Baby Led Weaning is loved by many parents as the easy way to feed their kids, other parents find it tricky to think of ideas for baby led weaning meals that the whole family can eat. As the mum of two kids I feel like I’ve tried every approach to finding out the best way to encourage my kids to eat healthy food. My eldest (my son) tried homemade purees, shop bought purees, finger foods and a bit of baby led weaning. He wasn’t too fussed by anything. My daughter refused to go anywhere near a spoon and so baby led weaning was the only option. From my experience there are pros and cons to both ways of feeding your babies so I thought I would put together what I learnt on my baby feeding journey!
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What You'll Find on This Page
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Put simply, baby led weaning is letting your baby decide what to eat. Babies that are purely Baby Led Weaned aren’t fed purees at all but instead given a selection of foods and left to choose what they want to eat. Nothing is forced and it’s up to the child to pick it up and try it. It’s recommended that you wait until your child is six months old before you start feeding them either solid foods or purees, you also need to be wary of the salt content in food as salt can be very damaging for babies and young children.
What are the benefits of Baby Led Weaning?
You don’t have to buy purees. I loved some of the purees I bought for my son but wow does that add up quickly! Yes obviously you still have to feed your child but at least it’s just a bit of your food rather than a whole new expense.
You don’t have to make purees either. With my first born I found making purees wasn’t too awful, pealing and chopping sweet potatoes and the likes, steaming and pureeing. Washing up the mixer. Second child? Serious sleep deprivation time. Frankly anything that cut down on my workload was appreciated.
You can all eat together. I love this. All parents at sometime have to do that one handed eating thing when dinner is ready and their newborn suddenly needs a feed. If you all eat together and you’re feeding purees, you’re going to have one hand feeding that baby a puree. Doing baby led weaning? You get to eat using both your hands! Win!
What are the downsides of Baby Led Weaning?
I’m not going to lie to you, this stuff is messy. Very messy. With my first child we still had a cream carpet under our dining table (choices only people with no kids make). By our second child we made sure we had woodern flooring instead. Even with that cleaning up afterwards is still a chore, I’ve spent more time cleaning food out of hair and ears, scraping it off the floor and wiping it off the doors than I care to think of. If you’re going to do Baby Led Weaning be prepaired! I love these bibs and mats like these for under the highchair are a great idea too.
Running out of ideas. My daughter didn’t grow a tooth until she was nearly one and some things (hello carrots!) are impossible like that. You can check out my 40+ foods kids can eat before they get teeth if you get stuck!
Your child might not eat much. It’s likely that not as much food will be eaten as if you were feeding them purees, so it’s worth remembering the saying ‘food before one is just for fun’. Some days mealtime does seem more like messy play than anything actually being consumed. In my experience, some food has pretty much always been taken on board though and as my daughter has settled on the 91st quartile I’ve not exactly ever worried that she wasn’t getting enough!
You have to eat healthily as a family. Ok, I know that’s a benefit too, but honestly? Some days I’m knackered and I just want a takeaway for dinner. Finding something suitable for a six month old on a takeaway menu is going to be challenging so you may find yourself having to having to make something additional for your kid.
Not everywhere you eat out will be as baby led weaning friendly as you’d like. In theory your baby can eat anything, but often the options in cafes aren’t as great as you’d like. We’ve relied quite heavily on toasted teacakes at times. Likewise, we’ve also been out to a restaurant and had the manager come over to tell us off for feeding our daughter their food! That went as well as you’d imagine!!
Is Baby Led Weaning Right For Your Family?
Ultimately as the parent only you can tell this, or more importantly you’ll probably find that your baby will decide for you! At the moment my son (4) who ate purees is a really fussy eater while my BLW daughter at 18 months eats anything and everything. What they’ll be like in another year though is anyones guess and like most things to do with parenting, I find it best not to say never about anything!
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