07 Aug Baby Led Weaning Week by Week – Week 1
“Just give the baby what you eat.”
That’s the most common reply I see on my Facebook weaning group whenever people ask how to start Baby Led Weaning (BLW) or introduce solids at 6 months. I often think to myself that’s not actually particularly helpful, or practical advice to someone who doesn’t really know where to start. I always recommend that people read Gill Rapley’s book. In the BLW community it’s somewhat regarded as the bible. You can buy it online here, or you can borrow it from your local library. It’s a comprehensive guide on the reasons for doing BLW, practical advice on how to actually begin and some recipes.
I’ve started weaning Charlie this week.
I thought I’d document our weaning journey in the hope it helps newbies just starting out. He’d just turned 26 weeks and was showing all the signs of being ready; he could sit up mostly unaided, had lost his tongue thrust reflex and was able to guide food into his mouth independently.
We’ve sat Charlie up at the table with us since birth, in arms or a sling or later, when he could hold himself up, on our lap or in his highchair and given him some utensils to play with. This isn’t a requirement of BLW but I just like them to be involved with mealtimes from the start. The advice given on when to start a baby on solids is after a milk feed, when they aren’t tired. I think breakfast is always a good meal to start on, they’ve just had milk and aren’t too tired, providing they haven’t been awake for too long. We actually started weaning Charlie in our local Toby Carvery. It wasn’t intentional, but he was grabbing at my breakfast so much and we were due to start the next day anyway so I gave him a crust of toast. He sucked on it happily and dropped it a few times. Afterwards he had a big clump of soggy toast in the roof of his mouth, which I just got out with my little finger by swiping from side to side. To begin with, they find it difficult to dislodge food from here themselves so it’s something to watch out for.
Throughout the first week, I gave Charlie solid food whenever he was awake and I was eating. Some days he had no food at all, and other days he had 3 ‘meals’ a day. I use the term ‘meals’ loosely, at this stage it’s more like having tastes of food rather than whole meals. I often serve him last night’s cold vegetables for breakfast. For me breakfasts tend to be carb and fruit based; porridge, toast, crumpets, savoury muffins, croissants, pancakes etc with fresh fruit.
Babies can get constipated easily when starting weaning. If they eat solids they take less milk and this can lead to constipation so I try and serve fruit and vegetables as often as possible to try and prevent this, plus they are often soft and easy to hold.
This spoon is by far the BEST I have tried for weaning a 6 month old. The handle is short and stubby so it’s super easy for him to pick up from the highchair once I’ve pre-loaded it. It has little ridges on it so the yoghurt sticks to it, even if the spoon is turned upside down and wiped on his head, yoghurt sticks to the ridges and some (eventually!) makes it’s way into his mouth. It also has a guard between the spoon part and the handle, to stop him from making himself gag unnecessarily by sticking it too far in. You can find details for the spoon here.
For dinner at this stage I am still making my usual dinners and not thinking about making them suitable for Charlie yet. For Oliver I used to make all my meals with him in mind and then he’d usually be asleep and miss the evening meal anyway! So, until he is consistently awake at dinner time I’m not really serving him dinner, he just has a bit of fruit and yoghurt or more leftovers.
Using this knife I find really helps him be able to pick up food himself, it gives it little ridges and makes it easier to grip food, particularly slippery food like banana, mango and avocado. I bought this knife on holiday, but I also bought one for my mum’s house for when he eats there, you can find the details here.
Overall, it’s been a good start to weaning. He has gagged a few times but nothing major. He’s gone a bit red, coughed and made a face and then worked the food out each time. I’ve been on a paediatric First Aid course at my local Children’s Centre so that I feel confident that I would know what to do should he start to choke. I don’t think he has swallowed anything yet, I haven’t had any evidence in nappies to suggest that he has (if someone had told my pre-children self I would inspect poo I’d have thought they were a right weirdo!). He has tried everything, had a range of textures, temperatures and tastes and has made a LOT of mess.
How did you get on with week 1 of weaning? I’d love to hear, please leave me a comment.