Category Archives: Baby Led Weaning (BLW)

Baby-Led Weaning guide to spoons

best blw spoon

Want to know about spoons and baby-led weaning? You’re in the right place!

I recently blogged about the use of forks as my preferred first utensil. Now, let’s talk about spoons! Spoons are generally a bad word in Baby-Led Weaning until your baby decides to pick one up and use it. So, what’s the deal with spoons?

Don’t babies start using spoons before forks?

Generally speaking, spoons are presumed to be the obvious first utensil for a baby – well, actually they are harder to use than forks. Loaded spoons usually get picked up and twisted before baby gets it to its mouth. The result? I frustrated baby who can’t quite get where that yummy lunch got to. Unless it’s something quite sticky spoons are very challenging.

Which spoon?

Baby spoons often have the same problem as any baby cutlery – they appeal to the parents vs the baby. Most are too wide for your baby to get them into their tiny hungry mouths. I find the narrower the spoon the easier they are. In all honesty, a regular teaspoon has been a massive hit.  Obviously normal spoons are too big at this stage (would be like us eating with a serving spoon).

What’s the best way to start using a spoon?

Loading the spoon up for your baby (with something sticky) is a good start. Yogurts, houmous and applesauce are all good ways to teach your baby to dip their spoon and get something into their mouth!  Patience is key. It’s time consuming but let your baby discover and master this technique.

Anything else about spoons?

Personally I try to make sure BiP eats foods that are spoon appropriate where ever possible – I try to avoid giving her a spoon when roast chicken is on the table in the same way that I don’t give her a fork to eat yogurt.  As I’ve said in the past; don’t be discouraged if your hungry baby pushed the fork aside to eat with their hands during the transition!



When to start using a fork with a baby


So, when do you start using a fork with your baby?

We are almost 8 months into our Baby-Led Weaning journey which means it’s time BiP progressed from eating almost exclusively with her hands to using cutlery. Unconventionally, I chose forks as the utensil of choice. However, finding the perfect fork was a challenge.

Which fork?

I was surprised to discover how many “baby” forks were actually the same size, if not wider than an adult fork. Obviously BiP is too small to have a regular adult fork – it would be like us eating with salad servers!

Plastic seems to be popular and readily available although I personally prefer metal. Many have very thick handles which seem hard for BiP to really grip. At the moment her favourite is the fork with the thinnest handle.

So, what’s the best way to start using a fork?

BiP has been mimicking us for a while (which means we have to really watch our table manners) so her transition to using a fork has been smooth. (I’ve been giving her a fork since she was about 9m old and coordinated enough not to take her eye out with it!) I usually load the fork for her when she first sits down for a meal and just this week she has been able to reload it herself.

Why is a fork better than a spoon?

Once there is food securely speared onto the end of the fork it is unlikely to fall off. The precision required to get the fork from the plate into their tiny mouths is a lot less than with a spoon. Spoons can be frustrating as things fall off very easily

Anything else about forks?

Once they decide they only want to use a fork be prepared for meal times to take a long time whilst this technique is mastered. Also, don’t be discouraged if your hungry baby pushed the fork aside to eat with their hands during the transition!

IKEA: A moment of self-realisation

IKEA - the emotional tests it puts you through could be a form of therapy, or torture. You decide!

It is Easter holidays in France at the moment so the 3 of us set off to IKEA to pick up some bits and bobs – as you do, we stopped by the cafe to have some lunch. I am now home and still traumatised by what I saw. I was good, really good. I didn’t say anything to anyone, I even stared at the floor so I didn’t run the risk of offending anyone with my horrified looks. As a form of therapy I have decided to share my experience and feelings in the form of a letter to the people I encountered:

1. To the father who was trying to feed his 3 year old in the play area while he stood there and cried: Your son had crapped his pants, he needed changing, not to be spoon fed some more green beans. The whole restaurant could smell it, couldn’t you? Could you eat with crap in your pants?

2. To the parent’s who’s 15m old son was crying inconsolably (and made BiP cry): Your son is hungry, give him some of those beans or fries on your plate while you wait to pay. He doesn’t want that rubber dummy/pacifier which is why he is spitting it out and crying louder.

3. To the mother who looked shocked when her 4m old baby girl started coughing whilst being fed a carrot puree: Your baby is lying down! She cannot swallow safely. She is too young to eat but if you must feed her at least keep her airways open. Can you eat lying down? I can’t.

4. To the grandmother who commented how BiP was the same age as her granddaughter yet couldn’t walk: Y0ur granddaughter is wearing shoes that are too small for her. No wonder she can’t stand. Last time I checked small feet in France weren’t considered to be anything special. Take her shoes off and let her explore.

5. To all the parents who gave us funny looks because BiP was doing her Baby-Led Weaning thing and I then breastfed her: We are obviously NOT French!


Today  was a moment of self-realisation – I thought I was a very easy going mother, each to their own and all that jazz – I am not that cool chilled out mother I thought I was. I’m ok with that. I think.


Well, they are obviously not French!

Today was a beautiful day in Provence. The sun was shining and it was a perfect spring day so we set off to the picturesque village of Roussillon, Provence which is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It truly is. We decided to stop for lunch on a lovely terrace overlooking the village. It was perfect. The sun was shining, the restaurant had a high chair for BiP and the menu was Baby-Led Weaning friendly.

DSC_3875-300x199Once we had settled in the restaurant started to fill up. BiP was enjoying being outside and then lunch arrived. She sat in her high chair and proceeded to chomp down her lunch with the same enthusiasm she always does without any interference from us. The terrace went silent.  BiP had a large strip of steak that she was chewing on which was causing quite a stir.  We were talking English so quite oblivious to attention BiP was getting until I heard someone gasp (in French) “OMG! The baby is eating steak! By herself!” I decided to not react … this was fun… I gave her an anchovy from the Salad Nicoise which she promptly popped in to her mouth and devoured “Oh she likes everything” exclaimed another diner.

At this point more people had realised what was happening, yes, my baby was feeding herself and more people started to turn and look at BiP. She didn’t care, she wanted my green beans and some potato which I put on her plate and she continued.  Then I heard “Look at that! They are obviously not French” – I smiled to myself.  After BiP finished her lunch it was time for me to feed her, breastfeed her – so I cleaned her up and proceeded to nurse her whilst I enjoyed my coffee in the sun “OMG! She is NOW having the breast” cried the diner next to me to which his partner dismissively said “Well, they are obviously NOT French!” (It’s true, we are not, but is it that obvious?)
When BiP was done it was time to get going, she wanted to walk a bit around the terrace which is when I overheard the couple, who decided we couldn’t possibly be French, debating her age – I then turned around and replied in perfect French “Elle a dix-mois et demi, presque onze mois*” … the blush and the jaw drop was priceless.

I have no idea what they would have said had they seen me ECing BiP in the forest!


* -Translation: “she is 10 and a half months old, almost 11 months”

The Baby-Lead Weaning Mindset – Have you got it?

BLW lunch out

BiP enjoying lunch out with Mummy

I know I have been talking a lot about Baby-Led Weaning recently, I guess it’s because I have become a fan/obsessed (or a bit of both)! The one thing that has struck me is that it goes beyond food and nutrition; it’s a mindset. Some mothers have said “yeah we do a bit of spoon-feeding and a bit of BLW” which in all honesty doesn’t make much sense to me.

Today I stumbled upon a post about Why you can’t do BLW by halves which highlights the fundamental differences between BABY-Led Weaning (BLW) and PARENT-Led Weaning (PLW), the latter being spoon-feeding and finger foods. One thing that rings true to me is that you can’t do both.

So, what do I mean why I say the BLW Mindset? Since I love lists here we go:

  • The BLW Mindset is about allowing your baby to have absolute control over what they eat and how they eat it. As long as you offer a varied and healthy diet that is safe and manageable for them to eat the rest is up to them.
  • It is all about trusting your baby to know what they need of certain foods and how much.  There is no measuring with BLW – how much your baby eats is up to them, always.
  • Daily nutrition should not be the concern, instead weekly nutrition is the priority. If you ensure that your baby always has healthy options it does not matter if they don’t eat a combination of meat, vegetables and carbs in one sitting.
  • BLW starts with what YOU eat – it’s about how the whole family eats – not just your baby. You can’t expect your baby to be delighted with steamed veges whilst you are devouring a Big Mac meal in front of them.  You need to rethink how YOU eat as a family.
  • BLW is based on mutual trust between you and your baby; your baby trusts you to provide healthy food and you, in turn, need to trust your baby to know what to do with it. No coaxing, “helping”, games .. etc.
  • There is no food introduction schedule in BLW unless there is a family allergy. You do not need to wait 3 days between new foods, you don’t have to wait to introduce milk/wheat/dairy/egg whites … the list is endless… basically if there no family allergy issue and your baby shows all the signs of readiness – GO FOR IT!
  • If you have a treat or a desert you should let your baby try it – it is only fair – you are enjoying something so let them join in. Denying them this makes whatever you are eating forbidden and perhaps desirable in the future but can cause distrust between you and your baby – why is mummy letting me have everything but not that? The BLW Mindset includes the whole family – just make sure you don’t do it everyday!

So, that’s what I feel about the BLW Mindset. Have you go it?


My 10 (straight up) Tips on Starting Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

Since I’ve become part of the great new Baby-Led Weaning site I’ve been asked about tips on how to start Baby-Led Weaning so I thought I’d give my top 10 tips. As, what I would call, a hardcore BLW fan I hope you find these tips helpful! (WARNING: This post is straight up, I am not sugar coating anything because sugar is bad for you!)

1. Buy Gill Rapley’s book “Baby-Led Weaning– I have not been asked to promote this book but it is the best way to get started. Read it, read it again, keep it by your bed, in the bathroom, keep it where ever you do your reading!)

2. Start following the Baby-Led Weaning Blog – a new site with lots of different mothers posting about their BLW journey – see the mess, the reactions, the smiles and some more of the mess BLW entails!

Octopus Pasta BLW

BiP enjoying Octopus with rice pasta and roasted vegetables at 10months old

3. Trust your instinct – a lot of mothers cave in to baby foods because they fall prey to marketing and advice from others who believe its the only way to go. It is not. Do you eat out of a jar? If you do, then BLW is not for you.

4. Make sure your baby is READY to start BLW – your baby cannot sit upright, gags or cannot put food into its own mouth then your baby is NOT ready for solids. When was the last time you ate lying down?

5. The average age for “readiness” for solids is 6 months – OK, so we all think our baby is advanced and is a prodigy in making but when it comes the internal physical development they are all pretty much at the same age regardless of size. As the mother of a “big” baby I was told at 5 months that BiP needed more than just breast milk – luckily I knew better. This is not true, regardless of the new study published in the British Medical Journal.  Waiting until your baby is 6 months old means that most babies can eat ANYTHING, there is no need to delay the introduction of any food unless their is a family allergy. BLW expels the myth that babies need to wait 3 days between the introduction of each food (Seriously? That would take a lifetime to get everything covered).

BLW Salad Nicoise

BiP trying Salad Nicoise for the first time

6. Treat your baby as a person, not a thing or a pet – so many fail to treat their babies as the little people that they are. Many of us are guilty of making foods for our babies that we think they should have vs. what they should really have. Look at what you are eating and, provided it is unprocessed, salt and sugar free, let them try it.

7. Rethink the way YOU eat – if you want to BLW your baby you need to make sure that you, as a family, set an example. Ranging from table manners to the quality of the food on your plate. If your idea of a balanced meal is a Fried Chicken Family Bucket with coleslaw (that’s veg right?) or a microwave meal (but its says its a health food) then maybe you are better off giving baby food to your baby.  Your baby, will in time, check what is on your plate. When she sees you are eating something different it will arouse suspicion and create confusion. Oh and just in case you didn’t realise, that stuff is bad for you.

8. Be prepared for the mess – an important part of BLW is to allow your baby to put food into their mouths themselves. Now, I know that your baby is probably very advanced but even the most amazing babies WILL and I repeat, WILL drop food. A LOT of it.  They will smear it across their high chair, over their faces … absolutely EVERYWHERE … do not, ever, never ever, tell them off for this at the beginning, they are learning. There will be a whole lot of misses before there are hits! Go with it! Stock up on clothes and antibacterial wipes and consider getting a dog if you haven’t already got one. Oh and if you have beige suede chairs and a lovely cream carpet maybe you should feed your baby in the garden, garage or bathroom!

9. Be PATIENT – firstly, we all eat too fast. Your baby probably doesn’t have any teeth (not that it makes any difference) so will take a lot longer to devour that steak and roast vegetables. Allow your baby to take their time. They will make a mess but I promise, in time, they will become more efficient and tidier when it comes to meal times.

10. Keep your camera on hand – BLW is adorable – it’s fun, it’s messy and sometimes downright HILARIOUS especially when your little one has an octopus tentacle hanging out of its mouth or rice in its hair. Take photo’s, LOTS of them! Share them and rejoice in the reactions such as “Oh wow, I can’t believe you baby eats THAT!”

So, now that we got that covered, what are your BLW tips?

Baby Led Weaning in France

“Hmm… that’s not very French!” is what I hear whenever someone asks me about the way BabyinProvence eats. We are doing Baby Led Weaning as our preferred method of introducing solids and I have received countless raised eyebrows and dismissive comments!

SO what’s it all about? Baby Led Weaning (or BLW as it is often referred to) is the gradual weaning from breast milk or formula to solids. There are no purées and spoons involved.

The BLW Bible ... every parent should read this!

From around 6 months, when your baby can sit up unassisted you start by offering the same food you are eating (provided it is fresh, salt free and unprocessed). You allow your baby to choose what they are eating by offering a balanced diet and allowing them to feed themselves. The method is fun, at times messy, but amazingly, allowing your baby to take control of their dietary needs results in healthy and enjoyable mealtimes. As a parent you think more carefully about what you put on your plate and in turn, the whole family starts eating a healthier, more balanced diet
More information on BLW can be found here

Now that we have that covered, BLW was my choice for BabyinProvence’s weaning to solids, a decision that was met with quite strong reactions as I have mentioned. My paediatrician was keen for us to start on a traditional method of purees and stages, all of which contradict the BLW ethos. Eating out was fun for us all yet many stared at BabyinProvence in shock at how a 6 month old baby with no teeth was able to gum a steak and enjoy every bit! Yes its messy but it is also fascinating – it blows the food pyramid you see in every doctor and nutritionists office out of the water! BabyinProvence has days when all she wants is protein and other days she binges on carbs – these binges usually correspond to what she needs versus what she wants. I have yet to meet a single person in France who has heard of BLW which led me research this further, and in turn become a bit obsessed with the whole thing.

How do I get started with BLW my baby?
Firstly, I suggest buying the book Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

How do I describe this to my French friends and family?
A good description in French is here although the translation is lacking it does give the vocab needed to explain your stance

I have yet to have found any support in France for BLW but that has not deterred me. BabyinProvence enjoys her food and has sampled more foods than many adults I know!

If you have any questions about BLW please do not hesitate to ask me … I promise to reply!

Bon Appétit!