Baby led what??!!
Yep. Baby Led Weaning.
Save your ice trays for…..ice, keep the blender for smoothies and post- breastfeeding margaritas, and keep pureed apples for Sunday roast.
Now, pay attention while I rock your world.
I know, right? mind blown.
When you wait for the 6 month mark, as recommended by the World Health Organization, you can go straight to family foods and feed baby straight from your plate. You’ll want baby to be sitting independently, and you’ll be good to start when baby has lost the tongue thrust reflex (you know when they thrust food out of their mouth with their tongue?). Other signs include baby intently watching you eat and perhaps reaching for you food.
The underlying premise sits well with me. By ditching the mush and spoons and opting for family foods, steamed veg, soft meat and so on, you are letting BABY set the pace. You are trusting your baby to experiment with food and texture and to eat as little or as much as she wants. It is respectful, it is kind. You are being sensitive and mindful to your baby’s needs. You are treating your baby as a person with feelings and desires of their own. I like this. It’s how I want to raise my kids.
Proponents of Baby Led Weaning believe it encourages children to taste, see, feel and smell a range of different foods. Think of it as nutritious sensory play! They believe it diminishes the likelihood of fussy eating and mealtime fights, too. Perhaps you’ll find your small eating more because they have the same cuisine as the adults. If you are guided by your child, you won’t force them to ‘clean their plate’, or eat when they aren’t hungry and kids won’t learn that they can have ‘special kids food’, because let’s face it….restaurant meals for children are rarely special! There’s the additional benefit of encouraging independence and of course all that extra practice co-ordinating hand and eye movements. Sounds great, right?
But what about choking?
We go to great lengths to keep our smalls safe and far from risk, so why consider giving them choking-sized pieces of food to PLAY with? If your child is ready, there is little need for concern. Gums are powerful (just ask a mother recovering from nip-lash) and these cute little babies come pre-programmed with a handy gag reflex. Sometimes baby WILL gag on a texture or flavour they don’t like yet. That’s ok. It’s safe because they will spit it up. You are right there next to them to help if required.
What kinds of foods can you give baby?
Unless your child has a risk of allergy, you can start with whatever you are preparing tonight. Follow the guidelines around the introduction of fish, nuts, honey and eggs, but don’t hold back on nasi goreng just because it’s not on the traditional list. You don’t need to worry about choking – those gums are powerful and you are close by should baby need assistance.
You might like to try:
Risotto (loads of different options!)
Roast dinners (soft, juicy meat and well cooked vegetables)
Pasta and noodle dishes (wholegrain pasta and brown rice where possible)
Avocado, seasonal fruits and vegetables
Strips of well cooked meat, lamb shanks to suck
Cooked fish (check for bones)
So, now that you’ve shelved your copy of “baby recipes” and thrown the farex where it belongs (in the bin) enjoy prepping ONE meal for everyone, no blenders, Tupperware, plastic cutlery or suction bowls required. What’s not to love about that?!