Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baby Babble V2: Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning

Isobel started eating solids at about 51/2 months, she's now just gone 7 months & has been eating like a champ. Like a good mum I followed all the correct advice (start with fruit/veg, make runny puree's & gradually move to mashes, avoid dairy etc etc). I had also been reading The contented little baby book where the author Gina Ford gets you to follow quite strict routines in order to make sure your baby progresses to solids well, she mentions a bit about making sure you move quickly after 6 months introducing certain foods & dropping milk feeds in order for solids "not to be rejected." With a hint of mum paranoia (we've all been there) I started fretting a little about moving Isobel to three meals a day & increasing the amounts she was having as well as fretting that I was feeding her too much breast  milk & not at the right times etc etc. Gina Ford talks a lot about the timing & amount of feeding whether it be breastfeeding or solids being integral to the baby taking the right amount in order to sleep through the night. For example, she suggests not feeding your baby breast milk after  2.30pm so that they take a huge feed at 6.30pm before they go to bed. She also warns off feeding your baby solids around 5pm/6pm in the early days so that they're not too full for their last milk drink. Like a lot of baby "professionals" out there she has turned feeding your child into a science. I'm beginning to see that too much information is not always a good thing & can lead to more paranoia rather than making it easier.
Anyway, this rant is leading somewhere.
So, I've been feeding Isobel purees for a couple of months & wondering where you go from here. What can I start feeding her? Will dairy kill her? When can I start feeding her mashes?
This is about where Baby Led Weaning entered my life via the new River Cottage Baby & Toddler Book that I received as a gift from a friend of mine. The River cottage philosophy is simple; self-sufficiency, food integrity, and the consumption of local, seasonal produce. You can read all about them here but I've always been a fan of Hugh's cooking shows & secretly want to live the life he does. The new baby cookbook is big on Baby Led Weaning, a new approach to feeding your child that shuns the traditional way of feeding with purees & focusing more on finger foods & letting the baby decides how/what & how much it eats. Pretty much anything is a go for kids over 6months apart from a few foods like honey & shellfish & there is no reason why little babies can't join in on the family meals.

How have I changed my way of feeding Isobel?
Well, I've stopped worrying about how much food I'm feeding Isobel. Instead I'm focusing on breastfeeding as much as I was before & just giving Isobel the chance to enjoy some healthy, varied & FUN food during the day. She sits in on breakfast, lunch & dinner where I'll give her much of what we're eating: Toast, Vege & fruit sticks & mashed food like fish pie.
Basically, I just put a bit of everything on her high chair & she picks & chooses what she wants to eat. It's freaking hilarious watching her try new foods. The face she pulls is to die for.

She hasn't choked, she's putting on weight & sleeping through the night again so I must be doing something right.

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