It’s been an odd old week. There’s been so much ‘to do’ yet I only do it little bits at a time and as a result, the list never gets smaller. Just looking around now, there are things I should be doing and yet I’m not. I’m sitting here…resting!
54/366 – Thlippers
My sister arrived and brought a bunch of presents for Ameli. The froggy slippers were among them and Ameli loves them. Since Deshaine arrived I’ve hardly had any time with Ameli… she just adores her aunt!
55/366 – Painting Planes
Aunty Deshaine brought a wooden model kit over with her, and we were amazed at how easily Ameli put it together, then proceded to pain it and decorate it with stickers. She loved doing it and it was great fun for her and her aunty to do together.
56/366 – Soft Play
I’m 40 weeks and two days pregnant, according to the charts, and Ameli still wants to be running around! Oh, why don’t toddlers go into nesting too? Anyway, this particular day, this particular girl had not one pregnant mama, but three adults with her to entertain her. I just sat and watched the play as Aunty Deshaine and Daddy climbed and clambered along! 57/366 – Coloured Rice
I have tried to do regular food posts here since almost the start of this incarnation of the blog, but something always comes up. Initially I posted recipes based on the organic food deliveries we received, then we joined a foraging group, and I started posting about that. We then went to South Africa and all foraging stopped, but when we returned last year, we started foraging for food again.
Then I became ill, and that stopped too. I’d love to start it up again, but I know that I won’t be able to keep up a weekly foraging post, what with a baby coming and all, so I thought I might combine the two – recipes we use as we explore healthier, organic and seasonal food, and those we come up with when we find ourselves able to forage.
One of my big ‘to-dos’, which I’ve been planning for a while now is making our own yoghurt. I know – it’s about as crazy as making your own mayonnaise, right? But the thing is home-made mayo is exceptionally good and ridiculously easy. So, I thought, perhaps yoghurt would be too?
I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing in my head on the subject of money lately. It’s just such a hard topic to discuss really, without people becoming uncomfortable, or the subject actually causing rifts in friendships. But a few things have happened in my life recently that I thought I could share with you and while in effect there are three different thought processes, they’re what’s been milling about my mind, so here goes.
1) Soon after Ameli was born, I started thinking about money and about how having it or not having it affects my parenting â€“ or at least the things around my parenting. If I had limitless means, or even enough means to justify it, my daughter would have only wooden toys. She’d eat only organic food, and wear only organic clothing. She’d probably go to the best school just so that contacts with the â€œright peopleâ€ could set her up for life.
I’ve written a bit on the why of baby-led weaning, I’ve spelled it out in my top ten reasons, I’ve written about what Baby Led Weaning equipment you need (or don’t need, as the case may be) for Baby Led Weaning, but I haven’t written anything on how to get started, or more accurately, with what to start.
Before I just rattle off a list of foods, however, here are a few important things to remember: (And if you want to hear it from the expert on Baby Led Weaning, Gill Rapley, you can buy her book.)
Great snacks to have on hand:
And a final note:
We try to avoid adding sugar to anything, because really, glucose does nothing good to the body. Instead, replace it with Xylitol. It is slightly more expensive, but is sweeter and actively helps prevent tooth decay and can even reverse the effects of some decay.
In truth, the best way to Baby Led Wean is to cook your own dinner, and take a few bits and pieces of age-appropriate foods off your plate and onto your baby’s. That way there’s much less wastage, no extra preparation, and you end up eating healthier too, since you want to give your baby the best.
Anything to add? It’s sure to help someone!
I love baby led weaning and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve discovered in parenting. It always amazes me how people struggle with both the time consuming and financial burden of purÃ©e feeding.
I once tried to explain Baby Led Weaning to mothers on a parenting forum and what amazed me the most was how negative they all were: the most common argument was how ‘scary’ it sounded, or how ‘dangerous’. Which I felt was a little sad. I mean really, which parts of parenting don’t feel scary or dangerous at times?
So, here are seven reasons why I think Baby Led Weaning is better for babies:
Baby led weaning doesn’t normally start until the baby is around six months old, able to sit up on his/her own and has shown some interest in food. As a result, a baby led weaned baby will probably stay on milk feeds until around a year before solids really make up much of the diet at all. Following the ‘food is fun till one’ principle, a BLW baby will receive most of their nutrients by milk while playing with food until one, when they’ll start eating more. With my little girl, there was a marked difference in the quantity of solid food she ate before her first birthday compared to how much she ate a few weeks down the line.
Since baby is still on milk, they are getting all the nutrients required, and you don’t have to worry about force feeding a child that doesn’t want to eat.
The mouth is designed for food. When a baby breastfeeds, their sucking motion isn’t actually sucking at all. If you watch a breastfeeding baby, you’ll see the jaw moves almost in a chewing motion â€“ which it doesn’t do with bottle feeding. Breastfeeding prepares a baby for chewing, and baby led weaning helps them to take food in, chew and swallow, rather than puree feeding which simply requires them to suck back (which is where choking hazards come in) and swallow.
Babies have a natural instinctive desire to feed themselves. Have you ever seen a baby fighting to try and grab the spoon? They are naturally inclined to learn to feed themselves. And why not? If your 12 month old can feed herself, you won’t still be having to spoon feed at 3 years old. And you won’t be making airoplane noises or choo chooing around the room to get your child to eat either.
Food is fun till one is a great, and messy, principle. It means that everything that goes on the plate becomes an experiment of flavours and textures. Mushing marrow between the fingers, slip-sliding mango up and down the plate, ‘tearing’ pieces of bread or meat, and spearing sashimi (raw salmon) are all great explorations and help prevent pickiness.
Picking up kernels of rice one at a time requires quite a bit of dexterity and concentration, so it’s great for developing these essential skills. Chasing a cherry tomato around a plate and capturing it requires hand-eye coordination. And the reward is tasty.
It is said that BLW toddlers aren’t as picky eaters as their puree fed counterparts. This is partly due to having been exposed to different foods (I don’t see sushi and asparagus flavours in pots), but also to the different textures so there’s not the expectation of mush â€“ blended mush- and baby gets to know individual flavours, sharp tastes, sour tastes and so on.
Although I can’t find much by way of scientific evidence for this â€“ after all, who’s going to pay for a study that’s not going to make anyone any money? – it is anecdotally claimed that babies won’t eat food that is later found to be bad for them. I have personal experience of this with my daughter. I’m willing to trust it, because in the end it can’t hurt.
But there are also at least three benefits for mama, and the family as a whole:
I don’t know what a month’s worth of puree feeding costs, but I understand it’s quite a lot. At least with baby led weaning, you don’t have to spend money on bottles of food, and you don’t have to spend time on spoon feeding.
Maybe you’ve always made your own purees, so it hasn’t cost you that much? That’s fine, but with no need for puree’s you don’t need to stand praparing seperate meals. You don’t have to wash your blender every day. You don’t need to buy special food pureeing equipment. You make your family meal, and everyone eats the same thing.
Everyone eating the same thing is also healthier for the whole family. For the most part, we all try to do the best we can for our babies, and we want to give them as healthy food as possible, which generally means the whole family eats healthier. In addition, there’s no weight gain from finishing little Johnny’s fishfingers after your own meal. What we do is simple: I prepare the same amount of food as we’ve always done, and take a few bits and pieces off each of our plates to give to Ameli. She doesn’t eat a huge amount anyway, but now that her appetite is increasing, I just make a little bit more, and any left overs go into the freezer for days when I don’t have time to cook.
These are my reasons for baby led weaning. Can you think of any more?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Becoming a mother has changed me in more ways than I knew possible. I am passionate today about things I’d never heard of two years ago. I also spend a lot more time around animals than I ever did before, since we’ve tried to get Ameli outdoors and into nature as much as possible.
Over the last two years I’ve started a ‘collection’ of sorts, of photographs I’ve taken of wild animals practicing ‘attachment parenting’. These are the best I have so far, but I intend to extend my collection whenever I have the opportunity.
It’s no secret that I am a massive fan of breastfeeding. I think it’s the most amazing gift women were ever given. And whenever I see animals feeding their young, nurturing them and helping them grow, I have strange little flutters of excitement in my belly. A little OTT, I’m sure, but it’s true.
Here are three of my favourite animal nursing shots
Kangaroos in Perth, Australia
Giraffes in Longleat, Somerset, England
Zebras in the wild, Dhikololo, South Africa
The origin of the term Kangaroo care – and the ultimate in babywearing.
More to come…
I have often told people these two things:
One of the things I really like about baby led weaning is the theory that a baby will only eat what isn’t bad for them. According to this theory, when a baby won’t eat something, they will generally later be found to have an intolerance or allergy to it.
Possibly my favourite thing about baby led weaning has to be the fact that the essentials don’t really extend further than the food itself. In other words, there is no need to rush out and buy yet another pile of ‘stuff’ to add to the baby-related clutter already in your home.
Of course, there are a few valuable extras that can make the process simpler, and while they may not be essential, they’re certainly recommendable. Here are a few examples that have helped us out with our daughter:
As with so many things baby-related, I knew nothing about weaning and first foods a year ago. I had seen people spoon-feeding babies purÃ©e, and accepted that as how the process of learning to eat starts. In my journey into parenthood, however, I came across the term â€œBaby Led Weaningâ€, which really intrigued me. So much of my parenting style involves Ameli, my daughter, guiding us to knowing what’s right for her that this seemed a strange exception to make.
About a month and a half after beginning baby led weaning (BLW) I began reading the book of the same title by Gill Rapley and Tracy Murkett.Â One of the first things that really stood out for me was the definition given for spoon-feeding: â€œto provide (someone) with so much help or information that they do not need to think for themselvesâ€ and â€œto treat another in a way that discourages independent thought or actionâ€.
(Something to note about weaning: weaning a baby doesn’t mean that they no longer have their milk feeds. Especially with BLW, the first solids are so little that continuing milk is essential. I met a very upset mother recently who kept crying as she was desperate to breastfeed her baby, but had â€œstarted weaningâ€ and kept trying to feed her baby purÃ©ed food, no matter how much he (or she) herself longed to breastfeed!)
Some of the great things I love about the concept behind BLW are that:
Admittedly, I am not a purist. There are times when a pre-packaged puree, whether bought or home made, can be a life saver. I was happy, then, to read Ms Rapley say that the odd spoon feeding or soft food isn’t harmful, but never allowing a child to roll lumpy food around their mouths, or having them always sucking the food off the spoon to the back of the mouth could delay chewing.
She goes on to explain that babies have never needed purÃ©es, but because they were being weaned on to solids before they were ready (i.e. 3 or 4 months) it was assumed to be the only way. Since we now know that babies shouldn’t really have solids until about 6 months, it becomes easier to understand why they don’t really need solids â€“ by six months they are able, if given the opportunity, to feed themselves.
A few other bonuses of BLW mentioned in the book that I had not thought about before are:
The only downside to BLW is the mess. And boy, can it be messy.
When we started in March, I made this video of our first solids attempt for our far off family. Watch how she devours those courgettes.
There’ll be more soon. Watch this space!