Disclosure: We were sent the featured products for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.
When we had LP we decided that Baby Led Weaning was the right route for us and thankfully when we chose to start baby weaning LP loved it too, it clicked and worked and we haven’t looked back. In hindsight though I was very much a BLW purist when we started weaning her onto solid foods – I followed the baby led weaning book to a tee, everything was home made and I scrutinised everything for the minutest traces of salt. I wouldn’t say it was bad to be that way but looking back there is no way that I can do things the same way now I have two children.
LP is now 28 month old and eats everything – she tries everything and her meals are a smaller version of ours but we give her the same things. She eats a healthy, balanced diet but she also has some junkier foods – biscuits, crisps, occasional chocolate. It’s because of LP’s varied diet that I doubt we will be able to be as ‘pure’ with BLW with Little Man as we were with LP.
Little Man started weaning 2 months ago and is now 8 months old. He has taken to it like a fish in water and he loves food. We are still only giving him bits and pieces of food to play with and experiment with but a surprising amount gets eaten. We are at the point where LM will sit with us twice a day as a family and eat and it’s a nice little feeding routine for him.
Organix recently sent us a selection of finger foods to try with Little Man and we’ve added these into his routine. If we’re out and about it’s easy for Little Man to snack on Organix Rice Cakes or Carrot Sticks – he has a couple at a time and we save the rest for another snacking session – although it would be great if the packets were resealable. Little Man’s favourites are the Organix Sweetcorn Rings – I think because he’d drop them and they’d catch on his fingers – they made eating easy for him! Generally we’ve found that shop bought finger foods are great when we’re out of the house and it stops me having to rely on ‘boring’ breadsticks and plain rice cakes – Little Man gets a lot of different flavours and a lot of variety from the shop bought products that I just can’t provide when we’re out of the house making things from scratch.
At home Little Man still mainly has finger foods – sticks of toast or rice cakes with various things spread on them, sandwich fingers – squished together slightly to help him hold them, veg sticks, slices of ham and bits of cheese. On top of this we’ll give him bits of what we’re eating if it’s suitable for him – penne pasta, chunks of meat, steamed vegetables. I’m still very much focused on things that Little Man can hold easily and he is still only 8 months old. In a couple of months when his pincer grip has improved we’ll start giving him smaller versions of our meals but for now he’s happy eating the finger foods – Straight from the highchair tray too!
I have already started to introduce the idea of ‘courses’ to Little Man as with each meal he’ll have fruit afterwards or we’ll give him fruit puree on a spoon – we hand him the loaded spoon and he’ll start feeding himself it – this has really improved his co-ordination and he absolutely loves the varieties we’ve tried so far! When we started weaning I said that I would never puree anything especially for weaning and I’ve still stuck to that – if we have fresh fruit then LP and LM can have it as it is but when you have a new baby every single baby food manufacturer sends you money off vouchers and I used these to stock up on pouches of fruit puree. I looked at the jars and was surprised by the number of additives and ‘bulk’ in them – fruit compote that was hugely baby rice?! So I’ve stuck to the 100% fruit purees and LM loves them! Each pouch will last 2 days after each meal and he really can’t get enough – There’s definitely a place in BLW for fruit pouches! Little Man loves yogurt too and we offer him yogurts instead of the fruit puree every so often.
I have always made smaller portions of our meals for LP and frozen them so that if there are times when LP eats without us eating at the same time there’s something appropriate and healthy for her to eat – It makes my life easier having things that are already made rather than having to cook from scratch purely for LP. I can see that there will be times going forward where shop bought toddler meals may be useful, especially when I’ll have two ‘toddlers’ to cater for!
There’s definitely a place in a BLW lifestyle for shop bought baby food. You can be how I was first time around – a BLW purist, only giving your baby homemade things but you can also use shop bought products to not only make your life easier but to give your baby a bit more variety for situations where you couldn’t compete – I can’t provide strawberry flavour rice cakes myself and Little Man can’t eat a fruit puree whilst in the pushchair going around town. He can eat an Organix Rice Cake though!
Sometimes when parenting we have to give ourselves a break and I think for me, shop bought fruit pouches and finger foods is a welcome break. It’s also good to remember that food is fun until they’re one and before that they get all the nutrients they need from the breast milk or bottles of formula milk they are getting.
To read more Baby Led Weaning posts including guest posts from other Baby Led Weaning parents please look at my Baby Led Weaning page!