Thea Mabel is our third child. With my eldest we did traditional weaning. I spent an afternoon a week cooking and blending food to put into little pots for my freezer. He had pots of blended broccoli and peas progressing onto full dinners in a pot. He is now the best little eater, loves his dinner and vegetables and most fruits.
I had heard of Baby Led weaning by the time it came to first foods two years later for my second child. The general idea appealed to me. Feed the baby what you are eating. Don’t bother with any foods until 6 months and no blending or spoon feeding. It promised less fussy eating, reduced risk of obesity in the longer run and improved fine motor skills.
So we went with it. And it was fantastic. He sat in his highchair exploring food, tasting it and we were delighted. He knawed on corn cobs, raw cucumber, hummus and blueberries. He even loved to snack on chickpeas.
However at 18 months he became more fussy and he refused to eat anything except what he wanted, which was bread, yoghurt and sweet things.
Over the following year we tried many ways to encourage him to eat a healthy diet; reducing snacks, letting him help with food preparation and food art. The only way of getting healthy food into him was hiding vegetables and fruit in his food, which ironically involved a lot of blending.
After much experimenting and cajoling, now he has butternut squash hidden in his porridge and spinach in pancakes. However if the vegetables aren’t hidden, he won’t eat them.
After much consideration we decided to start with vegetable and fruit purees for Thea and progress onto finger food like we did with our first little boy. I’m happy for her to self feed and even explore textures but I’m also happy to offer the spoon at mealtimes to ensure that she is ingesting a wide range of foods and flavours.
Having read the recent research about the reduced risk of allergies if foods are introduced before six months we are starting weaning now, three weeks before Thea turns 6 months. She is sitting with support in her highchair and bringing things to her mouth.
At the end of the day, all any parent wants is what’s best for their child. It is important to me that my family eats well as I really believe that nutrition is so important for good general health. I look forward to family meals and hope that my children will develop the love that both my husband and I have for good, nutritious food.
Although my experience to date has been entirely anecdotal, for us weaning will begin with the spoon.