BLW… baby-led weaning
BLW should be fun for you and your little one. I found making purees just for the spoon to be refused a bit disheartening and stressful. There I was, steaming and blending for hours and then eating Dairy Milk for lunch because I was too shattered to cook for myself! There had to be a better way. For us, BLW was it! There are, of course, serious bits to take in to account – we will come to those later. For BLW ideas, well, you’ve come to the right place!
I enjoyed weaning so much. Even the rubbishy bits when I made something beautiful that took an hour and he fed it to the dog. Why did he feed it to the dog? Dunno. Will I ever know why he ate one food on Wednesday but not on Saturday? Nope. But, I try not to sweat it. Personally (and again, this is my opinion), I want my child to have a healthy relationship with food, not necessarily to eat ‘clean’ and ‘healthy’ food all the time. You will know what your priorities are so go with your gut there.
Where to start?
The advice all points to starting weaning at around six months. Most parents I have spoken to on my journey have chosen a bit of a combination of BLW and spoon-feeding. I have met people who have exclusively chosen one route too.
How much food should I give my baby?
Well, not much to begin with. Initially your baby will be getting most of their calories from milk, so don’t stress about how much they eat.
When I started BLW, I tried to focus on a range of tastes and textures and maybe offered two or three things at once. So, maybe sweet potato, pitta fingers and banana or cucumber, strawberry and pasta. You may want to keep it really simple and offer one food at a time. It’s really up to you!
Here are a couple of recipes I used early on. These were BLW ideas I came up with within the first six months of weaning and still use today!
Can I spoon feed too?
Errmmm…yep. If you want to. Your baby. Your choice! Do what feels right.
Is it messy?
Yes. But not all the time. And, in my humble opinion, in the long run you are doing yourself a favour because your child will need to learn to get food towards their mouth at some point!
About those serious bits?
The guidelines are that BLW babies should be given ‘family’ food from six months.
- You do need to watch your salt content – for example a crumpet has 1g of salt which is a whole days allowance for a child under 1. There is an NHS guide to salt just here.
- Grapes. Cut lengthways…until they are at least 25. They are a choking hazard. Be careful with all food but this one and whole nuts are the two that are almost always flagged when you talk to Health Visitors.
- No honey for under 1’s. This is because of something called botulism which can be present in honey. It is nasty for everyone but more so in babies.
- Different countries have different guidelines so do a bit of reading if you are worried!