I know I’ve only been posting recipes until now but I’ve always talked a bit about my life. I’d like to start writing more about things that may be of interest to my followers and are certainly of interest to me. Which brings me to Baby Led Weaning.
If you are reading this you are probably new to Baby Led Weaning, also known as BLW. Baby led weaning is defined as when a “Child self-feeds bits of ‘cutted up’ food from 6 months, as per the World Health Organisation guidelines,” as defined by www.babyledweaning.com. I stongly encourage you to go to their website to learn more about BLW if this post is of any interest to you. Basically you allow children to feed themselves (from 6 months old) and you offer them a whole variety of foods and not just jarred baby food. This is a growing movement in the US and UK even though it is considered quite drastic by some. But before companies made beautifully convenient jars and pounches of food what do people think babies were eating?! I personally believe this is a healthier and more natural approach for my family. We also use pureed baby food along with a wealth of other foods from chicken to avocado to sweet potatoes. This is why I chose to follow the BLW method…
My daughter was gagging to the point of vomiting every time I tried to give her baby food with any texture. We were trying Stage 2 purees that have texture but are smooth and she was vomiting every time. Then I had a picnic with a friend who had been doing BLW and I watched her 6 month old son eat all the meat off a chicken drumstick then eat some roasted sweet potato wedges and half of a plum. You could have picked my jaw up off the floor. I don’t know if I’d give Layla a drumstick, I get nervous about the bones, but I didn’t even think she was capable of eating meat that way. But it was incredible to see how much control little Rufus had. I was in awe and couldn’t wait to get Layla started.
Watching Rufus have his lunch in the park opened my eyes to several different foods I wouldn’t have thought a baby could handle but obviously could, such as plums with skin and large pieces of meat. But babies of this age need large chunks of food that can fit in their fists with a bit sticking out where their thumbs are. A piece of chicken is perfect for this. Later on when they are closer to 9 months old it is better to cut pieces smaller as they master their pincer movement.
So when talking to another friend about BLW we began swapping ideas about what kinds of foods we were feeding our babies. She noted that she is running out of ideas. I had been looking online and found a few blogs through Pinterest but there isn’t that much out there. She suggested I do a blog post about some meal suggestions for BLW and thus this post began. I’ll try to post more ideas and recipes as I use them. **SUGGESTIONS & QUESTIONS ARE WELCOME. JUST COMMENT BELOW PLEASE.**
These are my own personal ideas about BLW:
- I sometimes will put a spoon in my daughter’s mouth to get her going with food. Some people won’t put anything in their children’s mouths with BLW. I’m not that strict.
- I sometimes will run food along her lip to reminder her that she likes the flavor and get her started eating. But I don’t shove food into her mouth.
- She loves to watch me eat something so she can copy what I do. So I try to eat with her and often the same foods.
- I will usually not spend more than 15 minutes preparing her food. If it takes longer and then she doesn’t eat it I’ve wasted too much of my precious time.
- Usually I just slightly tailor a bit of our dinner (no salt or wine in the cooking) for her to have. It’s great to be able to eat the same thing as your baby. She watches me eat and just wants to mimic me.
- We still use pureed baby food. I like to mix fruity purees into her rice cereal. But 95% of the time I dip the spoon and she then takes the spoon and feed herself.
- I try to use organic food when I can.
- I usually stick to rice cereal and fruit for breakfast, something savory with a fruity treat for lunch and the same again for dinner. At the moment she has 5 bottles a day but only 3 meals. Maybe a snack during one. But no food for the last bottle at night.
- Try not to use salt. You can add flavor through other herbs and spices such as cinnamon.
- Most BLW advocates will tell you it is messy. It is. That at first not much food goes in. It doesn’t. That the baby will gag at times but it’s part of learning. It is. The baby will suddenly get it and be a champion eater. They will. It took Layla 3 weeks or so.
Okay so here are some meals my Laylabug has been enjoying:
- Rice cereal mixed with applesauce (see recipe below) or fruit puree
- A few raspberries
- Half a banana
- Wholemeal toast with a light spreading of unsalted butter or olive oil spread
- Half of a nectarine, peach or plum. She just sucks all the pulp off the skin and leaves most of the skin behind
- Mini pizzas – Wholemeal bread spread with spaghetti sauce and a bit of shredded cheese. Microwave for 10 seconds. Serve when cool to touch.
- Carrot sticks boiled in chicken stock, usually served cold. Great for teething.
- Small piece of carved ham, tomato wedges and bread
- Avocado wedge and organic hummus
- Spinach and Arugula (Rocket) Soup and wholewheat bread
- Rice cakes
- Carrots with cinnamon
- Wholewheat pasta and tomato sauce (I use spiral shaped pasta as it is chunky enough for her to grab)
- Roasted chicken and vegetables (usually a boiled carrot)
- Mashed up meatballs
- Baked apple and pear slices
- Mashed potatoes
- Beans on toast (so British!)
- Homemade Apple & Pear Sauce (recipe below)
- Fish sticks (or Fish Fingers if you are British…hehe. Fish don’t have fingers!)
Apple and Pear Sauce
If you only have apples, just use apples. If you only have pears, just use pears. Use as many or as little as you like, there are no real measurements for this recipe. Great for fruit that needs to be used up.
Apples & pears – peeled, cored and cut into uniform chunks (make sure they aren’t too tart as you won’t add sugar to this)
1. Peel, core and cut your apples and pears into chunks.
2. Put your fruit chunks into a saucepan, add a little bit of cinnamon and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1-2 cm.
3. Cover and put on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the fruit is quite soft and tender all the way through. Checking occasionally to stir and make sure there is still enough water in the pan, add more if needed.
4. Allow the fruit to cool for 20 minutes or so. Place the fruit in a blender and blend it up. You may need to slowly add a bit of water to get it going. Conversely, you may have to remove some of the water BEFORE blending (keep it on the side as you can always add it back) if you suspect your sauce will be too runny.
5. Pour into an air tight container and keep in the fridge. Serve to your baby mixed into cereal or on its own. Enjoy!