Starting solids can often be quite stressful for new mums. Unsure of what and how much to feed them. Whether to purée your own food or buy pre-made items from the supermarket. What if there was an even a simpler solution? That took no more effort than what you were already doing. A solution that was fun and enjoyable for everyone and put the baby in charge of meal time. Well that’s exactly what we did when we ventured on our Baby Led Weaning (BLW) journey with Hunter Feeding has been such a stress free and fun experience with Hunter and it could be for you too.
At around 5 months, during dinner one night he reached onto my plate and grabbed a fist full of sweet potato and shoved it into his mouth. His eyes lit up and feet started to kick with excitement. I knew then it was time to start. No book or health nurse could tell me when it was time for solid food, only he could and he did!
The three key principles of baby led weaning are they feed themselves, they eat what you eat and when you eat. It’s that simple. Baby becomes a part of meal time enjoying the same food that the rest of the family is eating and no one misses out on enjoying a hot meal because they are spoon feeding a baby. But what if they choke I hear you scream? Give the babies a little credit, they are designed to survive. The have an excellent gag reflex that prevents chocking from happening as easily as one might think. Obviously don’t make the pieces to small and it will be okay. They also need to be able to wrap their fist around the food and put it in their mouth so a chip shape is ideal.
No food is off limits, he’s had curry, pickles, green smoothies, nut butters, olives, noodles, rice paper rolls, all fruits and vegetables, dip and biscuits (hummus wins every time, definitely my son) and all sorts of spices and flavour. This list in endless. Anything we eat, he eats. The flavour isn’t altered at all. At the moment he’ll eat anything, and hopefully this sticks. They say ‘food is fun until they’re one’ so I’ll keep you updated on his food preferences. But for now he is enjoying eating anything that comes his way.
Only downside...a lot of mess. But hey, that’s what Labradors are for right? Shadow, our 2-year-old lab, has been enjoying her share of family meal time as well. The mess doesn’t last as long as you would think though. 3 months in and already Hunter isn’t making as much mess as he did at the start as he has learnt quickly that food goes in your mouth and not around it. Save clean up till the end though as you’ll be cleaning the whole time and that’s not fun for you or the baby.
Our extended family took a little convincing as both of us were fed the traditional way with a spoon and purée. 3 months later though and both sides of the family are well and truly converted. My mother-in-law is constantly impressed by the variety of food he eats and loves. He’ll eat her cooking every time, but who wouldn’t? My mum has also mentioned that his fine motor development is vastly ahead of where ours were as babies due to the fact that if he wants food he has to pick it up and navigate it on his own without help. She now raves about BLW to others and would recommend it to any new mumma.
Hunter is in control at mealtime - we simply watch and offer more food as he finishes. Trusting him has taken the pressure off us as parents, we can’t read his mind but we can read his signals. He’ll tell when he’s had enough or when he wants more, we just have to listen.
If you’re interested in giving BLW a go invest in an easy clean high chair and give this a read. It’s an easy read that clearly outlines the benefits and concerns of BLW and will help you decide if this is the right journey for you and your family.