Thursday, 25 August 2011

Baby-led weaning: a day

Crumpets for breakfast
I'm not sure what it's like in other areas, but the support for mothers wanting to use the baby-led weaning  (BLW) approach where I live is practically non-existent - I've twice been advised by health visitors to consider using a more 'traditional' method, despite the official 'weaning class' we were given including a video explaining the BLW precepts! Some of the forums I've found are also very full of people doing BLW whilst still breastfeeding - which the Gill Rapley book also seems to favour slightly - I stopped breastfeeding at three months for a variety of reasons, but haven't found that it's been a problem combining bottle feeding and BLW. And finally, we have the hyper-sensitive skin issue to contend with too, meaning we have to very slowly and carefully introduce acidic fruits and vegetables to allow her skin to get used to it...

I thought, therefore, it might be useful to start recording my own experiences with baby-led weaning, in case it is of interest, or of help, to other mothers. Here's a sample day to start off, and I'll try and do a whole month of entries in September so you get the full flavour!

  • 7.00am Milk feed
  • 7.30am Breakfast. Crumpet (shop-bought) (first time food) (no reactions), spread with unsalted spreadable lurpak and the merest hint of some homemade plum and raspberry jelly for baby. I had more than a hint on mine!
  • 11am Milk feed
  • 1pm Lunch. Apple slices (braeburn) and Yeo Valley natural yogurt for some spoon-holding practice. She's getting quite good at this, but when she starts to tire, the spoon takes a long time to get to her mouth, by which time most of the yogurt is down her front ...

  • 2pm Whilst the baby has her nap, I prepare the food for dinner. We like to eat at 6pm and WH  doesn't get home until 5.45pm, so I need to have all the fiddly stuff out of the way whilst the baby is asleep. We're having the salmon pesto parcels recipe from the Baby-led Weaning Cookbook tonight, which will cook in 20 minutes once prepared and just needs to go into the oven so is nice and simple, and will be accompanied by some veg. Prep today involves digging up some carrots, harvesting the last of our broad beans and also cutting the first of our kale. First I make the pesto, which shouldn't be store-bought for babies as ready-made brands contain too much salt - I don't follow a recipe particularly, just chuck in a heap of basil, a small heap of Parmesan, a handful of toasted pinenuts, a crushed garlic clove and a few glugs of oil. I find that adding broad beans gives it some additional depth and in the winter you can substitute the basil for kale, which makes a surprisingly tasty pesto for pasta. Because I'm using the pesto as a coating for the salmon, I don't add as much oil as I usually would, to stop it being too runny. Then the rest of the veg needs washing and chopping, remembering to cut some veg to baby-friendly shapes.

  • 4.30pm Milk feed

  • 6pm Dinner. We started sitting down to family 'dinner' when the baby was just over five months old, to get her used to the highchair and the food 'game'. Now it's a really enjoyable part of our day - it's amazing to watch her discover new foods, and how to pick things up that are different textures. She can be really very dexterous when it's a food she's particularly enjoying. Dinner is finished off half an hour sitting listening to some of her music (we do a Kindermusik class which has an 'At Home' CD), before getting ready for bed.

  • 7.30pm Milk feed

  • NB. We give her water at the end of every 'meal' in a sippy cup, which she didn't like initially but now seems to enjoy. 

    And that's a day in relation to food, at the moment - phew!

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