Baby Led Weaning Tips You and Your Baby Need
It’s 2019 and Baby Led Weaning is as on trend in the new mum circles as breastfeeding. But, before I had my son, I’d never even heard of it. To be honest, in the vast preparations for motherhood, weaning didn’t even cross my mind. And, why should it? You don’t start the process til babe is 6 months. But, by that logic, I didn’t need to consider nursery furniture til 6 months and I still panic bought a solid oak, set in my third trimester! I wish “baby led weaning tips” had been in my list of parenting search terms.
If you’ve read my post natal anxiety blog, you can imagine how the thought of baby led weaning will have sent my heart rate rocketing. Choke hazards, the stress of not knowing what to do and the mess it would create were stressful thoughts. But, we jumped in with both feet and are learning a lot along the way.
My Baby Led Weaning Tips
1. Book Yourself Onto An Infant First Aid Course
There is no evidence to suggest that baby led weaning has a higher risk of choking than spoon led weaning. The best peace of mind for any parent weaning their child, is to know what to do if they’re ever in the scary position that their child is. There are plenty of courses available, to educate you on this.
2. Dresscode is a Nappy and a Bib
Think your kid will be a clean eater? Think you’ll manage to feed them only dry, beige foods? Stop dreaming! Your baby is going to ruin any item of clothing you let them eat in. So, for your own sanity and bank balance, avoid letting them eat in clothes.
3. A Plastic Matt Underneath Your Highchair
Every meal time will be followed by a sweep of the floor. Make your life easier and have a wipeable matt underneath your baby’s high chair to protect your floor and collect the chaos. A basic, plastic sheet will do.
4. Don’t Live In Panic Mode
Your baby will gag, and you will freak out. But, keep it contained and don’t stress them out too. Gagging is a normal part of baby led weaning as baby’s are small and their gag reflex is pretty close to their mouth. Baby will learn from your reaction so if you panic, they’ll panic. More often than not they’ll gag, spit out what they don’t want, then carry on eating.
5. Start With Soft Foods First
Remember, before now your baby has only ever had milk. They need to learn to change from the suck-swallow feeding reflex to the chew-swallow. Ease them in with soft foods like cooked vegetables, ripe fruit, flaky fish and pasta.
6. Fruit as a Starter Buys You Prep Time
Once baby is in their chair and ready for meal time, it can be a race against the clock for dinner to be served. Giving baby some fruit to hold their attention and keep their hands and mouth occupied will buy you time to prepare the main course.
7. Toast Loaded with Anything
Toast becomes your friend. We went from having one loaf of bread in the freezer which lasted us a month, to one loaf every week. Toast can be cut into fingers and spread with Vitalite (our baby is dairy free), hummus, avocado, soft boiled eggs, anything!
8. Use Pastes not Sauces
We discovered the Baby Led Food range of sweet and savoury pastes which we were so thankful for at the start of our baby led weaning journey. It won’t take you long to know that a paste, which coats the food creates far less mess for you to clean than a runny sauce.
9. Baby Pouches Make Easy Flavouring
Feeding baby from a pouch isn’t really the done thing for any baby led weaners, but that doesn’t mean these pre-prepared pastes can’t still make your life easier. They’re just the right consistency to add flavour and calories to pasta, veggies and anything else you serve to your baby, without ending up splattered all over your floor and walls.
10. Pre Load Baby’s Spoon
It will seem a million miles off when you start your baby led weaning journey, but at some point you need to introduce utensils for baby to practice with. Pre loading spoons with small amounts of food will help baby learn. Load up, hand over, stand back!
11. Don’t Calorie Count
Some days you’ll feel like your baby has eaten more than you, some days you’ll look at the mess on the floor and doubt they’ve eaten a thing. Keep offering your baby food at regular meal times and keep them well hydrated. They’re still exploring their appetites and what they like.