The latest Baby Led Weaning post comes from MummyGadgetGeek who followed completely different weaning paths with her two children. I wonder what route the third will take?!
I’m busy stuffing my face with a crumpet.
Usually, I wouldn’t give any consideration to how. (apart from making sure that I avoid dropping jam on the computer keyboard. I’ve learnt from experience that jam and keyboards is a bad combination).
But right now, I’m thinking about weaning. Not for myself – I have it on good authority that my mother completed that task some 32 years ago and I’d say the crumpet stuffing is good evidence she succeeded – but the way in which it was done for the Wee Man and Bubby D, and how I might go about it later this year (eek!) for Pippin.
It might seem crazy. But once, I didn’t know how to eat a crumpet!
Wee Man sometimes eats crumpets. Bubby D refuses. That’s not because she doesn’t know how to, it’s because she really doesn’t like things of the bready breakfast variety. Toast = no; muffins = no; bagels, crumpets, croissants, even pain au chocolat…NO. But give her a giant bowl of weetabix and she’ll be straight in there. And she’ll eat four more afterwards too, given the chance!
I guess my point is – everyone learns to eat eventually, so does it really matter how you get there?
Well I reckon it does. And I also reckon that baby led weaning is the way to go, both in terms of the outcomes for the little one as well as the sanity of the parents!
With the Wee Man, we went the purees route. The health visitor advised weaning at 17 weeks, we followed advice, and Wee Man was soon happily waving a squashed-carrot covered spoon around, with a bit going in his mouth and the majority plastering his face, the floor and my top. I spent hours peeling, steaming, mixing and mashing; filling the freezer with tiny little portions of nutritionally balanced meals. Sometimes he’d eat really well, and sometimes, I’d be left with a barely touched plate of mushy stuff and I’d wonder why I’d bothered going to all that effort in the first place.
When he was nine months old, we visited a friend who plonked a plate of omelette, green beans and chopped tomatoes in front of her nine month old, and he scoffed the lot.
Since we were also eating omelette, green beans and chopped tomatoes I did stop and think that actually that looked a lot easier!
Then I started my training as a breastfeeding counsellor, and I read Gabrielle Palmer’s book ‘Complementary Feeding: Nutrition, Culture and Politics’ which was a bit of an eye opener. It’s not so much about the method of feeding, but more looking at why we feed babies the way we do – and it really got me thinking about what I’d do, given an informed choice rather than just being told what to do by a health visitor, the next time round.
So Bubby D arrived. And six months later, she grabbed a sauteed courgette ring off my plate and started chewing on it.
Possibly not the first meal I would have chosen for her, had I planned it myself! But she was happy, so we just went with it and let her eat whatever we were eating from that point. (well, mostly, anyway). I had decided we’d try baby led weaning in any case, and she took the initiative and went down that route herself before I actually got round to it. Turns out that when you have a toddler in tow, baby led weaning is a good option in that respect as well – the Wee Man did love being ‘helpful’ and handing things to Bubby D to chew on. Mostly, if I was lucky, of the edible variety.
With a family of four to make meals for, baby led weaning was a much less time consuming and far more rewarding option. I realised that pretty much all of the meals that I was making were either suitable or could be adapted fairly easily so that everyone could eat them – it cut down drastically on my preparation time and Bubby D seemed very happy to be eating the same things that everyone else was too. Even the Wee Man started eating noticeably better!
There were some messy moments – because I’d never fed Bubby D with a spoon she was very reluctant to accept that anyone other than herself might put one near her mouth, and so we did have a lot of porridge and yoghurt smeared about the place for a while. And when she started nursery at 10 months, they were a little bit alarmed when I told them that she fed herself and I’d be much obliged if they could allow her to continue doing so! Luckily, they agreed to the idea and when I picked her up after her first full day they couldn’t stop exclaiming over how extraordinary it was to see a tiny baby (Bubby D is quite small for her age) shovelling food into her own mouth with great gusto.
While it did take longer for her to start eating three full meals a day than it had when we followed the purees route for the Wee Man – and sometimes I had a bit of a wobble and thought perhaps it wasn’t ‘working’ – in the end I’m very glad that we stuck with baby led weaning. With two kids at very different developmental stages to care for, the decrease in effort involved is definitely worth it, and the end result of Bubby D being a cheerful little foodie who is happy to eat a range of textures and flavours is a big bonus too (even though she doesn’t like crumpets – it just means there are more for me!).
Thanks MummyGadgetGeek for this great guest post – If there’s crumpets going spare send some my way.