The foods the thing

Blossom is five months old and it will soon be time to start weaning.

Its been two and a half years since I weaned Monty and things have changed. Baby Led Weaning was something I read about when I was pregnant with him and was very popular in Brighton where he was born. I thought it was a fantastic idea. Then we moved when he was a few weeks old and I kind of forgot about it and went along my merry puree way thinking I was  Annabel Karmel in converse.  I just kind of went the route that the Health Visitors guided at the weaning talk. He loved his food and progressed to lumps and finger food in a matter of months so it never really was an issue.

He's not so good with his grub now though, but I guess it is hard to eat a meal when you can't breath out of your nose. I have no idea how he survives on so little calories but that is another post entirely!

So this is a post for pleading for advice. Books you can recommend, personal experience, top tips, great websites etc. Hit me with the good stuff please as I am in a bit of a quandary. I like the idea of BLW but I am concerned about the initial stages, getting enough protein into her before she can really chew. I know that food under one is just for fun and breast milk will largely be enough for her. Can you do a combination of the puree way and the just giving her what we are eating for her to discover or is that the silliest thing you have ever heard? Does that defeat the whole object?

See what I mean? Help mucho appreciated!


  1. Well we did a combination of everything! Started them on babyrice and purees, but started giving them finger food too from an early age. They're 11 months now and seem pretty happy to eat most things (feed themselves with their fingers). I like the idea of BLW, but I have always had anxiety about their weights/feeding, so it wasn't for me. I also don't think I'm patient enough! Good luck. x

  2. Hi Bec, I am bordering on evangelical about BLW. I posted about it here http://morethanjustamother.blogspot.com/2009/04/baby-led-weaning.html but please feel free to e-mail or tweet me (@MTJAM) if you want to ask anything. Personally I think if you combine the two, that's not BLW, that's just pureeing plus adding finger foods. The concept of BLW is about letting them lead the way. Gill Rapley's book is AWESOME and will allay a lot of your fears. I actually found my twin girls coughed and spluttered less than my son, who I fed with puree.

  3. I have weaned my 4girls all the same way, starting with purees and then lumps and the finger food. I never followed the baby led weaning i just do what i feel they can handle. I'm sure if you put a mushy porridge in her chops and she gulps it down you will know what she likes and how she wants to be fed. Go with your instinct thats what i've always done and enjoy!! weaning can be lots of fun xxx

  4. Hey you! I did purees with Lil H and BLW with Baby G, but I do use purees within that too - when we are out and about it can be easier, sometimes she gets a bit constipated and needs some extra fruit to help her. But I love BLW. The book I got was Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett but also head over the the baby led weaning forum http://www.babyledweaning.com/forum/ its very lovely and friendly over there too. Can't beleive she's not a newborn still, time space shocker! Cx

  5. I will talk to you about this when I see you next, and I am happy to give you as much advice as I can. This might be a long comment but it will be helpful.

    Firstly, our experiences:
    At the start

    In the middle

    I need to write another post too, but it will go along the lines of 'we stuck at it and it was the best thing I have done'. It wasn't always easy, but in the past two months we really turned a corner as as he turned one everything just clicked into place. Now he catches me out because he eats so much.

    It is so easy on me now. He does all of the work himself and as long as I supervise I can get on with other stuff, or eat my dinner at the same time without having to spoon food into his mouth all the time. He eats what we eat all the time. The only time I make something seperate for him is the days he is at nursery.

    The book which has been recommended is great, this website: http://www.babyledweaning.com is very useful and there is a brilliant forum which I have used a lot.

    Twitter people @daddycooks, @porridgebrain have been there, done that and are wonderful for advice, support & reassurance.

    Finally @mummylimited has been through it and offered great advice, this post is interesting http://mummylimited.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-going-to-be-messy.html and have a poke around her blog for her finger food friday posts - great food ideas for you to make that babies love.

    Hope some of this helps x

  6. As I tweeted, we did it with Rosemary and are doing it again with Eleanor. I would not have it any other way. Read the book (I haven't actually read the book, but did read some articles by Gill Rapley), which will explain it in much better detail.

    But... one of the main things is that they eat as much as they want/need. They increase and decrease breastfeeds to compensate (I know this from when Rosemary was ill - she would stop eating solids and have loads and loads more milk, but they do it on a smaller scale on a daily basis). I think it may (?) be more difficult to do if you did puree last time, because with puree you're (I think?) trying to make sure they get specific quantities and with BLW you often can't tell - except seeing what comes out the other end :) Eleanor started eating at about 5 months. She reached out and took the food (a carrot, I think, was the first thign) from my plate and sat on my lap for meals for about a month, then moved into the highchair.

    Yesterday (we were having a family tea party for Rosemary) she sat in her highchair for almost an hour, scoffing food. She had a cheese sandwich, loads of raspberries and strawberries, sponge cake (with cream cheese icing and strawberries) and even a little bit of chocolate cake. Then some more fruit. Then she had fried egg and mashed potato for dinner not long afterwards!

    My aunt commented that there is no way she could do BLW, because she couldn't cope with the mess and the lack of control. A friend of the family who's granddaughter was BLWed, commented on how wonderful a method it is and she wished she'd known about it one her daughter was a child (her daughter has a bunch of allergies).

    Bear in mind the mess issue, because there will be A LOT of it. We don't bother with bibs and just do a lot of washing, though we do have problems with stained clothing. We also have a dog, who really helps clear up the food that falls on the floor. You can reduce the mess by cooking non-messy foods, but I think that defeats the purpose.

    It's not just about eating, either. Eleanor's been able to pick up small things between her finger and thumb from a very early age and we think that's very much down to BLW. And it's fun to smear your face with pasta sauce or mashed potato. It's fun to explore the textures as well as the tastes, using your hands.

    So, as you can see, we love it. Somehow, though, I don't seem to have written a post about it. Which seems very strange indeed.

  7. I'm afraid we were sacrilegious and did purées and finger foods. I won't sully the name by saying it is combining BLW with purées ;-) I've read the book, and loads of the resources, but pure BLW didn't work for Moo.

    I disagree with MTJAM though that doing it this way isn't letting baby take the lead. Moo wanted the yoghurts, the puree, was hungry for food, but couldn't get enough from the finger food.

    I think you have to be guided by your baby. What does baby want? Just because they are not old enough to handle the spoon doesn't mean they don't want or need the food that's on it. Just don't force purées down them!

    But if they are happy sampling the huge range of foods you can give them with BLW and upping their milk when they are hungry, then that's great!

    I don't know if it makes a difference, but Moo was a reflux baby and couldn't really drink milk either, so needed her food. Combining purees and finger foods in this way meant she got loads of the benefits of BLW (she controlled her intake - boy did she know how to say no more - and she experienced all the textures and tastes - and mess!), but she didn't lose any more weight and she had a full tummy.

    Feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss!

  8. I loved babyled weaning, but I was lucky - Dylan had instant big love for food in any & every shape & form!
    Early on though, we did do a bit of a combo - I used to let him grab whatever he fancied off my plate during the day (within reason!) then spoon feed him a lumpy mushy dinner - but he was so quick to get into finger foods, it didn't really last long!

    As for the nutrition side - so long as B's getting plenty of milk, she'll be fine - D used to have days where he'd eat 3 ricecakes & some houmous & i'd phone my HV in a panic & she'd tell me I was daft. Even now he has super hungry days vs take it or leave it ones, but I figure it all evens out - he's happy & full of energy, so all good.

    I'd totally reccomend BLW - Dylan loved it & I didn't have to spend forever mashing & freezing icecube trays of puree - yay!

    Only downside? 'Sharing' everthing I ever try to eat is now how D rolls - which is good, as it forces me to eat a bit more healthy, but bad when you just want to sit & scoff a freaking galaxy caramel!! :P