How to start Solid Foods with your Baby is a collaborative post.
During my first pregnancy, a phrase I seemed to run into frequently on the baby forums was “Baby Led Weaning”. So many mums were talking about how they were doing baby led weaning with their babies. It intrigued me so I started to research it more.
Baby Led Weaning, or BLW, is a phrase coined by Gill Rapley. It is the process of letting your baby feed themselves.
It’s a lot of fun to watch your baby learn to pick up food, play with it, learn to chew it and feed themselves. As you might expect, it’s also quite a messy affair – but that’s half the fun!
You might decide that you want to go 100% with baby led weaning or you might combine it with spoon feeding. It’s great to have the option of both and find out what works for your baby.
The Heinz range is a great add-on to our baby led weaning experience.
As well as showcasing their wide range of yummy and wholesome baby food with new flavours and recipes, their website offers nutritional and practical advice for me and my baby. They understand my needs as a busy parent who wants to spend more time with my children and offer advice on how to make that possible for me.
If you’re thinking about doing baby led weaning with your baby, here are some foods you might like to try in the early weeks. They are the kind of things you’ll probably have on your lunch or dinner plate.
How to start Solid Foods with your Baby
1. Cooked Vegetables such as Carrots or Sweet Potatoes
Cut the vegetables into fingers. Your baby can then grab on to them with a fist and bring them up to their mouth. Of course wait for them to cool down before you let them at it!
Cut the banana into thirds. Then peel the skin off the top half of the piece. Your baby can then hold the bottom without it slipping away and gnaw at the top.
I’ll be honest, I loathe banana. Now both of my kids love them because they ate them themselves so much early on!
3. Buttered Bread or Toast
Cut the buttered bread or toast into ‘soldiers’. Your baby can grab on to the sticks easily and bring them up to their mouth to lick at and bite.
We gave our babies almost everything that we ate ourselves from very early on. This included the above as well as (penne or pasta shapes rather than spaghetti is easier!), rice, pieces of cooked chicken, grapes cut in half etc.
The meals we eat are perfect for babies too: pasta bolognese, stir-fry, casseroles and salads.
When our babies were teething they loved gnawing on Heinz rusks. Here is some really useful information on teething:
The Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
I have found the benefits of BLW endless, the main ones being that there is no need to prepare separate food for your baby, they learn to use their pincer grip from early on and develop fine motor skills and they learn to chew their food rather than just swallow.
It’s also great that family meal times are a real family affair where everyone sits down together and eats the same food at the same time. Yes, I do sometimes eat baby rusks, oops!
Another great benefit is that there is no need for one parent to spoon feed the baby while their meal goes cold!
The biggest drawback for some is the mess. You need to prepare yourselves in the early weeks for pretty much all of the food to end up on the floor.
We used to put a large clean garbage bag down before mealtimes which kept the floor clean and meant the food that fell down didn’t get dirty so we’d pop it back on the high chair tray for the next round! No food is wasted in our house if we can help it.
Despite the mess, we found that BLW made mealtimes so much fun and a real family occasion from the get go.
The mess and the waste quickly diminish as the weeks go on and you’ll soon see your baby feeding themselves like a pro in no time.
Even before we introduced solids, we were conscious of any potential chance of choking and armed ourselves with a plan of what to do if that happened and all parents must do the same.
I would credit BLW with the fact that our two children eat anything put in front of them. They have had such variety from when they were 6 months old and they love food. It makes our life so easy.
Alternatives to Baby Led Weaning
There are also times when Baby Food comes in handy too. We’ll give most of what we’re eating ourselves to our children but if we crave a hot curry or a spicy stir-fry that isn’t appropriate for them, we’ve made them something separate or reached for a pouch of baby food.
We are often out and about and travelling in the car for long distances and if there has been nothing fresh or appropriate to give them to eat, we take pouches or packets of baby food with us.
We always reach for Heinz Baby Food, a brand that has been loved and trusted by mums all over the world for 60 years for the quality and nutrition of their range. The range caters for babies from 4 months to the toddler years so is perfect for both of our children.
Heinz use carefully selected and nutritious high quality ingredients. Their apples, pears and peaches come from Goulbourn Valley. Their farm fresh pumpkins from country Victoria. All meats are from trusted suppliers throughout Australia. Their steamed cooked recipes are lovingly prepared in country Victoria.
All recipes are created in Heinz’ own specialist baby food factory. They are approved by nutritionists who are passionate about flavour and mums themselves.
I have so much confidence in the Heinz baby food range. It’s preservative free, high quality and tasty. My babies enjoy the variety of their range.
Introducing solids to babies by doing baby led weaning or pureeing food is your choice as a parent. I hope the above gives you some ideas (food for thought!) on the different options you have.
Have you tried baby led weaning with your baby?
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