It’s been a while since I last wrote something about the kids (especially when it comes to eating) so I thought today I’d share some of the things I love about baby-led weaning.
Before Ottilie came along I’ll admit I did have ideas about how we’d raise her and how things would be. I wanted to breastfeed, I wanted to try babywearing and I wanted to go down the baby-led weaning route. Two of these things have been amazing… I still don’t quite get on with babywearing.
When it comes to food, our little lady’s a wonderful eater – especially compared to her big brother who’s the fussiest eater I’ve met. She’ll join us at the table for family meals, asks for everything we try and will happily give new foods a go. It’s been such a huge change from our eldest (who will refuse fish fingers most days, even though he likes them) and our baby-led weaning experience has been a total joy.
I realised that I don’t share enough of the good times, the things about parenting that I’m going through right now and enjoy, so here’s 7 things I love about baby-led weaning.
Make sure you leave a comment at the end with what you love about it too!
This is one of my favourite things about it – it’s a lot of fun. Yes, it’s a bit messy (not hugely though, I’ll go onto that next) but I love that mealtimes are a bit of a game, a lively time of day where there’s tons of smiles, giggles and roars. Our little girl really enjoys being offered food, picking it up, rolling it around on her highchair tray and the excitement of eating something new. Seeing that joy is infectious.
It’s not as messy as I thought it would be
I wish I was one of those mums who didn’t care if the carpet ended up with bolognaise sauce on it but I am (sorry!). I live for the days where we have a kitchen/diner with wipe-clean flooring. Despite that, baby-led weaning hasn’t been the all-out mess extravaganza that I was expecting. We might be lucky in that she’s not at that throwing food stage yet, or maybe it’s because we offer her small portions at a time, but food doesn’t end up all over the walls. I will say we’ve skirted around the carpet issue by laying vinyl fabric underneath the table and that’s helped my stress levels somewhat, but even without it I reckon we’d have dodged food-related catastrophes.
If you want some PVC fabric too we found ours at Dunelm.
Family mealtimes are quick and easy
Now that we’ve got a dining table (and it’s not cluttered with paperwork) I really love sharing family meals together. I think it’s helped Oscar explore new foods too, watching us and being surrounded by us eating them… and reminding him that his baby sister’s eaten a fishcake so why can’t he. As well as helping our biggest overcome some of his fussy eating, I really do think that baby-led weaning has meant our mealtimes are more fun and easy to deal with. There’s no faffing about warming up jars of food or wondering which colour packet to spoon up – we just sit down and pass Otti whatever’s on our plate. I love a good time-saver and I’m pretty sure not having to prepare a separate dish is up there with my favourites.
You can pack light for day trips
I’m amazed at how much lighter my changing bag is this time around. Thanks to breastfeeding I don’t have to walk around armed with an array of bottles and pre-mixed formula, and because we’re doing baby-led weaning I don’t need to carry baby food either. I’m all for convenience and not having to carry lots of things. For snacks I pack some of Oscar’s favourites (like these Astro Bites) and if we’re out over lunch we’ll share a meal.
Sometimes I do pack a puree pouch if we’re going out for lunch as something to enjoy on toast – Ottilie loves the Babease range.
With a toddler who wouldn’t eat anything the slightest bit lumpy, our food bill with Oscar was pretty huge thanks to buying lots of baby food jars. I’m so glad we don’t have that problem this time around. One of the things I appreciate most about baby-led weaning is that it doesn’t cost us any extra. With lots of things to save for (like driving lessons!) I’m trying to cut costs where I can, and being able to make savings on the weekly food shop is so valuable. It’s arguably less of a cost issue if you’re patient and amazing enough to make your own puree, but I definitely wouldn’t be.
No extra steps or confusion
After going down the traditional weaning route with our first and baby-led weaning this time around, it feels like traditional weaning (with purees, then lumpy purees, then food) is adding in an extra step that you don’t really need. Babies become toddlers and eat ‘proper food’ soon enough, after all. I find the marketing and packaging for traditional weaning foods confusing and even worrying at times too – foods that are suitable from four months (which none should be!), six months, nine months, 12 months, 18 months… and it goes on. Can your 9 month old eat a food that’s 12m+? You don’t face those kinds of questions with baby-led weaning. While there’s a few things to consider (food safety, watching out for allergies, no honey etc.) it’s mostly anything goes – which is welcomingly simple.
It reduces the chance of developing fussy food habits
Well, hopefully. There’s a theory that by introducing babies to different textures, tastes and foods early and regularly you can try and avoid fussy eating habits developing. Enjoying mealtimes as a family and playing with food are meant to help too. Sometimes it’s a totally individual thing and some kids will be fussy and others adventurous with food, but I’ll take any chance I can to encourage a healthy, varied diet for our little one.
I know that there’s so many more reasons to love baby-led weaning, so I’d love if you’d share one or two of yours in the comments. If you’re a fan of traditional weaning instead it’d be lovely to hear why you love that too – this is a judge-free zone!
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