5 Things everyone should know about Baby Led Weaning by Donna Wishart at What the Redhead Said
It’s no secret that I love baby led weaning and although I am sad we are now out of the weaning stages, baby led weaning is one of the aspects of parenting that I am most proud of.
When we started weaning LP four years ago baby led weaning was a fad. It was really new and not something that many people knew about really. Homemade or shop brought baby food was still the way to wean but now baby led weaning is quite common, making the baby led route or purees a conscious choice for most new parents.
If you are about to start your weaning journey here are five things you should know about baby led weaning:
1. It’s Messy
Yep, baby led weaning is messy. From the start your child will end up covered in food – as will the floor and highchair. Coverall bibs are amazing inventions – as are meal times in just a nappy. Splash mats for the floor are also a great purchase and plenty of flannels for cleaning everything off afterwards!
But, that said, BLW isn’t messier than traditional weaning – it’s just that the baby is learning to feed themselves right from the start. The mess comes a bit later with traditional weaning.
2. The baby can eat pretty much anything from the start
Unlike other weaning methods where it’s advised to only introduce a few flavours at a time and keep each fruit/vegetable etc separate, with BLW the children can have what you have from the start. We used to give LP and Little Man smaller portions of our meals and just cut things up differently so they could hold them easier – with added cucumber sticks on the side!
There are a few exceptions to this rule though – don’t give anything that could be a choking hazard. Halve grapes, squish blueberries slightly and never give whole nuts. Nuts are fine as long as there’s no history of an allergy in your family but the first time they have them – like peanut butter – is always a scary experience just in case! Also avoid shellfish and honey until they’re over one.
3. The transition from weaning to just eating is seamless
With BLW one day your child will be weaning and the next they will be sitting there eating a meal with you using cutlery – or at least it feels like that. Because we have always sat as a family to eat and the children have always fed themselves it is now completely normal for them to be sitting with us eating their dinner – there was no magic moment where they started feeding themselves, it’s just something they have always done.
4. It’s easy – and cheap!
Yep, it’s messy but once you embrace that and get over it then you’ll realise that BLW is just so easy. You don’t have purees to make or baby food to buy. The children can literally eat what you eat and aside from buying extra fruit and things for the children to try that we didn’t usually eat like mango and avocado it didn’t really cost us much more at all. After all, babies don’t eat much to start with anyway.
5. It’s fun!
Yep, although weaning is a necessary part of parenting that is often hard work and time consuming it can also be so much fun. Watching your child explore new foods, learn to grip something new and try new tastes is something I will remember forever and a part of being a parent that we really enjoyed.
There’s a phrase I heard when I started weaning Food is Fun until they’re One and it’s something I have lived by since. Those six months of weaning are all about exploring food, textures and tastes and even if they don’t eat much until they’re one it’s not a problem – they are getting everything they need from milk anyway. But you’ll find that by the time your baby is one they’ll be eating regularly anyway. Everything just clicks at some point and they go from playing with and learning about food to actually eating – and when you realise you have reached that point you can pretty much sit back and relax.