Posts tagged Baby Led Weaning
We had a huge veggie roast dinner this afternoon. I think MasterB consumed his own body weight in roast parsnips, carrots and Yorkshire puddings
Well we are a week away from MasterB turning 6 months and he is starting to show an interest in food and so I’ve decided it’s time to start baby led weaning with him. We had fantastic results doing blw with MissB and we started with her around this age so let the fun begin
Now I’m not expecting him to really eat anything for a while yet but I’ll be giving him the option and if he picks up the food and eats it fine, if not then no worries he will when he is ready. The whole point with blw is that you wait for them to do it and not force the pace
The lovely people at Stokke recently sent me a Stokke Tripp Trapp Newborn set to review. The Tripp Trapp Newborn is a cosy, new, ergonomically designed, pod chair that fits simply onto the top of the Tripp Trapp chair to create the perfect environment for your baby – from birth to six months (approx).
I was very impressed with the idea of having a baby seat which was at table height rather than floor height, especially in this household with 2 cats and of course MissB and her sticky fingers We are very much into baby led weaning and to us mealtimes are a time when we all sit down at the table and enjoy conversation and being a family. MissB has been joining us at the table for meals since she was 4 months old and able to support herself in a normal highchair and I love the fact that MasterB can join us from birth and that the Tripp Trapp Chair will be the only highchair I need to buy for him as with the addition of the Baby Set he will still be able to use the chair when he outgrows the Newborn Set (note to self: must order a baby set!).
I was a bit concerned when I first unpacked and put up the Tripp Trapp Chair and Newborn set as it does look a little on the small side, MasterB must have only weighed about 6lb when the following photo was taken but having tried the seat with a larger baby (ie my 8 month old nephew Maxwell) I can see how he will still be able to fit into the chair until he is approximately 6 months old (although realistically he will be in the baby seat by then).
Of course having an inquisitive 14 month old around the house, MissB had to try for herself to see whether she could fit in the Newborn set herself (she is currently obsessed with trying out everything of MasterB’s!) Of course as you would expect she is a little on the large side for it
But she did find that it makes a great place to hide underneath
Anyway back to my review I love the fact that the Newborn set can attach and detach from the Tripp Trapp chair so easily and it is extremely light. I find myself using it all around the house, for instance it’s ideal for taking up to the bathroom with me and having somewhere to put MasterB whilst I’m running his bath or doing other tasks around the house. I find myself often popping him in it at the table whilst I’m cooking dinner in an evening or putting away shopping etc, it’s great to just be able to look up and check that he is ok without having to worry about balancing bouncy chairs on the table (a major no no, I know but I’m sure most mothers will admit it!) or having a chair on the kitchen floor.
The newborn set also has a very handy attachment which you can attach a toy to which will keep baby entertained.
As you can see from the photos, MasterB is quite happy in his Newborn set and I as a mother am extremely happy with it, it’s both stylish and practical and has the added bonus that it is a chair for life and not something which will have to be retired at any time in the near future. The trouble is now I’m going to have to go out and buy MissB a Tripp Trapp Chair of her own as I can see there being battles over who gets custody of this one in the future I’m definitely a Stokke convert now and will be checking out their other products on their website here >>Stokke Website
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!
OK so I’m giving this a try to see if I can get video working, so please bear with me
Hopefully if that worked it is MissB feeding herself strawberry custard – a proud mummy moment, although I can’t figure out how to actually rotate the video?
Now we are very sucessfully baby led weaning and loving every minute of it and so baby foods are not something we buy or use. However there are occasions when it’s good to have some baby friendly finger foods to have close to hand to offer as snacks or extras to add to a meal when parts of our meals are not suitable for MissB.
HIPP Organic very kindly sent us some of their finger foods to try out and see what MissB thought of them. What is important to me when giving MissB food is that it is as natural and unprocessed as possible. We are vegetarian so this is also a must and where possible we try to use organic food. Low salt and sugar are of course top of the list of things I look for and HIPP Organic are great as when you read the list of ingredients it’s a list that you can understand and not like reading some kind of chemical analysis. You can check out their website HERE for more information about their products and you can even find them on twitter @HiPPOrganic
MissB particularly loves their rice cakes which come in 3 flavours. Apple, Carrot and Pumpkin and MissB’s personal favourite Tomato and Sweet Red Pepper. The great thing about these rice cakes are that they are ideal finger foods for when we are out and about. It’s easy to pop a few in a little container which can be whipped out and offered to MissB in order to distract her from her mum eating chocolate cake or a thousand and one other sinful foods which she doesn’t want to share They are also relatively mess free which is always a boost when out and about as it doesn’t require constant bibs/outfit changes to keep her looking immaculate for her public. The rice cakes also form a fabulous base for homemade houmous or guacamole. These are definitely a must have for our store cupboard from now on
Another fantastic finger food we tried were the Crispy Biscottes, little wheat biscuits which are an ideal base for mashed up banana, fruit puree, yoghurt and anything else you care to pile on them. MissB loves these by themselves and will quite often have one or two with her breakfast which usually consists of fruit and yoghurt. The crunchiness of the biscottes is a texture that she seems to particularly enjoy and it seems to soothe her teething. Yet another item that will be living in our store cupboard from now on