I thought as Nathanael is now well established into eating and we have chosen to wean him onto food using the baby led option it might be a good idea if I shared what worked for us. To stop me writing a treaty on the subject I am keeping it to ten points! A good source of everything baby led can be found here.
1. Stay Calm – Similar to everything baby related whether that is getting them to sleep or breastfeeding staying calm is key. It is unnerving when they reach for that first bite of food but remember this is your child progressing to the next stage of development. If you are grimacing and looking nervous this will likely set your child on edge. In the early stages it was much better if I left the room while Luke was there when Nate was eating, he is way more laid back than me and much calmer.
2. Start Slow – Yes this is baby led weaning and the aim is to get them to eat full family meals with you, but this isn’t going to happen in a day. A piece of broccoli, a piece of apricot is a success it’s something your baby couldn’t do before. I would suggest the easiest meal to start off with is something around lunch say 11am, after morning feeds and before a nap. If your child misses a meal be that breakfast, lunch or dinner that is ok. Food is Fun before One. You are building them up to three meals.
3. Be Persistent – This covers a whole host of issues that may arise, your baby may not be interested in a particular fruit or vegetable, they are discovering the world of preferences however it takes over 30 times of trying a particular thing before you can say they don’t like it. Perhaps your baby isn’t interested in food that day, this is completely normal around 6 months they can be teething, going through a wonder week or simply not bothered that day – this is not a sign of baby led weaning not working.
4. Quality not Quantity – In the early days there are learning the action of how to chew, if they chew and then spit it out this is still progress that couldn’t do that at 5 months.
5. Wedge Shape – Think everything wedge – apricots in quarters, the same with plums so your baby can get their fingers around the item for a secure grip. Anything to small or too big they will simply get frustrated at dropping the item too many times and will give up.
6. Remember Sugar and Salt Content – Your baby needs less than 1g of sugar and salt a day take a look at those convenience packets and you will be amazed. If I was PM I would ban them!
7. There will be mess but you can minimize it – Time again I hear the reason for not baby led weaning is the mess, you can minimize this – a shower curtain on the floor under your babies high chair will save you cleaning floors multiple times a day.
8. White Body Suits – Your child is going to be covered in food, I am being honest its just going to happen. We bought some white body suits that he can hammer to pieces, we simply soak in Napisan and it saves ruining his nice clothes.
9. Tommee Tippee Roll and Go Bib – This bib catches pretty much everything Nate drops and if that doesn’t his shower curtain does. Nathanael has also learnt something Luke and I call “search and rescue” after no more food arrives on his tray, Nate digs into the bib and picks up what he has lost, perfect!
10. Doidy Cup – These cups are amazing, especially if your baby is breastfed and never uses a bottle. Nathanael can see what he is drinking and its edge to prevent his throwing water over himself.
* An added point – Don’t compare your baby to others, it’s so easy to say one way is better than another we are all trying our best for our children. Some babies take to food like a duck to water, for others the world of food may seem a shock. Keep going your doing a great job!