Monday, 14 January 2013

Weaning - Baby Led and Spoon Fed

So I have started weaning baby dude and it has been completely different second time round. As many of you know I had no clue about babies before Honey arrived, having never even changed a nappy before, which was probably why I was such an ardent Gina Ford'er. I liked having a set routine and rules, so I knew what to do, and so both of them got exactly what they needed, (not to mention both slept through from 11 weeks, but thats a different story) I digress. Anyway, being a much more confident mama second time round, weaning has been very different. First time around I followed Gina to the letter, she is very much spoon/puree led. This time round however I swatted up on The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Nicki Duffy and have decided to go more baby led.

The River Cottage book in my opinion is the best baby weaning book out there, and I have read a lot. It is very much a mixture of puree and baby led, which makes complete sense to me, and progresses into really good recipes for the whole family. Not only does baby led seem more natural but also so much easier as the bambino can eat elements of our supper i.e. strips of chicken and steamed vegetables, rather than having to cook different meals every evening. Yet I like the idea of giving a bit of puree too so you know they are eating something and you can measure the amount they are eating a bit more. Research shows that babyled weaning leads to much less fussy eaters in the long run too, and I have had my fair share of problems with Honey. (After eating anything up until the age of 12 months old she then decided to refuse anything bar pasta and cheese see this post.)

So anyway, after the little dude not being a huge fan of baby rice, which incidentally doesn't even exist in France so French mamas don't use it, we thought we'd offer him a few sticks of cucumber while we ate dinner, WHICH HE LOVED. He literally sucked the cucumber to death for about 20 mins. Result! So going forward I think I will go half and half puree, he loves apple, pear and cauliflower, for lunch and baby led for dinner so he can join in and watch us eat. If he prefers one over the other I'll go with that but for now that's the plan. Will keep you all posted.

Please share any baby led weaning tips and favourite foods. xx


  1. I will definitely check this book out.

    I'm slowly getting more confident with weaning so it will be interesting for me to find some new recipes.

    Harriet x

  2. My experience is very similar to yours. ive got 4 years old daughter who is a big fan of pastas and could not live without it, and 9 month baby girl who is so fussy about food that leaves me pulling my hair everyday. She loves Nestle baby rise with banana or raspberry and toasted bread. Nothing else...No chicken..even doesn`t want butternut squash anymore....Im really struggling now...Never tried giving her a cucumber, worth trying :-)

  3. I'm a bit of a routine obsessive first time mama too but naturally fell into a mixture of baby led and spoon feeding. That River Cottage book looks good though, I shall have to purchase that ta!

  4. I love that book, i like that it has so much info in and has food for the whole family in which is especially great when you have more then 1 child i think.

  5. I'm a big advocate of baby led weaning, it was one of the best decisions I ever made for R. At 3.5 now he is the total opposite of fussy - he will try and eat almost anything put in front of him. Even if he ends up disliking it, he will try. I like that he has an adventurous and curious palate but I really like that I can cook just one meal for the three of us rather than separate dishes.
    R's favourites when we were BLW'ing: strips of wholemeal pitta, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and a big pot of raita or hummus to dip. He was a keen dipper and still is! I used to make my own 'dips' - hummus etc just because prepared ones are usually high in salt.
    He also loved chunks/flakes of baked salmon or white fish, chicken, cheese, any roasted veggies but especially sweet potato 'chips' scrambled egg, omelettes, toast, dry cereals (cheerios were a big hit) homemade muffins, banana bread, jumbo pasta (easier for little chubby fingers to grip) chunks of cheese, most fruits - mango, peach and strawberries were his absolute favourite.
    It took me a while, but I really tried to get into the habit of offering him whatever we were eating. I was nervous and reluctant at first but he took to it so well. It's tough getting used to the mess but I highly recommend a huge plastic sheet underneath the high chair to collect any spills. R developed a habit of leaning over the side of the highchair and dropping food to hear which made the best splat - then giggling to himself!
    If you ever need any more advice, I learnt quite a bit about BLW and my walls have been repainted to show it! xx

  6. I chickened out of the baby led weaning when my first nearly choked on a banana. (I've still got the video - including the bit of me dropping the camera to prove it!). I mostly used Annabel Karmel recipes the first time; her spinach and potato puree was a favourite with my son (and also doubled up as a good pasta sauce). Will definitely look out the River Cottage book when the time comes and I like the idea of combining baby led with puree too. Think I might try that approach this time around with No 2. Great post.