Because I have never been one to force my baby girl into doing anything that is not natural to her I decided that baby lead weaning was the path for me. I’ve watched mums attempting to shovel spoonfuls of pureed mush into baby’s mouths whilst they scream and fight against it and I knew it wasn’t something I personally feel comfortable doing.
The principle behind baby lead weaning is that you don’t give puree you give real solid food in real pieces and they learn to mush it themselves. It teaches them what food looks and feels like and means that “lumps” aren’t something to fight against. It isn’t for everyone, it’s messy and time consuming, but if it is what you want it’s been found to be safe and a great way of introducing your child to solids. There’s a lot of information about it online but it would take up paragraphs and paragraphs so I won’t recite it all here, but you can find a lot about it here www.babyledweaning.com/
I’ve been giving Miss Rose things such as carrot, cucumber and pear sticks to hold for a few weeks now, not necessarily to eat but so she can familiarise herself with what food looks like, feels like, and should she lick it then get the initial flavours. Sort of making food fun, she can waggle it around like a rattle with no pressure, as I tend to feel that the pressure to eat is what causes food issues in children in a lot of cases. I never make a big deal out of it, just hand it to her and more often than not she’d drop it and the dog would sneakily pinch it and hide under the bed to eat it (yes cucumber and the like, I have an odd dog)
When having lunch in a nice café with my mum and husband last week I handed her a chunk of the bread roll I was eating for her to play with, and suddenly it was in her mouth. She was gnawing on it. I was in shock. She didn’t necessarily eat it and swallow it, as this isn’t what you’d expect in the early stages as she has to familiarise herself with food first, but she was having a real go on it. It was smushed and moistened and she was very happy. When she’d thoroughly destroyed the first piece I handed her a second and that went straight in. I was genuinely shocked, she had never shown any interest in eating anything other than booby juice.
The next day she had a cucumber stick, that went the same way, smushed and moistened until eventually dropped for the dog to steal. Whilst I was having a glass of water she reached out her hands so I let her take it (obviously with help from me) and that was subsequently pulled to her mouth and tilted so she could sip from it. Of course, she’s taken to reaching for cups of coffee and lemonade to which she is most definitely refused, but it shows her interest.
I genuinely believe that if she were not ready then she wouldn’t do it. As I say she never showed any interest previously. She’s a couple of weeks off the six month mark for starting but as far as I’m concerned that doesn’t matter. Six months is a wonderful guideline that I strongly agree should be in place, but if a child is ready a couple of weeks early it feels unnatural to me to deny it.
I don’t want to overwhelm her so I’m only giving her bread and cucumber now, but every week or so I will introduce something new. But so far, so good.
My plan is that gradually she will eat more and more things and I’ll be able to gradually reduce breast feeds at a natural and gentle pace. She should be used to a great number of flavours and textures so food will not be something strange and alien to her and she will get a healthy balanced diet without a battle. Will it work? Time will tell, but I’m enjoying the beginning of it and so is she, which is perhaps the most important part.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!