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Baby-Led Weaning: The essential guide to introducing solid foods

Updated on June 30, 2014

When my son was 7 months old we took him to the paediatrician for a check up and she asked how weaning was coming along. I told her we had started offering solid food for him to feed himself when he was 6 months and that it was coming along fine. She was shocked and began to tell me I was doing it all wrong and that I should be spoon feeding him pured vegetables for 2 meals a day, pured fruit for dessert and runny baby porridge for breakfast, she said there was no way he would be able to eat anything more solid at his age. 

As we were talking, my son was getting a bit restless so I have him a rice cake to play with. He promptly started munching away on it, biting with all his 3 teeth, sucking and gumming it. The paediatrician could not believe her eyes and said she had never before seen anything like it, a baby eating. I told her that YouTube has thousands of video's of babies eating and that I had read the Baby-Led Weaning book. 

I had heard about baby led weaning when I was pregnant and it sounded both fun and practical. Spending hours peeling, boiling, pureing, sieving and storing lots of little portions of various vegetables did not sound like it would be particularly enjoyable and I wasn't enthusiastic about finding time to do it. Plus who can resist those pictures of cute yoghurt covered faces dotted with grains of rice. Preparing the same one meal for all of us sounded much more efficient. I've always loved food and I wanted exploring tastes, colours and textures of food to be something my son would enjoy doing. 

So I bought the Baby-Led weaning book and found it told me everything I needed to know. The book explains in detail why baby-led weaning makes sense and how to create a positive attitude towards food and mealtimes for your child. It gives details on what nutrients your baby needs, which foods contains them and what foods to avoid or give sparingly. It encourages family mealtimes and making food fun. One of the main concerns of parents is choking which is dealt with reassuringly in the book. There are numerous Q&A sections which answer every question I could think of and related issues like digestion, bowel movements, using silverware and eating out are all also covered.

I found that reading this book really took the stress out of the whole weaning process, allowing us to make mealtimes enjoyable for everybody. We have avoided any battles over what I think my son should eat and what he wants to eat, I never have to let my meal go cold while I feed him his first and I very rarely have to prepare different food for him than what the rest of us are eating. I would recommend this book to all parents of babies, even those who plan to spoon-feed or pure as it gives so much advice and information on developing a child's relationship with food. 

The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: Delicious Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods―and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy
The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: Delicious Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods―and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy

If you need some new ideas to refresh your family mealtimes, this has some great baby friendly recipes.

 
Weaning Made Easy: All you Need to Know About Traditional Feeding and Baby-Led Weaning - get the Best of Both Worlds
Weaning Made Easy: All you Need to Know About Traditional Feeding and Baby-Led Weaning - get the Best of Both Worlds

Want to compare or combine baby led weaning and traditional methods - this book explains how.

 

Photo Gallery

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Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Damsons were an early favourite.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Trying some kale.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: StrawberryOur Baby Led Weaning journey: LunchtimeOur Baby Led Weaning journey: Pizza!Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Chicken and bean stew.... messy but he loves it.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: BLW Day 1: Bread.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Green beans.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Strawberry sandwichOur Baby Led Weaning journey: He tried various ways to get the food to his mouth.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Sometimes he ate like this.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Pasta.Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Salad pittaOur Baby Led Weaning journey: SpaghettiOur Baby Led Weaning journey: Watermelon
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Damsons were an early favourite.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Damsons were an early favourite.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Trying some kale.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Trying some kale.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Strawberry
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Strawberry
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Lunchtime
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Lunchtime
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Pizza!
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Pizza!
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Chicken and bean stew.... messy but he loves it.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Chicken and bean stew.... messy but he loves it.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: BLW Day 1: Bread.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: BLW Day 1: Bread.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Green beans.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Green beans.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Strawberry sandwich
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Strawberry sandwich
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: He tried various ways to get the food to his mouth.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: He tried various ways to get the food to his mouth.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Sometimes he ate like this.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Sometimes he ate like this.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Pasta.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Pasta.
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Salad pitta
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Salad pitta
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Spaghetti
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Spaghetti
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Watermelon
Our Baby Led Weaning journey: Watermelon

There are loads of video's on YouTube which show just how amazing babies are. Seeing a small baby eating a proper dinner is just brilliant. 

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    • Tnoskoguy profile image
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      Terri Guy 3 years ago from Connemara, Ireland

      @Lynn Klobuchar: Sounds like you did a great job! It is great not having to trawl the baby food aisle. I think it sad that so much pre-prepared food is pushed at people when real food can be cheaper, more nutritious and practical to prepare.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      I breast fed all three boys exclusively and pitched the "baby food" as quickly as I could. None of them had a bottle, they started drinking from a cup at 6 or 7 months. I nursed them until they were uninterested, which was at about 12 months. I was a little sad, but they were done and ready for their next adventure in eating.I did just what you show in your fabulous pictures -- normal food in bits and ways they could eat with me nearby at all times. Never choked and all three were eating table food by 9 months. The youngest refused the strained stuff completely, so at 7 months I left all the jars I had brought on a vacation for the housekeeping staff and sailed completely out of the pablum aisle. They all walked at 12 months to -- just ready to start the long process of separation. They are grown now and adventurous eaters and come home at least once per week to talk me out of some of my table food.Great review. Do what makes sense to you and yours.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow, I love this idea. What a great-sounding concept and book. Even pediatricians have things to learn from smart parents and happy, healthy babies!