Pre-kids, I’d never heard of baby led weaning, BLW. But, in those early days of motherhood, it’s one of the concepts that you’ll be worrying about frighteningly quickly once you’ve recovered from the shock of owning a real live mini person.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure you know what it is, but just in case…. The idea is, that instead of spoon feeding your weaning baby pureed up fruit, veg, meats, combinations of the aforementioned, you allow them to pick up whole pieces of food themselves and gnaw away at the goodness. The benefits allow children to learn the textures, flavours, colours of real food themselves, and will stop eating when they are full.
So, in my experience of weaning x 2 here’s my honest (as always) review of baby led weaning (BLW):
- There is something wonderful and wholesome about seeing your baby pick up with their tiny fingers a piece of pure unadulterated food in its purest form and nibble away at it. You will definitely feel like you’re winning at parenting when it happens.
- In theory, this is a cheaper way of feeding a family, as there is no need to purchase separate baby food meals – you should all be able to eat the same meal together. It’s certainly a lovely thing to be able to pull apart a bit of sand which and let your child share it with you when she’s watching you eat and salivating.
- This is something I’ve learnt With baby G #2 in particular. BLW will give you time, such a precious commodity to us mum folk. Whilst they nibble away you can wash up, prep dinner, load the washing machine… Or better still, eat your lunch, have a cuppa, read a few blogs, even write one. Always always always of course whilst keeping a very close eye on little one munching away.
- There will be mess. Accept it, move forward.
- Time you will gain (point 3) but only a positive if you have that time to spare. If you have a 15 minute window to feed the kids and get out the house, BLW can be a little stressful! They aren’t going to be demolishing anything at any speed for a good few months.
- Doing BLW anywhere other than your own home can be tricky to master. It will involve lots of small Tupperware containers and a little bit of Wishful thinking. V easy to under or over cater for your food throwing little monkey. Doing BLW without a high chair will increase the food on the floor wastage factor. Unless you’ve got catching skills like Quick Draw McGraw.
- The floor. That’s where a significant proportion of your lovingly prepared meal will end up. 3 second rule applies in sparkling clean kitchens; sticky restaurant carpets not so much.
- I’m struggling a little with variety, in all honesty. There are a number of foods which are perfect; little fingers of toast, cheese, soft fruits, cooked veg, strips of chicken, bread. But if I’m getting bored of giving the same bits each day she must be bored of eating them? I guess it’s better than the same tasting orange gunge though? If anyone can point me towards a blog post named ‘1000 different BLW foods’ I’d be very grateful.
- If like me, you’re trying to feed up a tiny one, BLW can add to the worry. Cries of ‘you’ve done so well today!’ Swiftly retracted when you lift her out of the high chair and find she’s sitting on 80% of what you thought she’d eaten.
- A lot of mums (and Grandparents – its a generation thing) just can’t get past the worry of choking. I think somewhere along the way, somehow, I’ve conquered that mountain. But, it’s always there when they make any gagging noises it sends the fear of God into you. Attending a baby choking course helped, and I have the leaflet stuck on the inside of the baby cupboard – just in case.
So in conclusion? For us, the solution has been a bit of both. That happy place called middle ground. We do a BLW lunch of picky bits followed always by a yogurt. Dinner is nearly always spoon fed, with some side dishes of bits and bobs off her sisters plate. I love seeing her develop to new and different textures, seeing what things she loves (and hates) but, I need that reassurance she’s getting what she needs to catch up.
And that’s a wrap. She quite likes those, incidentally.