Guest post from Nicola at MummyToDex.com
Weaning our first son, Dexter, was one of the scariest, yet exciting times of our lives. We chose to wean him using the baby led weaning method and once we started, we never looked back. Despite some reservations from friends and family, baby led weaning meant by 12 months old, we had a baby who could tackle absolutely anything when it came to meal times, wasn’t afraid of herbs and spices and had dropped all of his bottles.
We recently began weaning our second son, Felix. He struggled slightly more than Dexter did for the first couple of weeks, but now at 9 months old, is a huge foodie, enjoying pastas, curries, omelettes, a vast range of vegetables and whatever else we put together for him. (Although he’s not the biggest fan of fruit, strangely!)
Baby led weaning has had a profound impact on our lives and I’ve really enjoyed blogging about it over the last three years. If you’re still unsure whether baby led weaning is for you or not, read on for my five top reasons to choose baby led weaning.
It’s great for baby’s fine motor skills
When baby first starts weaning, it’s hit and miss as to whether they can pick up the food and get it in their mouth. With bigger finger sized bits it’s easier, but with small pieces like peas or blueberries, it can be slightly more challenging. Baby led weaning gives baby the chance to practise using their fine motor skills to pick up food and transfer to the mouth, something spoon feeding doesn’t. We love practising baby’s fine motor skills with Cheerios, peas, sweet corn and squished blueberries.
You can both enjoy mealtimes together – and it’s an excuse to eat healthier!
Baby led weaning is all about you enjoying mealtimes as a family, as opposed to you having to cook something separate for baby and spoon feed him it while your food gets cold. I love that I can rustle up an evening meal or a healthy breakfast for us all and plonk chunks of crumpets or pasta on Felix’s highchair while I enjoy my food too. Eating together also teaches baby how to chew and eventually use cutlery too. Of course, you need to choose healthy foods for your baby, so it’s a great excuse to make sure you’re eating healthier too. I don’t know about you, but the sleepless nights and busy days make me crave all the naughty stuff like biscuits and cake. Baby led weaning got me back on track with eating three proper meals a day with healthy, freshed cooked food.
You don’t need to invest in unnecessary equipment
If you choose traditional weaning, it means purchasing blenders, steamers, pots and spoons which are all completely unnecessary when you choose baby led weaning. Apart from a decent coverall bib (I couldn’t live without my BIBaDO), you don’t need anything extra to baby led wean. Simply cut the food you’re about to eat appropriately (eg finger sized pieces for fruit and veg) and off you go!
Eating on the go is easier
When you need to go and about, instead of packing jars and pouches and worrying about needing them heating up, you can simply take a few snacks for on the go such as veg sticks, egg muffins, fruit or rice cakes, or even share a little bit of what you’re eating if you are out in a restaurant. Aldi and Lidl do fantastic pre-packaged baby led weaning snacks that don’t break the bank.
The mess can be cleaned up
If it’s fear of the mess that baby led weaning causes that puts you off, then don’t let it. By purchasing a few simple items, you can combat the mess and make your life ten times easier. We swear by a washable coverall bib, a high chair with a huge tray (Ikea Antilop is our favourite!) and eating on tiled or laminate flooring which can be quickly cleaned up with a dust pan and brush between mealtimes. If you’ve got a dog, then even better!
Whatever method of weaning you decide to choose, this period of baby’s life will be one of the most fun and exciting times! The exploration of new tastes is an amazing time and I wish you the best of luck on your weaning journey.
Nicola who blogs at Mummy to Dex lives in West Lancashire with her husband, three year old toddler Dexter and newborn baby Felix. Extremely passionate about baby led weaning, she mainly blogs about this topic, but also write about pregnancy, travel, days out and life as a full time working Mum of two boys.