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Baby-led weaning - advice, ideas, experiences?

(17 Posts)
TurtleAnn Sat 11-Jul-09 22:07:03

Has anyone used baby-led weaning?

I am thinking about doing this in a couple of months with DS (3m). I love the idea that DS takes the food that we eat and enjoys social mealtimes.

How much did you have to change what you ate to accomodate your baby's allowed foods?
I know honey, egg white & small foods that are choking hazards are not advised (grapes/ nuts etc).

Any bad experiences?
Any advice? Any receipe ideas?

What age did you start? I am planning 6-months as that is WHO advice, but I already give DS a plastic spoon to play with during my breakfast when he sits with me in his bouncy chair. He loves it, cant get it anywhere near his mouth, keeps hitting his head with the spoon, but is loving having a spoon like Mummy to play with and copy me.

singalongamumum Sun 12-Jul-09 14:54:43

Good for you TurtleAnn. I did BLW and it has been brilliant for so many reasons... not least, my 21mo DS is a keen lover of vegetables! It also seemed to make him less keen to put everything else in his mouth.

The main thing is, relax and enjoy it- it's not always smooth sailing and you have to trust your baby to eat... they all do in the end. Be prepared for a messy baby and kitchen floor (I bought a hand held hoover far too late and wish I'd done it earlier- it would have saved hours with the broom).

Also, there will probably be gagging, which is not the same as choking. Brace yourself and be prepared to smile encouragingly as your baby splutters and look at you in an alarmed fashion!

It's so worth it. For more help and advice you can look here

A site set up by mumsnet's very own Aitch. smile

Supercherry Sun 12-Jul-09 17:58:40

I did BLW weaning at 26wks and have to say found weaning a positive, stress free experience.

We started giving baby a few pieces of broccoli and then moved onto other veg such as carrot, cauliflower etc.

I wouldn't always give DS what we were having exactly but I would always ensure some part of the meal he could try. If we were all eating the same then I wouldn't add salt to my cooking.

Other than avoiding obvious choking hazards, ie, peanuts, at 6mths babies can eat anything really as far as I am aware.

Food ideas:

Pasta twists/penne in sauce, maybe with bit of grated cheese.

Cheese chunks.

Any chunks of veg: broccoli, sweet potato, swede, parsnip, cauliflower, (I left peas and sweetcorn until nearer 1yr due to the shells possibly getting stuck in his throat)etc.

Cucumber sticks, pepper.

Fruit: halved grapes(not too many can upset tum), galia melon, banana, peach.

Sandwiches, cheese, tuna mayo etc.

MrsBadger Sun 12-Jul-09 18:26:07

do it do it do it

tis a great way of ascertaining if they are ready to start

make sure your floor is clean enough that you can put dropped bits back on the trays

buy bibs with sleeves

try and do a different carb at every meal else IME they end up eating too much bread
(this took some planning - save all leftovers however random)

but do not be so stubborn that you are afraid to back down and start spooning later when they are 13m and still only messing about with carrot and pitta [bitter experience emoticon]

JimmyMcNulty Sun 12-Jul-09 19:37:11

Thoroughly recommend it. Did it with ds (now nearly 3) and found it v easy, though it took him a good few months to swallow much.

Keep it laid back and keep an open mind about what he will like and dislike - I was bemused that ds insisted on hating broccoli despite all the pictures I'd seen of babies happily munching their textbook-BLW-style 'tree-shaped spears' of the stuff, and absolutely refused the chip-shaped steamed carrots I kept reading about that were perfect BLW fodder. 2 years on and he still hates broccoli (though other things have gone through phases). On the other hand he has always shovelled in weird things like quite sour lemony recipes, and beetroot.

Loopymumsy Sun 12-Jul-09 20:21:58

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lobsters Sun 12-Jul-09 21:43:05

I've been doing it for 2 weeks and I love it. We started at about 25 weeks. So far she's not completely been having what we have, partly due to timing. I can see her motor skills and co-ordination improving already. I found the Gill Rapely book really useful it explaining it all. Also I would have to say, I'm not sure this would work if you are house pround. There is mess, but I love watching her eat.

Tangle Mon 13-Jul-09 00:20:44

We did BLW with DD - started just over 6mths and she's now 2 1/4 and a great eater (just don't talk about sleep!).

We found carrot wasn't so good - it still seemed to break into quite large lumps and she had some big splutters with it. Ripe pear, however, was superb (and is still a favourite), as are wedges of potato roasted in olive oil and pasta - twirls/spirals much easier to hold than penne.

Re. the mess, at some point your DC will need to learn to eat independently - and that is going to involve some mess. If anything I'd say that (once we persuaded her that throwing food was NOT a fun game!) DD is a tidier eater than her friend who started with baby rice and moved on from there.

One of the things I love most is how she likes to be in control of what goes in her mouth and how it gets there - having never spoon fed her I find it really weird watching children her age that go very passive as soon as a parent picks up a spoon (we do give her a hand from time to time, but she actively leans forward to take stuff - gets most upset if we try and take the lead).

CultureMix Mon 13-Jul-09 02:23:34

I echo the above comments, did BLW with my son from 5+ months and went very well. I do feel this is one of the reasons he enjoys vegetables as he's tasted the real thing from day one. For harder foods e.g. carrot I would steam / cook them, same with apple which seems to have a rough texture raw and hence difficult to swallow.

The scary part at first is the gagging, you think they are choking and lasts about 2 weeks (ish) while they learn to swallow food. You need to resist the urge to perform the Heimlich maneuver fish out the food yourself, usually by the time you react anyways they will manage to spit it out.

Also be prepared for comments from mother / MIL /friends about how mush is best and do you really want to do this, is it safe, isn't it too early etc.

I did roughly mash some foods with a fork but never went the mush route and it's great to be able to feed your LO from your plate / on the go while everyone else is reheating their jars of baby goo.

DS tucked into Christmas lunch with everyone else at 8 months, including Brussel sprouts smile.

CultureMix Mon 13-Jul-09 02:32:55

I should add though like MrsBadger that this shouldn't stop you from spoon-feeding if required. This is a) to move things along as otherwise meals can take forever and b) some foods e.g. yogurt are impossible otherwise.

I think the major plus of BLW is giving the baby the chance to experience food by himself. Be prepared for a mess, yes spoonfeeding is less messy but sooner or later the child will want to eat on their own and start flinging food round, no escaping it.

slimyak Tue 14-Jul-09 13:33:40

Go for it. Mess, mess and more mess but as long as you keep your sence of humour it's definately the way to go. Food is an experience for the newly aquainted.

How many people have a photo on their fridge of baby covered in something that may have been edible. Now just think, instead of a photo you'll have the living version changing 3 times a day.

I agree with culturemix you will get comments;is it safe 'you don't want to do that' etc especially seeing as not that long ago parents were dutifully shoveling babyrice into the shocked gaping mouth of a 10 week old.

Our DD was BLW from 25wks. Didn't eat/swallow much at first but got the hang of it over a couple of months. We did change our eating habits to acomodate it, but that's family meals for you, and it was for the better - less salt, more veg etc.

Don't be limited to traditional finger foods, you'll be surprized at what you can eat with your fingers. Only this morning DD 2y ate her cornflakes with her fingers hmm maybe that's a downside.

My top tip, if you anyone you know is having any lino put down, get a spare offcut and put it under the hight chair - more stable than mat/plastic sheet and you can wipe it in situ or hose it down in the garden.

Anything with pasta twists and avacado were definite favourites for us.

BettyFriedan Tue 14-Jul-09 20:58:38

I would love to do this but does anyone have any books or anything they can recommend? Am due to starting weaning PFB in about six weeks or so...and feel i know NOTHING

BettyFriedan Tue 14-Jul-09 20:59:22

also DH not likely to get home in time to eat evening meal with us...does that matter?

Loopymumsy Wed 15-Jul-09 08:58:39

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TurtleAnn Wed 15-Jul-09 12:27:49

Thank you, I have read the Gill Rapley book on BLW now and it seemed much more up my street than the Annabel Karmel one. I will be taking receipes from both though for my BLW attempt.

i am really quite excited about this now.
Thank you

DracoDormiensNunquamTitilandus Wed 15-Jul-09 12:41:35

Bad experiences? DD hated it and it was a disaster. She was utterly appalled by the thought [sigh] I try to blank it from my mind TBH. She was a nightmare to wean all round though (in fact, she was a nightmare with everything). That's not to say I wouldn't use it as a way of weaning a (never going to happen) 4th child though. She is now 3.5 and is a fantastic eater and eats virtually anything. We ended up doing a mix of everything which seemed to suit her contrary ways.

I didn't have to make any changes to how I cooked my food as I'd stopped cooking with salt before DS1 was born 10 years ago. I think that's pretty much the only thing you need to be aware of (incl hidden salt).

cyteen Wed 15-Jul-09 12:51:49

BettyFriedan - the Gill Rapley book is excellent and covers pretty much everything. Aitch's blog and forum (linked to by singalongamumum above) is brilliant for food ideas and tips

TurtleAnn, hope you both enjoy it when the time comes! It's worked so brilliantly for us, DS loves exploring his food and is surprisingly partial to strong flavours (mackerel fishcakes, anyone?) Re. the gagging, a friend gave me a great tip which is, when your LO gags and look shocked, give them a smile and say reassuringly 'all ok?' or similar (having first checked that all is ok and they're not actually choking, obv). They seem to like the reassurance and it's good for calming you down too.

Also, don't be surprised if things go in fits and starts. My DS was shovelling it in within a couple of weeks of starting and until recently little could distract him from his food; however, at 10mo he has now started flinging things off with a look of disdain. This has coincided with lots of other signs that's he's beginning to assert himself, so I'm not taking it personally grin

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