Pearls of parenting wisdom – Baby-led-weaning

Sister’s like “hey, where’s the food?”

If I had £1 for everytime someone said to me “Hey Hales, tell me more about baby-led-weaning”, then I’d have…£1? If, like me, you enjoy frightening your mother-in-law and preparing food for your baby to throw on the floor, then baby-led-weaning might be for you. And the best bit? It makes it so easy to feed your baby and you can feel quite smug that your little darling is eating grown up food and not jars of mushed carrot. Good eh?

To get started, you will need:
A baby
Some food

I started out with a mesh feeder because I’d fed my first baby purées and the thought of giving my baby an actual piece of food to eat (OMGZZZ!!!1!) gave me palpitations. As my parenting is quite relaxed (some would perhaps say “negligent”), this might come as a surprise. I soon discovered that mesh feeders a) pissed my baby off and b) were a bitch to clean so I gave her soft steamed food. Great “first tastes” (get me, being all Anabel Karmel) are things like sweet potato, soft pear, broccoli, avocado (no cooking involved and it’s full of nutritional goodness – WIN). I would not advise – crisps, big macs, KFC, toffees.

To begin with, your baby probably won’t eat the food you offer – unless you’ve started to wean them because they kept stealing your food, in which case they’ll be wolfing it down while shooting you filthy looks. They’ll probably lick and play with the food the first few times. The choking thing is a bit scary but if they can pick it up and get it in their mouth, they’re honestly fine to eat it. If they aren’t ready, they will spit it out. Occasionally, your little one might gag – this is totally normal so try not to freak out. Babies gag reflexes work differently to ours so them gagging doesn’t necessarily mean they’re choking and they will eventually figure it out. Babies are clever little things and even a baby without teeth can manage to bite and chew. Those little gums are hard! *Chorus of “hell yeah!” from the breastfeeding mums*

Because this can get messy, it’s a great idea to invest in splash mat (which I didn’t) for your floor or perhaps get a hungry cat or dog. And have lots of bibs to hand. If you’re like me and don’t like making work for yourself, you could always feed them in their nappy and give them a flannel down afterwards.

Once your baby gets the hang of it, you can offer a huge range of foods and your baby can enjoy meals with the family. You can even go out to eat. Like, in a cafe or restaurant (unless you have older kids too….maybe get a babysitter?).

*This blog is not intended to replace medical advice (if you read this far and thought this was medical advice then I’m worried for you). If you have questions about weaning your baby, speak to your GP or Health Visitor. I accept no responsibility for um, anything? And if you try this and your kid ends up only eating raspberry yogurt until they’re 7, don’t come crying to me.

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