The problem with parenting is that there is so much conflicting advice. Weaning is an area that definitely highlights this with advice ranging from start at 3 months (or below) to don’t worry if they aren’t eating until a year old!
The latest news is actually that to avoid a fussy eater you need to look at your diet as early on as in pregnancy!!
What the decade of research actually says is that the smells and tastes that a baby is exposed to during pregnancy and the first few weeks and months are linked with what they prefer to smell and eat when they are born in some cases. Reseacher Benoist Schaal claims this is due to the food filtering to the foetus whilst the brain is being formed.
The study at Bourgogne University in Dijon, also highlighted the issue of smoking and drinking in pregnancy – showing babies to lick their lips at the smell of alcohol if the mother drank in pregnancy.
It also found that babies who were given a more mixed diet were more likely to accept new foods. Suggesting that weeks of pureed carrot is not a good idea.
I think the more the mother has a varied diet in pregnancy then the more likely she will have a varied diet after pregnancy, and be likely to expose her child to those smells and food. Familiarity is one of the key things when weaning – with some children needing to be exposed to the same food for up to 50 times before they will so much as touch it.
I feel that in pregnancy a lot of the information we are exposed to, and the advice given, is by those wanting to make money. In this case we can buy jars of baby food – telling us they have all the baby needs and for each stage. Then of course there’s all the fancy bowls, spoons, cubes for freezing, pureers etc etc. All this hassle and worry just isn’t necessary.
Weaning the Baby Led Weaning Way
What I love most about BLW is there are very few “rules”
Q. How will I know when my baby is ready for solids?
A. Don’t worry about it. Just let them decide. Biologically they will know when and how to eat what they need. It wont be physically possible for them to get what they are not meant to into their mouths by themselves at the wrong time.
Q. When will I know when to introduce new foods?
A. Don’t worry about it. Just let them decide.
Q. How will I know if my baby is allergic to something.
A. Don’t worry. A baby biologically will not (apparently) feed themselves foods they are allergic to (but if you have a family history please do keep a closer eye).
So what do you do.
Simply wait until your child can sit. You can’t eat lying down. This usually happens around 6 months but if you feel your child is ready before this then go for it – it can’t hurt because if they’re not ready they wont do it.
Give them some of what you are eating.
Don’t bother with plates, bowls and spoons straight away.
I always remember my in-laws being very worried he would never understand that people eat off plates later on in life. I ignored them and he uses a plate perfectly well.
If you want a little less mess you could start with fruit – banana (especially good if you are worried about gagging – which is different to choking), apple, orange. Or dry foods such as toast, bread sticks etc.
Let your baby get on with it.
They may just play with the food. Or it may not seem like they are eating. They can suck goodness out and get all they need without actually digesting the food.
Then the exciting part (lol) of checking their nappy and finding food in there!
Later on you can introduce a spoon.
It’s much easier, especially when out, as you never have to think about what the baby has, just given them what you are having.
Some things to remember
You need to eat a balanced diet.
Don’t give honey before 1 year old.
Cut the skin off cucumber.
Make sure they can sit.
Any questions please contact me either in the comments box or at
Although I have been fortunate enough to meet Gill Rapley and own a signed copy of her book this post is completely my own opinions.