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Baby Led Weaning Diary – Age: 25 weeks, 6 days

Posted on: 28th March 2013

Posted in: Baby Led Weaning Diary

Back to basics… I have come to the realisation that I have not been doing ‘official’ baby led weaning, as I have been helping Meadow put foods into her mouth as she gets frustrated with not being able to do this herself. My ‘worried mother’ hat has come out of the closet, instead of my ‘professional advice’ hat – which at times is a good thing, but I don’t think this has helped her this week. I have not changed her breastfeeding times, and have not ‘forced’ her to have ‘just one more bite’, but the simple fact that I have been helping her feed is against the fundamental principles of baby led weaning.

For me, this week has really been about re-visiting the principles of baby led weaning, and making a conscious effort to stick to them and not be tempted to ‘help’. I list the essential principles of baby led weaning below:

  • Breast or formula milk is the baby’s main source of nutrition (until 12 months)
  • Avoid offering finger foods to a hungry baby (offer milk first) or a tired baby. Meal times should be happy and fun
  • Place pieces of food within the baby’s easy reach – pieces that are a little longer than their fist, so they can have a ‘handle’ on the food. Something like steamed broccoli is great, as the stem is the natural ‘handle’
  • The focus is around letting the baby explore the food and play with it -exploring how it feels and smells, as well as how it tastes (it is not about hunger in the early stages of weaning – this comes later)
  • Offer the baby something to eat every time you eat – there are no ‘set’ meal times – it’s all about what fits in with the family, and seeing the meal time as a social and learning experience. Babies learn by copying their parents and siblings, so let them join in with the meal experience!
  • It is safer for the baby to feed themselves – they are less likely to gag/choke. Avoid putting food in the baby’s mouth
  • Be prepared for mess… and lots of it! We have laminate flooring and a completely wipe-clean highchair with no nooks or crannies, so this is not a big issue for us (but it is time consuming clearing up!). At first, everything gets thrown on the floor, so by prepared with extra food to put on their tray
  • Allow enough time to eat – meal times can’t be rushed with baby led weaning. However you will save time with food preparation, as the baby will eat what you eat, and isn’t have something separate

New foods this week have included tinned pineapple (in natural juice, drained) and butternut squash (boiled). As she is now officially 6 months, I have also offered her toast fingers, clementine pieces and slow-cooked pork strips today! The world is now her oyster with regards to food as there is not much she cannot have. Although she has not really swallowed that much solid food this week, she is certainly enjoying the meal time experience and playing with / handling her food. I am now letting her get on it herself, and am not putting any food in/near her mouth. She can learn to do that herself as the days and weeks go on. I need to learn to trust her to do it!

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