It’s nearly time for my little boy to start a new chapter in his life, that of solid foods. I’m not ashamed to admit this terrifies and excites me in equal measures. On one hand I can’t wait to see his little face as he makes new discoveries, to find out what he loves, what he likes and what he hates to see him getting enjoyment out of food. On the other hand I fear him choking and have no idea what I’m doing.
The first dilemma for many (not me) is when to start this journey? I have and will hold off until he is 6 months old following World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. Now I know this is a generational thing and people will share the opinion that this is a load of old bumpkum, I mean generations of people have grown into fine healthy adults having been weaned at 3/4 months. I was one for a start, although I do remember my Mum telling me that I wouldn’t eat anything other than yogurt from her finger tip for months, was this maybe a sign that I wasn’t, as was expected, ready to wean? Yet my brothers eagerly tucked in as soon as the process started.
I have the opinion that someone, somewhere did a lot of research into these current guidelines. The WHO didn’t wake up one day and think let’s upset the apple cart and put back weaning by three months. A lot of money and expert advice would have been invested and sought before coming to this conclusion and, wanting the best for my son I plan on adhering to it.
Don’t get me wrong, if he was ravenous all the time and not thriving then expert advice would suggest weaning sooner and I would most definitely have started earlier and about two weeks ago I thought this may have been the case. However, on weighing him and seeing that for the first time ever he’s climbed a centile it’s evident he’s thriving so I’ve decided to wait. As it turns out I’ll be holding off a couple of days after he reaches six months as this huge milestone coincides with a long awaited trip to see my Dad up country and I’d rather start this journey at home than in a hotel room.
I still have no idea what to do, in one sense weaning at 3/4 months as my parents (and my friends) did was easier. You puréed food and spoon fed your baby… Simple. Now there’s the added spanner of the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) movement. This is where my confusion starts, this is where you have a choice and choices have always been my downfall. One of the beautiful things about being a vegetarian and eating out is that it removes, or greatly reduces, a choice and therefore I make a quick decision on what I want to do 😄
Put simply BLW means allowing your child to feed themselves from the start of the weaning journey. No more processors, no more purée. Apparently at six months your child is developmentally capable of feeding themselves and all you have to do is hand them food in suitably sized pieces!!! Easy! So why can’t I get my head round it? Why am I struggling to make a clearly defined decision on this being my course of action? I have no idea, my biggest fear of BLW is choking I suppose, it’ll be the first time he’s swallowed anything that isn’t milk (or Calpol) so choking is a very real possibility though I’ve been told they don’t choke, just gag!!
When I was pregnant with Noah my best friend told me about a book by Annabel Karmel that became her bible when weaning her two children (now 11 and 9) at three months so I bought it. I love it. I love the recipes and I love the fact that it gives you a timetable to follow, a step by step guide so to speak.
Maybe it’s because of my personality but when I’m learning something new I like to have a structure, a method to follow if you will and this fab book gives you that, but it also involves puréed foods and spoon feeding. Then I had Noah and I heard about BLW so I have recently bought another book on BLW by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett hoping that it’ll give me the same sort of structure… Of course it doesn’t, that’s not the point of BLW.
People say BLW babies are less fussy when it comes to food, I’m not sure that’s entirely the case as many spoon fed babies have loved all sorts of food and who’s to say these non-fussy BLW babies would have been non-fussy spoon fed babies. There’s no way of knowing that. I know of BLW babies who are very fussy eaters so this theory doesn’t always follow suit. I do get, however, that BLW babies will, from the start, be used to different textures of foodsand would probably be less put off by these textural foods later on.
So what am I going to do? Who the heck knows! What did you do? I like aspects of both regimes so call me a coward but I think I’m going to do a bit of both. I’ll let you know how I get on in a couple of weeks.