Earlier this year I wrote about this new-fangled baby led weaning – my little granddaughter had just started eating ‘real’ food – and, boy was it real! The first thing she tried was a pork chop that she just grabbed out of my daughter’s hand and started chomping on furiously as soon as she’d had the first taste. Since then, she’s gone on to enjoy Mexican food, sausages with mustard, tsatsiki and sword fish, to name just a few of the varied foods she’s tried. She’s never had pureed baby food – she just has some of what her mum and dad are eating, joining in completely.
As a grandmother watching all this, I can see that it totally makes sense. The baby eats just about everything that she’s handed and is unlikely to become a fussy eater in the future – she just seems to enjoy every single item that’s handed to her, including really spicy foods. As a vegetarian, I must admit that I’m pretty horrified to see her gnawing away on a chunk of steak before she even has teeth! I’m also a pragmatist though, and brought my own kids up eating meat as I didn’t think it would be cool to make the ‘vegetarian decision’ for them – I’ve tried to bring them up to be open-minded about everything and make their own decisions on stuff. So I do approve of the baby eating meat, it’s just a bit strange to see such a tiny little girlie being so blatantly carnivorous, but funny too.
The mess we can all get into is quite something. Baby led weaning means letting baby feed herself with her hands. Basically, she’s exploring food in the same way in which she explores everything around her – by squishing it, squashing it, smearing it and putting it in her mouth. It’s quite fascinating to watch and she gets pretty grubby. So does just about everybody and everything around her. But it’s only food (and she’s enjoying it so enthusiastically) and the cleanup operation is quite quick. A couple of wet wipes for the baby (and whoever’s been sharing food with her), a quick wipe down of the table and sweep of the floor and everything’s clean again.
Having watched this baby led weaning in action, I can say I’m thoroughly impressed. My little granddaughter is eating loads of really healthy food, thoroughly enjoying a huge range of flavours and textures and developing healthy eating habits alongside a healthy appetite. I’ve never seen such a small child eat so well or with such sheer enjoyment.