Are you thinking about baby led weaning? Maybe you’ve started weaning and you would like some help to make it go smoothly? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Read on for top tips from 11 real mums who have been through Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and learn what they wish that they had known before they got started.
Tip 1: Gagging vs Choking
My top tip would be to learn the difference between gagging and choking. It is completely normal for babies to gag frequently when they are first learning to eat because their gag reflex is much further forward than an adult, but it’s rare they’ll actually start to choke. Taking a baby first aid course can definitely ease your mind of knowing what to do if your baby did start to choke.
Tip 3: Sit together for mealtimes
My children are older now but I loved baby led weaning with them and they eat so well that people comment all the time. My top tips are: All sit together for mealtimes and just offer a small variety of options directly on the highchair tray to make it easy to pick up. Make toast fingers, cucumber and cheese sticks or pieces of fruit that are the right shape to be held in a fist and gnawed on. Then as they get older, you can give them some of what you’re having. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t try anything for ages and just play with the food. It’s all part of the learning process.
Tip 4: Give your baby what you are eating
I tried BLW with my 2nd baby & I cannot say enough how glad I am I did it, it’s worked so well! My top tip would be to try & give them what you are eating as a family (without added sugar or salt). It saves so much time & effort for you as a parent PLUS it makes them feel more involved, they can watch how you eat your food & they can just have as little or as much as they want. Also, let them play with a spoon – they like to try & eat with it themselves & it’s great for chewing on & gets them used to the idea of using one later.
Tip 5: Food is fun before they are one!
Try not to get hung up on how much they are eating. Have fun giving them different foods to play with. Babies still get all their nutrients from their milk.
Tip 6: Start BLW when you are relaxed
Make sure that you only start when you are relaxed, even if that means being later than friends or family. Otherwise, it makes the whole process much more stressful for you and baby.
Tip 7: The nappy will reveal the truth!
Don’t worry about how much they are eating at first, or even if they are eating any of it. You’ll soon find out when it’s time for a nappy change!
Tip 8: Let your baby take the lead!
I didn’t do BLW with my first and he is the fussiest eater. He is now 5 and I still battle with him over textures and certain tastes. My baby is a year old and he chose to go to food by let’s say, showing a lot of interest in what I was eating! (He wrapped his mouth around a piece of a pear when we were on holiday and that was that!) He will try anything, he adores his food and he’s thrived from it- born at 32 weeks at just 4lb 2oz he is now weighing at 50th percentile for a one-year-old. My tip would be to give everything a go and let them take the lead. If they don’t like a food, that’s fine, move onto the next item. But do make sure all the foods are easy for them to hold and grasp so they can do it all themselves. It can be so much fun watching them learn!
Tip 9: Involve your family in the process.
We loved baby led weaning and were the only ones in our NCT group to do it. So much less hassle than the others had when out and about with other babies and mine wasn’t fussy like many of the others.
My tip would be to read up about it and make sure anyone else who’ll be involved with feeding them, also understands and will try it. My mum and MIL didn’t get it at first but were amazed at how good it was going so then bought into it. The OH didn’t agree with it at first but he didn’t do the bulk of the feeding so just went with it. And nursery were very impressed at how well my baby fed himself and ate, when he went to nursery at 11 months.
Tip 2 is to introduce a spoon straight away. Preload the spoons with porridge or weetabix or yoghurt. It gets them used to using a spoon and you’ll probably be moving faster onto proper cutlery.
Tip 10: Floor mops!
Buy one of those squidgy floor mops. Lifesaver!
Tip 11: Invest in coverall style bibs
Invest in a couple of coverall style bibs; baby led weaning can be really messy (our dog LOVED it though!) at first compared to traditional weaning and it’s so much easier to just whip the coverall off, rinse it under the tap and voila, clean baby!