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!
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).
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?