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Baby Led Weaning – What’s It All About?

01/08/2013 | Nutrition, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

New parents and grandparents are probably hearing a lot nowadays about baby led weaning so we’re taking a look at what it’s all about.  Researchers have found that babies usually start reaching for food at the age of about six months which is also the time that most mums are encouraged to begin weaning their baby.  Baby led weaning just means that baby feeds him/herself right from the start.  No playing aeroplanes with spoons, just hoping that baby opens his mouth at the right moment.  Babies now feed themselves!

Hand your baby suitably sized pieces of food and they eat it if they like and don’t if they don’t like it.  Apparently, babies are ready to try just about everything and like an awful lot of really strong flavours that we traditionally avoid giving them!  This means no more buying and preparing special food for baby – just let baby join in and eat whatever you’re having that day. 

No more mashing up vegetables and liquidizing meat, no pureeing and ricing whatever you’ve cooked.  No more making your food blander so that it’s not too strong for baby – baby likes what you like.

I must admit the first time I saw my little granddaughter picking up raspberries and smearing them all over her face and clothes (she did get them in her mouth as well), I was horrified.  I felt like picking her up and rushing her to the sink to wash her face.  Then I noticed how much she was enjoying herself and how she was delighting in popping the raspberries in her mouth and relaxed.  My daughter has a washing machine and I gave her some tips on getting fruit stains out of clothes – if my daughter can be so chilled about it, so can I. 

Since then my granddaughter has gone on to join in the family meal every evening, eating curries, spicy Mexican dishes and good old pork chops (to my particular chagrin – I’m a lifelong vegetarian and seeing her gnawing on a chop bone was a bit much).  It seems that baby led weaning introduces little ones to great flavours at an early age, meaning faddy eaters are becoming a thing of the past.  If you’re considering baby led weaning there are loads of great places online to go for advice and encouragement – just Google it and see.

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