With my first baby I spoon fed. I had never heard of baby led weaning (BLW) and so did what was recommended at the time. I lovingly made and puréed up all of his meals. They didn’t have pouches of baby food, it was all jars which other Mums turned their noses up at. I did occasionally use them though! I introduced finger foods at 7 months and he is now a brilliant eater.
Roll on 3 years and I had baby no 2. This time BLW is starting to become popular so I start him just before 6 months when he grabs my banana. Baby no2 very rarely ate with a spoon, I only helped him with his breakfast by pre loading and he would eat the same meals as his brother. He is also a good eater, the only difference between the two of them is that baby no2 is now less worried about trying new foods and likes spicier food than his big brother. This could be the BLW or it could just be his personality.
Baby no 3 has been a totally different game all together. We started weaning at 21 weeks after being told to by both the dietician and her paediatrician, due to her reflux and weight gain. We decided to do a mix, mixed weaning (I know that if you ever spoon feed then it’s not BLW) So for the sake of argument we have spoon fed and offered finger foods right from the start and it is working really well. For us it is a good compromise and her are some of the reasons why;
- If she doesn’t want her breakfast till just before the school run, I can help her with it and it is quicker.
- When we go out to eat we have to take her food with us and as it is so limited it is sometimes easier to take a pouch we know she is safe with and some snacky finger foods as we can’t always order for her at a restaurant.
- She gets very hungry and frustrated with the speed at which she can eat on her own sometimes so some meals we will start with finger food, then a bit of mashed up food and once she is happier back to the finger food.
- Some days she wants help and others she want to do it herself, we follow her lead.
- If the boys are having something that isn’t suitable for her, ie cheese based meal then she can easily have something different without me having to cook a whole separate meal for her.
- If I don’t have time for mess she has something less messy.
- With the limited diet she is on it’s nice to know that she is getting some calcium and other nutrients into her.
- A lot of the easy BLW foods she can’t have, banana, avocado for instance so her finger foods are more limited.
- She can still do what her elder brother who was BLW could at that age. She can self feed a pre loaded spoon. She has already been using the pincer grip for a few weeks and can pick up small things like raisins and get them into her mouth. She can drink from a beaker and open a closed fist of food to get to it.
- She will happily sit and eat with us for long periods of time as long as she has food to pick up and try and eat on her tray.
- She has a good mix of foods throughout the day.
There is so much pressure these days to BLW and only do it that way, the spoon is seen as a sin! I think that as long as you and your baby are happy, growing well, just do whatever fits with your family and your child. Obviously don’t wean before 17 weeks and avoid added sugar, salt and honey and all will be ok. When spoon feeding follow their lead and watch for signs they have had enough for example closed mouth and looking away. We have never had to encourage her to eat, no aeroplanes or funny noises here. If she isn’t interested in what is being offered on the spoon then we give her some finger foods instead.
How are you weaning?