Baby-led Weaning

A couple of days before Oliver turned 6 months we started to wean him.  NHS guidance is to start weaning around 6 months, as waiting this long gives the digestive system time to develop fully in preparation for food, adding to this having breast milk alone for 6 months protects your baby against infections.  They advise that you start weaning when your baby shows signs of readiness: being able to sit up, coordinating their hands, eyes and mouth and finally being able to swallow food.  Oliver had been able to do the first two for a couple of weeks, so the next step was to test him with food!

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Baby led weaning involves giving your baby food as you or I would eat it, no blending, mushing or making it easier to swallow.  When I was weaned the guidelines were 3 months, and obviously giving a baby of that age a chunk of food would never have worked, they would probably have looked at you like you had gone mad!  We chose to do baby led weaning, as nowadays babies wait longer to start eating, meaning there isn’t really the need for purees.  I think most people use purees nowadays because they are afraid that their baby will choke on a piece of food, not because their babies actually need their food pureed (unless they have been advised to wean early on medical grounds).  Oliver has no teeth yet, but he happily bites chunks off with his gums and loves picking the food up and squishing it in his hands.  Baby led weaning is more of an exploration journey, they learn the textures and tastes of foods, rather than everything being blended to the same consistency and having multiple flavours in one.  Babies don’t actually ‘need’ food until they are 1, so why not give them those 6 months to explore all the tastes and textures of different foods!

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Oliver frequently gags on his food, he’s slowly learning to swallow the lumps, but he usually ends up with such great chunks of food in his mouth, there’s no wonder he gags!  He has tried lots of different foods, but his favourites so far have been; cucumber, avocado, strawberry, raspberry, apricot, banana and peppers.  It’s so funny watching him trying to grip the slippery foods, he chases them around the highchair tray until he can pick them up.  We have been using the Gill Rapley Baby Led Weaning cookbook for meals, and it has some great recipes in it, they all have tasted great, and we have all enjoyed them as a family.  Oliver really loves water too.  We bought him a Munchkin 360 cup originally but he just chewed the edge so I think we will try him in a month or so again with that, so we are currently using the Tommee Tippee first cup.  He can hold on to the handles, but unless it is filled to the brim he doesn’t get much out himself, so we do give him a hand with drinking, to help teach him that he needs to tip his head back.

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Strawberries, his fav!

We have the Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair, which we bought from one of my mums colleagues, we absolutely love it and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a highchair!  My sister made a cover for it out of oil cloth, so the cover wipes down really easily as well as the rest of the chair.  It’s a good highchair for baby led weaning because you can push it right up to the table if you want to, we currently use the tray attachment, as our table has crevices around the edge of it, which would inevitably end up filled with food!

I would highly recommend baby led weaning to anyone starting their weaning journey, it’s great fun and there’s no need to be scared.  Of course it is messy, lots of food ends up on the floor and on their clothes (even when you try and cover them up) but it is all in good fun.  If Oliver doesn’t want it in his mouth he just blows raspberries or sticks his tongue out until the food makes its own way out!

Has anyone else had any good experiences with BLW?

Mummy Miller x

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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18 thoughts on “Baby-led Weaning

  1. humanisthousewife says:

    We started with purees as we hadn’t heard of baby led weaning, but once I discovered we decided to do a mix of puree and finger foods which is working well for us. We are phasing out puree now, but do have a few pots on hand for the odd meal. I agree it’s fun to watch baby exploring the different textures!

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    • thelifeofmummymiller says:

      I don’t know if many people have heard of it, I only knew about it because I know people who have done it and our health visitors told us a little about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emma says:

    I have done it with my youngest two, Alex who’s 9 was weaned the old way and she’s a very gusset eater, my two year old is a much better eater and my 8 month old is loving it too, he just has a bit of everything and anything. He too gags but that’s how they learn. It’s a natural reflex, my sister won’t feed him anything when she has him, she just Can’t believe how he eats X

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelifeofmummymiller says:

      Oliver gags on everything and pretty much 95% of what goes in comes straight back out! On the odd occasion I have tried to give him a taste of something I have on my spoon he gets really annoyed that he’s not doing it himself 😂

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  3. Upside Mum says:

    I started giving my baby bigger chinks of food and allowing her to explore but she either didn’t eat it or choked so I used purée for a few weeks before trying again and it worked a little better second time. She’s a good eater and enjoys lots of different flavours which is great! #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelifeofmummymiller says:

      I can imagine, Oliver doesn’t eat much at all, and usually only swallows food because he washes it down with water 🙈 sometimes they just aren’t quite ready straight away and need a little encouragement 🙂 it’s whatever works for your baby!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jade - Raw Childhood says:

    I did BLW with my first and all my family and friends were against it because they had never heard of it, however I can proudly say that I converted them and now they swear by it! I am doing the same now with my 10 month old and he LOVES his food, he chews on that steak like it’s nobody’s business! I actually not long did a blog on BLW, I always love to read about other peoples experiences with it because I think it is amazing 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelifeofmummymiller says:

      How great to hear someone else’s success story 🙂 I love it! Today Oliver was gnawing on a gammon steak, he’s got no teeth but he loved it!! My family and some friends think it’s silly and I should give some purée with it but I have told them he will start eating when he has teeth and when he wants to!

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  5. The Unsung Mum says:

    I did BLW with both mine and loved it. It worked so well for mine and I loved watching them explore good. It’s def not for everyone, but I think what helped me was knowing the difference between choking and gagging. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  6. karenhfamily says:

    We have just started weaning our daughter. I did start with baby rice however she simply will not allow us to place a spoon in her mouth. We are now going the BLW route and she seems to be enjoying it. The gagging frightens me, however I still persist and have booked myself on a infant CPR course at the end of the month.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mummymiller says:

      What great idea! Oliver won’t let me even feed him if I have something on my spoon he might like, he grabs it off me and puts it in his mouth! The gagging soon passes once they learn what to do 😊

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      • karenhfamily says:

        That’s good to know, I’m glad I looked up the difference between gag and choke because it is a little scary. If I give her the spoon she will bang the contents off then put the spoon in her mouth, there is no fooling her 🙂

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      • mummymiller says:

        Yes, he did choke on a piece of chicken the other night, he kept exhaling it then inhaling it again and panicking, after about a minute he ended up swallowing it though! I think a lot get put off because they think their child is choking when they gag x

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucy's Locket says:

    We’re doing BLW too 😀 I haven’t posted a whole lot about these topics yet, but I’ll get there.
    I had similar experience with cups. Have you tried a straw cup? That’s worked for us. I think Lilly finds it easier because she doesn’t have to tip it

    Liked by 1 person

    • mummymiller says:

      We haven’t tried a straw cup, we are currently using the Tommee tippee first cup which he seems to love and is slowly learning needs to be tipped up!

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