Baby Led Weaning and Daycare is by Flick Frankish at Baby Vine.
The decision to start solid food through baby led weaning with my daughter ended up being a really easy one for us.
It was a method I had never even heard of before I fell pregnant with Cassie, and the first time I came across it. I wasn’t convinced. It went against everything I knew about feeding a baby and how to introduce them to new foods. Then I met my daughter.
You wouldn’t believe it now but Cassie was born a whopping 4.15kg and was a very lazy baby. It worked in our favour though, as it meant to she was a great sleeper.
I had done all my research into it and knew if we started off with spoon feeding, I would still be spoon feeding Cassie at the age of 10. She loved having things handed to her and this way I was going to let her figure things out on her own. The best thing was, she wouldn’t know any better.
It was a scary journey to enter into. They warn you about the differences between gagging and choking. While the former is completely harmless, it is entirely terrifying to watch.
It took some getting used to, but before long, we were amazed at how fast Cassie’s hand-eye coordination developed and how much she loved digging into the food on her own. What we didn’t factor into our journey, was convincing others to follow our wishes when they were caring for Cassie.
Not everyone was on board
My parents were the first ones we faced challenges with. They had never heard of baby led weaning and were nervous about the concept of it, and also didn’t really understand the benefits. They were of the view that the traditional method worked for them four times over, so why change it?
I explained the benefits over and over to them in the hope it would sink in but I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. Instead, I took to providing foods that were very easy finger foods, like muffins and cucumber strips.
They were foods I knew would be easy for Cassie to eat that my parents didn’t have to worry about her choking on. Did I overcome this one successfully? Sadly, no. A year later my mum admitted that she would always spoon feed Cassie when I left hers as she was far too scared to do otherwise.
Baby Led Weaning and Daycare
The second challenge came when Cassie started daycare.
Thankfully, they were much more receptive to it, but we had to work on it. When I first told them about our approach, they weren’t convinced at all. While they understood the concept, when they looked over at my 10-month-old daughter playing happily they weren’t able to connect the two. I decided to stay for the first mealtime and the director sat in with us to hear all about it. It was a good one too: fried rice.
All the other babies at the table were being spoon fed and loving it. Cassie picked up her spoon and went for gold. The teachers were amazed that such a little thing could feed herself so capably.
Near the end of the bowl, one of the teachers instinctively leaned over to start spoon feeding the rest of it. She was greeted with a rude shock when Cassie fought for her bowl back!
I had to translate for Cassie and explain that things were about to get very messy, but she would still like to do it on her own. Sure enough, the spoon was discarded and hands reached in for the leftovers. Looking over at the other kids and their neat bowls and almost no spillage, I suddenly felt really embarrassed.
How did they react?
Was I asking too much of a daycare? There was rice everywhere!
The director was far too excited to care. She loved the whole concept of baby led weaning and watching Cassie eat had helped her understand it even further.
After that initial visit, I knew I would have no problems with day care continuing her journey. Being able to show them just how capable Cassie was helped the most. It is one thing to explain a concept to other people and another to actually show them.
We plan to do the same with baby number two and it’s nice knowing Cassie has already paved the way and things should be easier next time around. Except with my parents, we might have to work on them!
How did you manage baby led weaning and daycare with your little one?