So when your baby is ready to start weaning, you should start with the baby rice and the food blender right? Well actually if you think about it logically why would you start with the mush and then introduce gradual lumpy foods, where a sudden lump encountered is likely to surprise your baby.
If you introduce solid food from the beginning and let your baby get used to chewing then your baby is going to get used to eating ‘normal’ food from the very start and it makes the transition a lot easier. Not to mention it will be a lot cheaper because you won’t have to buy separate ‘baby’ food either.
So if you want to try baby led weaning, when your baby is ready, (WHO recommends around 6 months), start small and don’t expect them to eat too much. Also try and make sure that you start between milk feeds when your baby is likely to be a little bit hungry.
For my little man we started with pieces of carrot cooked to the point they could by easily squashed in his fingers. You don’t have to use carrots anything ‘chip sized’ is good because it’s easy for a 6 month old to grip. You could also try pieces of toast or fruit cut to size like melon and mango.
Don’t give your baby too much or they are likely to be overwhelmed and not try anything. Just a few pieces direct onto their highchair table should be sufficient, no need for bowls and just sit back and get on with your meal and you’ll be surprised how easily your baby takes to it.
I know for me the thing I worried about most was, is my baby going to choke? I often sat on tenterhooks whilst he was eating celery or cucumber ready to intervene, but I can honestly say we never had a choking incident.
He definitely gagged a few times but it’s important to remember that gagging is just a reflex for your baby to move food around his mouth. I know as a mother it’s hard but you have to try and relax!
The other important thing to mention is that is that baby led weaning is a messy business! Baby will be covered as will highchair and probably floor. It’s a good idea to get a bib for baby that catches food and maybe putting a wipe clean mat under the highchair will save on cleaning time. But as mothers we are used to mess so that shouldn’t phase us!
Another advantage of baby led weaning is it’s also portable! It means it’s much easier to eat out with baby, no asking to heat up pre prepared baby food in restaurants. You can just adapt what you’re eating for baby just cut them a few pieces of your own meal. Or you could bring some things you know they like along and just let them have that instead. Simple!
Baby led weaning really worked for me; my son will now eat almost anything. Really there should be no such thing as ‘baby food’, all food is open to babies we just have to let them try it! (Written by Suzanne Amos)