The article says that delaying introducing solids may increase food allergies

A baby’s insides are designed to be ready for solid food once his outside has developed enough for him to eat it on his own. If offered too soon he will automatically thrust it back out to protect his digestive tract. La Leche League suggests mothers look for cues that their baby is ready, such as being able to sit up, pick up food, get it in his mouth and chew without choking, and that often happens around six months. A baby’s digestive tract needs to be mature before starting solids so the lining of his intestines is sealed against allergens (allergy producers). If given solids too early allergens can slip through the intestinal wall into the blood stream and the baby produces antibodies against them, which can result in allergies such as eczema.

At around six months a baby starts producing adult-type enzymes, which we need to break down food for digestion. If he has solids before he can digest them properly it can cause tummy problems and the nutrients will not be fully utilised.

Trials are being undertaken to test if babies with a family history of true allergy might be helped by earlier introduction of certain foods but, as a rule, the majority of babies are less likely to have an allergic reaction to foods by around six months.

• The article suggests that introducing new tastes at an earlier age may increase acceptance of leafy green vegetables and encourage healthy eating later in life

This is purely speculative. Breastmilk prepares a baby for family food as it changes in flavour depending on the mother’s diet and so exposes the baby to various tastes from birth on wards. In fact research shows that formula-fed babies often don’t accept new tastes as willingly as breastfed babies. What a baby prefers to eat will be dependent on many things and will change as he grows. Some mothers have found that if a baby was encouraged to eat a food he had shown a particular aversion to it caused a negative reaction, perhaps showing that babies instinctively know what to refuse. If offered a range of healthy foods babies tend to take what they need.

• The article says that delayed introduction to solid foods may be linked to increased obesity

This is in total conflict with the studies showing that early introduction, particularly of sugary foods, is an important factor behind the obesity epidemic and can lead to babies being overfed. Breastfeeding helps a baby to regulate his own appetite so that when he starts solids he may be better able to avoid over eating.

La Leche League GB knows that women already receive conflicting advice and information on many aspects of childcare and that this report has caused concern and confusion amongst parents wondering what to do for the best for their children. Babies’ individual development varies and parents are best placed to look for signs that their baby may be ready for solid food, around six months of age.

While we recognise that it is important to ensure that recommendations are based on the best available evidence, and are regularly reviewed, we continue to believe that breastmilk provides everything a baby needs up to around six months of age and that to introduce other foods before a baby is ready is not beneficial.

La Leche League GB offers breastfeeding information and support to all. Established as an Affiliate of LLL International in the 1980s, LLLGB has 68 groups and 245 Leaders. LLL Leaders are mothers who have breastfed a child for 12 months or longer and undergone an accreditation process. They know that breastfeeding is not always easy and how much difference having someone to talk to can make. Leaders provide telephone counselling, email support and local group meetings, as well as leaflets on a wide range of breastfeeding questions, information on more unusual situations, access to a panel of professional advisors, and can often lend out books covering various aspects of pregnancy and child care.

LLLGB’s national telephone helpline (0845 120 2918     0845 120 2918 ) connects mothers directly to an accredited Leader, while our website ( includes an online help form that enables a mother to receive email help from an LLL Leader. All our Leaders are volunteers and answer calls from home while looking after their families.

The new 8th edition of La Leche League International’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was published on July 13th 2010 and can be purchased from the LLLGB SHOP

Written by Anna Burbidge, Chair, Council of Directors, on behalf of La Leche League GB”

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I do itch a little when faced with ‘creative parenting’ blogs, however…

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

This looks like a reasonably non-allergenic one for people who want to do something other than switch on CBeebies first thing in the morning. (I will NOT hear a word said against Rastamouse, btw). It all looks messy and good-natured, and not too controlled. Haven’t looked at it all so don’t blame me if there is a ‘paint-your -own-monkey’s-backside-mask’ on there but the spaghetti paintings look like fun, don’t they?

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Where Babies Led, Science Follows.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

I remember back in the heady days of thinking about weaning my daughter no.1 I was utterly convinced by the six month line in the sand, in the way that only an idiot a first-timer can be. I had read it in a book, had I not?

My actual human child, however, had other ideas and a couple of weeks before this magic date she grabbed some soft fruit and started eating it. Immediately, I knew she was ready. Well, durrr. She was eating a peach, after all, what further proof did I need?

And so began the BLW journey/voyage/odyssey/thingybob that got us all here at this ludicrous hour on a Friday night.

Since then, my view on weaning has become more relaxed than ever, and it started off pretty flexy in the first place to be honest. A preemie second child who started noshing at 5 months corrected, also helped.

You can lead a child to food, but you cannot make them eat. It seems to me perfectly obvious that if they can do it, you should let them. (Unless they are strikingly precocious and trying to unwrap a packet of Jammy Dodgers at 16 weeks. Do intervene in that instance.) 

This study seems to me eminently sensible on the subject. It looked at when 602 babies reached for food, found that 56% had done so before 6 months but 6% still hadn’t done so by 8 months (with the rest inbetween) and concluded that BLW is ‘is probably feasible for a majority of infants, but could lead to nutritional problems for infants who are relatively developmentally delayed’.

So look, if they’re not eating, and you are stressing, for god’s sake try them with a loaded spoon. Further more if they won’t self-feed at all and you are tearing your hair out, just feed ’em, if they like it. Honestly. Don’t over-think this stuff. It’s just food.There is no BLW heresy.

As the mother of two daughters there is a chance, God willing, that I will one day be a grandmother and let’s face it by then all my hard-won Noughties knowledge will have been thrown out of the window. My kids will probably feed their kids blue pills at four weeks old, because that will be the most up-to-date thinking.

And I will just have to suck that up and smile through what teeth I have left .

In the meantime, all we can do is ignore the weird media/academia politics, examine the evidence and be grateful that for BLWers, the decision as to when to wean is taken out of our hands by the chubby fists of our babies.

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'Breast not Best'? The Stuff I Know About.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Well here goes, this is the stuff I know about with regards to this extraordinary news story about ‘breastfeeding not being bestfeeding‘. Snooooooort. I work in the media and have a gazillion friends in academia, and viewed from this perspective this story is rather fascinating.

1. Newspapers are having a tough time at the moment. Like, super-tough. It’s all these big-mouthed bloggers spouting off for free, they’re killing the industry, the bastards. ;-D

Soooo, you have a print media that is making people redundant left, right and centre and is utterly desperate for a headline.

2. With all of these lay-offs, there is unfortunately a good chance that yer old-fashioned highly-qualified Science Correspondent is gone, replaced by a pleasant enough daftie who has the numbers of a few favourite boffins in their mobile phone, does most of their journalistic work by ringaround and gets most of their stories from press releases.

3. Universities are having a tough time at the moment. Like, super-tough. It’s all these budget cuts, they’re killing our institutes.

Sooooo, you have academics whose jobs (mortgages, families and yes, goddammit, their passion for their chosen field) utterly rely on getting funding from somewhere, anywhere… this is awkward because it lays them open to claims that their conclusions are polluted by their backers. But what to do?

4. Also, ethically pristine or otherwise, they know that the bigger stink they cause more press attention they get, the better placed their employer, the university, is to attract further monies. The uni Press Officer knows this too.


Does anyone think that point 1 might have influenced newspapers to make a story about some academics saying ‘hmm you know maybe we should look into this 6 month thing again?’ into a BREAST NOT BEST feeding frenzy? Or that factor 2 might render the journalists incapable of producing copy that Ben Goldacre couldn’t tear apart with his two pinkie fingers?

More to the point, does anyone think that factors 1 and 2,  3 and 4 might have influenced the writers of this small, speculative review about the best age to introduce solids into a babies diet to instead title it:  “Six months of exclusive breast feeding: how good is the evidence?” What with breastfeeding being the loaded gun to the head of most of your newspaper-reading classes nowadays?

Certainly one of the people who wrote the paper said on BBC Radio today “We’re not naive, we knew this would set the cat among the pigeons.” Ya think? That’ll be music to the UCL press officer’s ears. And yet the final paras of their BMJ piece only say what we already know.

“At one extreme, it has been suggested that there is insufficient scientific evidence for any lower age for weaning and that “infants should be weaned on demand, which is what most infants and their parents actually do in practice.” It can be argued that, from a biological perspective, the point when breast milk ceases to be an adequate sole source of nutrition would not be expected to be fixed, but to vary according to the infant’s size, activity, growth rate, and sex, and the quality and volume of the breast milk supply. Signalling of hunger by the infant is probably an evolved mechanism that individualises timing of weaning for a mother-infant pair.” Sounds like BLW to me.

It goes on. “However, others would adopt a more cautious approach, based on data suggesting that the introduction of solid foods before 3 to 4 months may be associated with increased fatness and wheeze later in childhood, with an increased risk of allergy, and with higher rates of coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes in infants at risk.

“Recently, after a detailed review commissioned by the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority’s panel on dietetic products, nutrition, and allergies concluded that for infants across the EU, complementary foods may be introduced safely between four to six months, and six months of exclusive breast feeding may not always provide sufficient nutrition for optimal growth and development.” (That last line is a bit woolly, don’t you think? Surely what someone needs to do is look at whether the kids who are reaching out for food earlier than 6 months are the same ones who need a bit more than breast milk? If so, no problemo.)

Regarding the media coverage, it’s All Very Silly. The allergy stuff is hooey, as the report says that only 1% of Brits BF exclusively anyway, the bitter tastes stuff is hooey as BM changes flavour while formula doesn’t and anyway WE KNOW it’s rot because we feed our children spinach (at least until they get a bit older and decide it’s the devil incarnate in vegetable form, as they are perfectly entitled to do. But then I am nearly forty and not particularly fussed for bitter food either.)

All these academics are talking about is the time to introduce other foods, whatever the newspapers and the press officers are saying, and if they reckon that it’s something that someone might need to take another peek at, who am I to quibble?

And if things do change, it might have some bearing on Baby Led Weaning, which would be great, thanks. For my thoughts on this (lord, what an ego) do please press that hyperlink. <points>

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It's Just For Fun Until They're One

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Shee-yit. What now?

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Remember, this is a blog.

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

…so for everyone who's thinking 'where do I start?', the answer is generally 'at the bottom and read up'. In the case of Finger Foods, however, I have 'organised' (and I cannot use that word too loosely) the first couple of months' posts into Month 1 and Month 2. Look to your  left, two new sub-sections have just appeared as if by magic!
It's just what I happened to give Babybear, though, so you must absolutely do what you like if you want to give different foods (apart from things like peanuts, obviously). Good luck!

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Baby Led Weaning FAQ

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Hello all, Aitch here. Again.
This is an excellent FAQ on baby led weaning which was submitted and I think compiled by Patricia Exley for the Yahoo message group. I have asked on there how to get in touch with her to ask her permission to reprint it, but no-one answered so I left it alone. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I am idly typing in baby led weaning to Google (to see how high up we are, don'tcha know) and there it is, posted as some sort of file sharing thingie. So I take it that means it's okay for me to post it here as well, which is great, because it is full of wonderful insights.


This FAQ
covers some of the more frequently asked questions on the Baby-Led Weaning
Yahoo group.  The group is made up of
(mostly) mothers who are trying this method of feeding with their babies, and
who give each other mutual support.  This
FAQ is not intended to be or replace any weaning guidelines or medical



What do you
mean by baby-led weaning?


Within this group
we basically mean letting baby decide when to wean on to solid food (and
ultimately off the breast).  This
approach generally involves letting baby self-feed, avoiding spoon-feeding mush
and purees, and presenting baby with as much “real” family food as
possible.  Throughout this process,
breastmilk is offered as often as baby wants, as this continues to be the main
source of nutrition for quite some time.



When is my
baby ready to start solids?


From about 6
months, and certainly not before 4 months (World Health Organization and UK
Department of Health guidelines).

(second choice formula milk) should be a baby's only food until six months. It
seems that too-early exposure to foods other than breastmilk increases the risk
of developing a whole range of illnesses in childhood and adulthood.

Baby should be
able to sit up, to avoid choking on food.

Don't put food
into the baby's mouth – let him/her do this for themselves.  Most babies are ready to do this at about 6

Solids at this
stage are for exploring taste and texture.

Offer some water
with solids.



Should I worry
about weight gain?


provides most of the calories and nutrition until about one year old.  Solid food (e.g. Baby rice and vegetables) is
not as nutrient-dense as breastmilk. 
Many babies seem incapable of digesting food until much later than 6
months, as evidenced by chunks of food passing out undigested into their

The weight curves
used by health professionals are drawn up for bottle-fed babies.  Breast-fed babies tend to gain weight more
slowly once they get to about 6 months.



My baby
doesn't seem to be eating much.


Many of the
babies in this group only took to eating solids with any real seriousness when
they were around 12 months old.



Should I be
concerned about choking?


Many of the
babies have had slight 'gagging' reactions in the early days, but this seems to
have been a normal part of the learning process and is quite distinct from
choking.  Gagging seems to show that the
baby has the ability to move food back to the front of his mouth when he
doesn't want to swallow it.  It's
important that baby is sitting upright when he's eating.  This way anything that baby cannot swallow
will fall forwards (out of the mouth) rather than backwards (into the throat).



Should I be
worried about iron?


Babies are also
born with a store of iron that begins to diminish at 6 months and this could
start to affect them at around 9m so iron is the one thing they do actually
need to have extra to breastmilk after 8-9 months old.

Iron can be found
in lots of food, such as red meat, green vegetables, lentils, etc.  And they will still be getting iron from
breastmilk – which is far more readily absorbed than any iron in solid food.




Ideas for first foods:


The best things
seem to be things that are easiest to keep hold of while the baby is exploring
it, for example broccoli with a decent stem on to act as a handle.


Fruit and


  • Cut up into chip-shaped pieces (a
    crinkle chip cutter may be useful).
  • Cook (e.g. boil or steam) vegetables
    until soft.
  • Ripe, soft fruit such as pear,
    banana, mango, melon and avocado seem ideal to try, but may be too
    slippery for babies to manage until they are a bit older.  Other fruit such as apples may break
    into sharp pieces if uncooked, but turn to mush when cooked.  When cooking vegetables such as carrots
    or broccoli, they need to be soft enough to eat, but not so soft that they
    crumble in the baby's grasp.
  • Roasted vegetables (whatever is in
    season – e.g. potato wedges, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, beetroot).


Meat and Fish


Make sure lumps
of meat are big enough for baby to grasp and chew – baby will spit out the
membranes, but swallow the juice.


Finger food


  • Pear, Apple, Banana
  • Cucumber, Carrot sticks
  • Breadsticks, Rice Cakes, Oatcakes,
    Toast fingers.
  • Cheddar cheese, pear, cucumber, bread
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Dried fruit (e.g. apricots)
  • Peas, raisins – once the pincer grip
    is perfected!


The important
thing to do is double your quantity, half to mush up and throw on floor, half
to eat!


Foods to avoid


  • Wheat – if allergies in the family.
  • Dairy – if allergies in the family.
  • Eggs – if allergies in the family.
  • Citrus – if allergies in the family.
  • Strawberries and Kiwi – if allergies
    in the family.
  • Nuts – until 1 year, and then no
    whole nuts until the danger of choking is past.
  • Honey – until 1 year.
  • Added salt and sugar.
  • Apples and grapes – may be a choking
    hazard until baby is proficient at eating.




Dry cereals.

Strips of toast

Porridge (if you
can stand the mess!)




Cheese omlette,
cut into strips.

Cheese on toast

Cucumber, celery,
avocado and tomatoes.


Dinner ideas:


Pasta with grated
cheese or sauce.



Fish cakes or
fish fingers.




Sequence of adding solid foods for the allergic infant)


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"Oh, we are doing Baby Led Weaning but I do use a spoon to get stuff down him if I don't think he's eaten enough'"

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Great, you do that. Knock yourself out. But it's not baby led weaning you're doing, my friend, that's spoon feeding with some finger food.

Now, I'm not here to offend anyone, but it does need saying. I'm not against spoons, in fact I'm rather fond of them (particularly dessert spoons) and am keen that Babybear learns to use one at some point. Right now she's eight months old and if she wants to feed herself off a spoon then fabulous, or if I load up a spoon and she leans forward to take the food that's equally marvy.

Shoveling it in, however, is really not on in my opinion because the title Baby Led Weaning, while admittedly a touch cringeworthy, is not formed from three words plucked at random. If you want your child to 'lead' their own weaning then you have to trust that they know what they are doing. It does require something of a mental gear change, I understand, from the whole 'three-meals-a-day' thing that we are all used to, but it is a shift worth making.

So all of this means that if the babies seem to be saying that they aren't particularly hungry for solids at that particular moment, feel free to back off. Sometimes Babybear really surprises me by not fancying her favourite food, but if that's the case then I have to acknowledge that it's her stomach and her appetite and she knows best. On those days, she will generally take more milk to compensate, which is fair enough as she must know that the milk is higher in calories than even the tastiest broccoli tree. Perhaps it's her way of handling a wee growth spurt, who knows? It's not up to me, she's the baby and she is leading this weaning malarkey.

P.S. That, by the way, is as hippyish and child-centred as I ever intend to get. i started this whole baby led weaning thing because I am too lazy to puree, for goodness sakes…

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