Friday, 27 November 2009

Baby Led Weaning - some words of encouragement

Recently I've had a few emails and contact from people who are having some problems or wanted some advice about baby led weaning. You'll see from some of my earlier posts that I'm definitely not an expert but I think I'm well positioned to offer some reassurance. We've definitely bounced up and down the weaning road with some success but also some notable failures. For those of you out there who may be worrying about whether your baby is eating enough, or whether baby led works for you I hope this post helps a little bit.

Somebody mentioned baby led weaning to me before Little Legs was even 5 months old but I didn't have a clue. I was already a bit worried about the whole weaning process anyway as we'd had such a difficult start to milk feeding in general. I won't go into the ins and outs of my problems with breastfeeding because thats a post on its own but needless to say we battled on until she was 12 weeks old and then switched to formula. I felt as though we'd only just got the milk feeds established so the thought of weaning her was daunting to say the least.

Then two things happened. Someone leant me Gill Rapley's Baby Led Weaning book, and the highchair arrived. I started to feel quite excited about introducing Little Legs to solids so we started. I started her with baby rice as she was only five and a half months old and I was too much of a coward to give anything else.

Then I started to get a bit braver, I started giving her rice cakes, cucumber, banana, fingers of roasted veg. I batted off the concerns of friends and family with a nonchalant wave. Baby led weaning was the way forward for us. I remember my Mum looking on with horror at every meal time as Little Legs would gum her food happily but then launch it across the room, Eating a big fat nothing every time. I wasn't worried though, I was quietly confident that she would eat in time. I thought it was a doddle, but then it happened, "that incident" as we now call it. Little Legs choked. She didn't just gag, she actually choked. The culprit was a piece of sweet potato. All I remember was screaming as I saw her gasping for breath. I frantically got her out of her highchair. All my well intentioned first aid training went out the window as all I could manage in blind panic was to tip her upside down. It worked. Little Legs went back to giggling, as she does best whilst I sat with her on my knee and just cried.

Needless to say, the book went back to my friend and it was on with the purees. But for me, something just didn't feel right with spoon feeding Little Legs. She's such an independent little madam and seemed so curious when she saw us eating that I decided to give baby led one more try. It was the best decision I ever made.

Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been without its anxieties. There have been a few more gagging incidents but thankfully no more choking. For a long period of time Little Legs did just play with her food but when we started to relax a bit as opposed to monitoring every mouthful she was eating, so too did Little Legs. We slowly but surely realised that there was less and less food on the floor, and in the nooks and crannies of the highchair, and more and more in her nappy. Then the scales tipped the other way, I started to worry that Little Legs was taking too many solids and not enough of her milk as you'll see from my earlier post Baby led weaning and formula feeding.

Little Legs turned seven months old this week and everything has finally fallen into place. She's well established now on three solid meals and three milk feeds a day. Her weight gain is good and she's a bright, beautiful little baby. The purpose of this post isn't to push people down the baby led weaning path. I guess I just wanted to say that you should do what feels right for you and your baby. Follow your instincts, your heart, and your baby and everything will be fine.


  1. I can't really comment on your post as my experience of babies seems so much in the past! My daughter, Amy, is almost 10 years old so was weaned a long time ago. And she eats like a horse.

    Great to meet you and glad I found you on BMB.

    CJ xx

  2. Hi Crystal. You too. Have just become a follower on your blog.Look forward to sharing your stories x

  3. What a great post! Just what I needed tbh! I've just started weaning my little girl who was 6 months yest with BLW. I definitely need some words of encouragement! I spoon fed my toddler and decided to try out BLW this time as I remember toddler used to love feeding himself. What sort of things did you start her with?

  4. Good luck Laura! I found that roasted sweet potato fingers were a great first food and I've spoken to a lot of people who had success with that too. Broccoli (that word never looks right) has never really worked for us unless cooked with cauliflower in a cheese sauce. The other two favourites have been chicken and cheese just cut into fingers, both seem to melt in the mouth a little bit. I know its hard but try not to worry too much at first and just let her play with her food (i really should heed my own advice). If you haven't read the book have a look at that (link on my site) and a fab forum to join is Hope thats not info overload! Keep me posted!

  5. Thanks for advice! I did get the baby led weaning book, thought it was good in theory but practically don't know if it really helped me. I think if it had more receipe ideas as opposed to the idea behind it would be better.

  6. Hi Laura. I take your point about the book. As far as I know Gill Rapley is writing a recipe book as we speak so watch this space. Hope things are going well!

  7. This post was interesting, I am currently reading the Gill Rapley book and it is making a lot of sense to me. Piran is coming up to 5 months old and people keep asking whether I have given him any food yet. To be honest he doesn't seem at all interested in my food yet so I am not bothered I am really keen to wait until 6 months. I am very nervous but excited about the whole thing. I love to read up on everything that I am doing so I am trawling the internet now for more information. What I would love is some recipes for me and Mr C and information on how to then give the same food to the baby, that is where I get a little confused. I do hope that by doing BLW it will help me and my husband eat better too, and eat as a family.

  8. Hi Kelly I can definitely recommend it if you can hold out till 6 months. At about 5.5 months we started giving little bits of food just for Little Legs to play with. Have you sed the website Its got some good recipes on. I cook all sorts of things for us as a family, for eg tonight we're all having salmon risotto, but you can do roast dinners, shepherds pies, fish pies, the sky's the limit really just don't add any extra salt and try to avoid stock cubes if you can as they are really high in salt. I use pepper and herbs to season food instead. Good luck and I look forward to hearing how you get on!

  9. Found your blog after you commented on mine (Thanks) and have been reading it for the last half hour, so interesting. I have a 6 month old boy and have just started spoon weaning but I have a 2 year old boy who still wants me to help feed him to (very busy meal times!) so I don’t want that situation to repeat its self. Will keep reading x