Baby Led Weaning
I’ve just been watching them talking about fussy eaters on TV and to be honest it baffles me. I don’t know whether I’m unusual in this but I’ve never worried about what my children eat. To me eating is simple and always will be, I have a few simple rules in this house which I stick to and it makes meal times stress free for everybody.
1. I cook one meal and one meal only. I don’t have enough time in the day to be cooking separate meals for everybody. Our meals are healthy, nutritious and tasty.
2. Everybody eats together, sitting down as a family allows everyone to be involved in conversations about our day. Mealtimes are full of laughter and conversation.
3. There is no pressure on anybody to eat everything on their plate, if either of the children don’t eat then that’s fine. They won’t starve to death and they won’t get given something else. Dinner is what’s on their plate and if they don’t want it they can leave it.
4. It’s only ever a few hours to the next meal and I strongly believe if a child is hungry they will eat, if you fill them up on unhealthy snacks between meals then they will turn their noses up at their meals. I still give snacks if they really seem hungry but fruit tends to be the main snack in our household. Both of the kids love raisins and eat them as though they are sweets.
5. We don’t really do desserts, this is mainly because our main meals are really filling but I do have yoghurts in the fridge and if both kids have eaten all their food and are still looking for more they get a yoghurt.
And that’s it! I did baby led weaning with both MissB and MasterB and it worked great, from day one they have been sitting at the table with us, eating the same as us. They have grown up on a diet of tasty food rather than bland puréed mush. My kids love spicy curries. Garlic, ginger and chillies get added to most of my meals and I’ve never adjusted it for the kids. I rarely use salt in cooking (black pepper yes but salt no) and that is the one thing I think I would really have needed to watch but as our diet is low salt anyway it’s been easy.
MissB at two loves a nice jalfrezi, olives, balsamic vinegar and anything interesting. If food is tasteless she tends to leave it. MasterB at one will eat absolutely everything I put in front of him. I can’t ever see myself changing our families eating habits, it works, my children love food and we never have any battles at meal time. Am I really unusual in my attitude to food?
We had a huge veggie roast dinner this afternoon. I think MasterB consumed his own body weight in roast parsnips, carrots and Yorkshire puddings
We are a big fan of Stokke Tripp Trapp chairs in this house, all I need to do us find the perfect kitchen table to match them but that has to wait until we get the kitchen redone later this year
It’s been a while since I’ve added any new veggie recipes to the blog, but I’ve been experimenting with my new slow cooker over the last couple of months and thought I’d share with you a delicious recipe that I’ve adapted from one I originally found in Slow Cooking for Vegetarians. With most of the recipes I try, I tend to find they need a fair bit of tweaking in order to work for us. This recipe is for a lovely thick soup/pasta casserole which when served with fresh bread is absolutely delicious!
A little olive oil (for frying the onion and garlic)
1 onion (white)
2 cloves garlic
2 tins chopped tomatos
1 tin butterbeans
1 tin/jar of artichoke hearts
900ml of vegetable stock – I use 6 veggie oxo cubes in 900ml of water as I like it very strong
2 tspn dried Thyme
3-4 handfuls of pasta (I like to use mini pasta bows)
How to cook:
1. Chop the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes in olive oil until they are just softened but not browned
2. Add in the stock, tomatos, drained butterbeans, drained artichoke hearts, thyme and season with some black pepper
3. Bring just to boil and then transfer to slow cooker and cook on low for around 5-6 hours
4. Half an hour before serving, chuck in the pasta, stir and bump up to high setting
And that’s it! Serve in bowls with fresh, warm bread and butter! Sprinkle a little grated cheese on top to garnish if you like! MissB and MasterB love it!
Way back in March when MasterB was only around 6 weeks old, I reviewed the Stokke Newborn Set and there are some products that are so good they deserve a follow up review post, and this is how I feel about the Stokke Tripp Trapp and Newborn Set!
Since the day we received the Newborn Set it has been used every single day from when MasterB arrived home from hospital weighing just under 6lb to when he was a strapping 6 month old baby weighing around 20lb! Mealtimes for us are family times when we all sit around the table, chat about our days and eat together. This didn’t change when MissB arrived on the scene and when MasterB arrived, the Newborn Set made mealtimes a thousand times easier. MasterB has loved sitting with us during mealtimes and having him sat near us when cooking, etc has been a real boost. MissB has also loved having her little brother nearby although we have had to watch out for the occasional carrot or spoonful of yoghurt being thrown at him
My main concern when I originally saw the Newborn Set all those months ago was the size. I remember looking it and thinking it would never last him until we were ready for weaning but it has proved me wrong. Although premature, MasterB didn’t stay a tiny baby for long and soon outgrew most other babies his age but the Newborn Set has coped with his growth spurts and we have only now retired it as he has reached 6 months and is ready for weaning.
Stokke very kindly sent us a Baby Set for MasterB to move up into as we have started weaning and MasterB absolutely loved his new seat
Although it did cause a bit of trouble in the household as MissB then proclaimed this to be “MissB’s chair”…sigh.. however the ever so lovely people at Stokke saved the day once more by sending MissB her very own Tripp Trapp so now the tiny terrors have a Tripp Trapp of their own and peace has been restored in the Brown household once more
Mealtimes are now even more of a family affair with MasterB joining us all in eating, the Tripp Trapps enable MissB and MasterB to sit together and the bond between them is beautiful to watch…
MissB at 22 months sits on the Tripp Trapp with no harness or baby set, she is capable of climbing on and off it by herself and will sit nicely at mealtimes although we do make sure someone is nearby at all times just in case. MasterB sits in the baby set and can easily reach the table and his food from it. Another huge bonus with the Tripp Trapps is that they are SO SO easy to clean compared to other highchairs with all their nooks and crannys to trap food in. With the Tripp Trapps I just wipe them down at the end of a meal, brush the floor and it’s all done And yes for those of you who’ve noticed that our table doesn’t match the Tripp Trapps, that is because we hate the table and it will be replaced shortly with one that matches our floor and the Tripp Trapps Of course you can get the Tripp Trapp in pretty much any colour you like so for those of you who are more adventurous you will be spoilt for choice!
We absolutely love our Tripp Trapp chairs and they really will last us for years and not be relegated to the scrap heap like our old plastic highchair has been. They are practical and elegant and something I’m proud to have in my kitchen
PS. Apologies for the photos and there being stuff everywhere but in a household like ours the kitchen is rarely looking like a show home lol but that’s just how we like it
I’m certainly no expert when it comes to babies, after all MissB was my first one and so when it came to thinking about weaning her it seemed that there were such a large variety of opinions out there it was impossible not to get completely confused.
Now I’m someone who likes to keep things simple and where possible go with the flow but I also like to thoroughly investigate all the options before I start on something and so when MissB was around 4 months old I started looking into the minefield that is baby weaning. Government guidelines are of course that you should wait until your baby is 6 months old before weaning and I wanted to wait as long as possible before starting despite well meaning advice from anyone within hearing distance. After all “babies only start sleeping through when you fill them up with baby rice at 3 months old” don’t they? Nope, that’s a load of nonsense, MissB has slept through since she was 6 weeks old and we only ever really got disturbed nights when she was teething or having a growth spurt and so the need to wean her early in order for a nights sleep wasn’t necessary.
Being a member of various parenting forums, one thing that did keep cropping up in relation to weaning was Baby Led Weaning and me being me had to investigate. Baby led weaning (or BLW as I shall call it from now on in this post to save my fingers) basically goes by the concept that if you wait until your baby is 6 months old to start weaning, then you don’t need to bother with purees and mushy stuff as they are old enough to start straight onto solid food. And that is basically it, wait until 6 months, start giving solid food and let the baby decide when it is ready to eat and how much it wants to eat. No mush, no purees, no spoon feeding, no force feeding, just put baby in highchair, give them some food and let them explore it. Sounds simple eh? The most commonly recommended book on the subject is “Baby Led Weaning” by Gill Rapley, although this is more of a theory behind it and guide rather than an actual “how to” book. If you are wanting a book which tells you that at 6 months, offer x food and in week 2 offer x, y and z food then you won’t find one as this isn’t what BLW is about.
So how do you start BLW? Well that’s pretty easy, from when MissB was about 5 months old we started sitting her in her highchair whilst we ate our meals and we’d give her some plastic cutlery to play with etc just to get her used to the idea of sitting down, watching us eating, conversations etc. Mealtimes are more of a social interaction initially for BLW than food focussed. MissB was about 5 and a half months when she started showing an interest in what was on our plates and so I started popping little bits on her tray, a floret of broccoli or a piece of carrot are always good starting foods. At first all she did was play with them, maybe throw them on the floor, maybe lick it but after a week or so she became more courageous and started putting them in her mouth. Now I will admit that the first time you watch your baby put something in their mouth, you will hold your breath and tense up, I reckon it’s impossible not too but try your hardest not to react and just carry on eating. The theory is that by 6 months old your baby is perfectly capable of managing to eat and if you sit back and let them, they will show you just how well they manage.
There will be gagging initially. Now many parents panic at this and this is probably the reason that most attempts at BLW fail as baby starts coughing and the parent incorrectly assumes their child is choking. The gag reflex is far forward in a babies mouth at this age and it is designed this way so that babies will automatically gag and bring forward any un-chewed food back to the front of their mouths. So yes you will find your baby gags quite a bit initially as it learns to chew food but you really shouldn’t step in unless the baby is clearly choking and struggling. I’d say 9 times out of 10 parents over-react to gagging when it really isn’t necessary. My rule was stay calm and sit still and wait, if baby is still coughing then they are still breathing and the airway is not blocked and they are not choking. If baby is physically distressed or struggling to breathe then is the time to step in, although this never happened once with MissB, we had plenty of gagging in the initial weeks but never once did I have to intervene.
Once started on the BLW route is really is simple from then on, you just keep giving bits of food and let the baby decide when and how much they want to eat, no pressure. You just keep giving them their bottles of milk as normal and eventually in their own time baby will drop the milk and eat more food. It may take a few months before baby is eating substantial amounts of food, with MissB she was probably around 8 months when she really started properly eating decent portions of food but now at 13 months old she eats 3 full meals a day, plus snacks and only has milk first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We will be dropping these bottles shortly as she isn’t really interested in them that much anymore.
Will I be doing BLW again with this next baby? Most definitely, it has been so much fun doing it with MissB, I wouldn’t hesitate to go down the BLW route again. MissB will happily eat anything we give her nowadays (including curry etc, we introduced her to garlic, chilli, ginger etc from an early age and so she much prefers stronger tasting food than any of that bland baby mush!) and mealtimes are a pleasure. Instead of spending mealtimes feeding our baby we spend them interacting and conversing with her and rarely a mealtime goes by without us all laughing and giggling together. Even eating out is simple as there is no messy baby food to prepare, we just give her bits of what we are having.
And yes I know this video is sideways but you get the general idea, this was MissB feeding herself banana custard out of the pot, with a spoon at 13 months old. A proud mummy moment
If you decide to go down the BLW route yourself and ever want a bit of support/advice then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me on twitter @dawnie_brown I’m no expert on the subject but sometimes it’s nice just to talk to someone who has been there and done that!