BABY LED WEANING FOR BEGINNERS
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you will know that when it came to weaning Teddy, we decided to go down the baby led weaning route rather than doing “traditional” weaning. My main reasoning for this was firstly, because my sister did it with her youngest & it fascinated me! I knew than that when I had my own babies, I wanted to give it a go. Secondly, It’s so much more time & cost effective. I’m not cooking meals that I wouldn’t already (with the exception of a couple of things), I’m not having to buy copious amounts of baby jars – they aren’t exactly cheap & I’m not having to spend time in the kitchen whizzing up lots of homemade purées to store & freeze.
From day one I have given Teddy the same foods we would eat, whether that’s snacks or meals, I very rarely make anything special (except his pinwheels & yoghurt drops – who am I kidding? I love the pinwheels for myself!). I thought I would share with you my top tips & meal ideas in a sort of “Baby Led Weaning For Beginners”
PREPARE – look on Instagram, Pinterest or in recipe books for inspiration & meal ideas. Save the ones you find on Pinterest to their own board, that is what I did & then I could find them easily enough when planning meals, writing shopping lists ect. I started doing this about a month before we were due to start, just so I wasn’t going in completely blind.
HIGHCHAIR – don’t feel like you have to go out & buy the most fancy, expensive looking high chair (we have learnt our lesson!) Baby Led Weaning is MESSY! My tip is to buy a high chair without a fancy-ass cushion in! Sure, they look nice but they stain like a bitch. The ikea high chair is fab & ridiculously cheap.
*Side note: you shouldn’t attempt BLW until your baby can sit on their own, unaided for a certain length of time! This helps prevent choking.
PREP THE AREA – As soon as I put Teddy in his high chair I get his wipes, facecloth & bib ready. There’s nothing worse than disaster striking & you running round trying to grab some wipes to clean the mess up. Keep them all on hand within easy reach.
LESS IS MORE – We used to strip Teddy down to either his vest or nappy when we first started BLW, because I guarantee if you put them in a nice set of clothes, a food bomb will go off & you’ll be trying to scrub stains out of everything.
*side note: If you have any stained or marked clothes put them in the sunshine (I put them over the back of Teddy’s nursing chair in his nursery, which is in front of the window & by the next day the stains are completely gone! Trust me.
BIBS – We don’t really bother too much with bibs anymore, only if we are eating out ect but I would definitely recommend buying the full bibs, you know the ones that are like a coverall? With long sleeves, they velcro fasten at the back & cover their top half completely!
CUPS & PLATES – When Teddy first started weaning we picked up the Munchkin Miracle 360 Training Cup & the Tommee Tippee First Cup, this one is fantastic for when you first introduce water to your little one as it just flows out, that way they at least get a taste & don’t have to worry too much about figuring out how to get the water out. The Munchkin 360 is an all time favourite of mine as it doesn’t leak! It’s honestly the snazziest thing ever (you know you’re a mum when you find a kids cup snazzy…). The cup uses lip activation around the rim & it knows to let the liquid out. The spout free technology is also better for their teeth!
*side note: Up until 12 months old, you should give your baby cool, boiled water to drink.
FIRST AID – Brush up on your first aid, you can find really useful videos on YouTube to watch when you have a spare ten minutes. We haven’t had any choking episodes yet but I think it is important to know what to do just incase. Choking is very rare & it’s good to also google the difference between choking & gagging. Gagging is a natural thing for your baby to do when they are eating solids. I used to sit on my hands to stop myself from intervening all the time! We have been doing BLW for 7 months now & I can count on one hand the amount of times Teddy has gagged!
REMEMBER – “Food Is Fun Before One“, don’t worry if your baby is eating much before they are 12 months. Anytime before that is all about experiencing new textures & tastes. They will still be getting everything they need from their milk at this age. Your baby WILL start to eat eventually, just see it as messy & sensory play before then.
FOOD SIZE – Cut food into finger sized sticks or wedges at first! Foods such as peppers, carrot & cucumber are great for this. It means your baby can get a really good grip of the food. Also cutting meat into strips that are easy to manage. With meat we used to cut it up either into strips OR so it was very small.
PLATES – We use silicone suction plates for most of our meals, we got ours from Amazon as they worked out more affordable & they came next day with Prime. We also have a Nuby Silicone bowl which is really handy for cereal or chunky soups. I swear by the suction as they prevent baby from throwing it off, making even more mess & to be honest.. they look pretty.
ENJOY IT – I found BLW so much fun! So did Teddy and now he eats like a champ. Like I said, it’s a huge change for your baby so don’t panic if they aren’t overly keen straight away.
MEAL & SNACK IDEAS
I thought I would share our favourite meals & snacks that we gave Teddy when we first started BLW & most, we still enjoy now! They can be adapted as your baby gets older.
- Ella’s Kitchen Melty Sticks (really good length for baby to grab & literally melt in the mouth)
- Kiddylicious Wafers
- Heinz Biscotti’s
- Watermelon Wedges
- Banana (cut in half, leave some of the skin on to use as a sort of handle if you like, although we just used to cut the banana into fingers and he’d eat it that way) *side note: Banana can be quite claggy so make sure baby has a drink to help wash it down.
- Whole Strawberries, or cut into eighths.
- Flavoured Rice Cakes – we used to buy Asda’s own range, Little Angels.
- Yoghurt, on pre-loaded spoons. It can be very messy but baby LOVES it. Teddy now has frubes style yoghurts which he does himself.
- Peppers & Cucumber cut into finger sized strips.
MEAL IDEAS –
- Toast cut into soldiers (with crusts off), beans & scrambled egg.
- Omelette fingers
- Breakfast Egg Cups….recipe: whisk 3 eggs, a dash of milk, add any fillings; ham, tiny slices of tomato, mushrooms, pepper, cheese ect) put in silicone muffin tray (about 2/3 full) & cook in pre-heated oven of 200 degrees for around 20 minutes or until eggs are firm or cheese is browned. Let the cups that you aren’t going to be eating, cool completely and they can be stored in a sandwich bag in the fridge or freezer. The cups can be re-hated in the microwave!
- Baby French Toast…recipe: whisk together 2 medium eggs & a tablespoon of milk (*side note: cows milk is fine for babies under one when it is being used for cooking!) in a bowl. Get two slices of bread, remove the crusts & soak the pieces of bread BOTH SIDES in the mixture. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and melt a little butter. Once the butter is bubbling add the eggy bread and cook for around two minutes each side or until the bread is a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the pan and drain on some kitchen roll. Cut the bread into fingers & let them cool down.
- Cheese toasties (cut into strips, Teddy now has his in triangles)
- Pizza toast…recipe: toast some bread, spread tomato puree on, add cheese & put under the grill until the cheese is melted. Cut into strips.
- Pitta pizza (same concept as above except you don’t need to cook the pitta first, you just put straight under grill)
- Loaded potato skins…recipe: heat oven to 200 degrees, prick 12 baby potatoes with a fork before placing them on an oven tray for 40 minutes (or until soft). Once cooked, allow to completely cool, then cut them in half long ways & scoop out the soft filling into a bowl leaving the skins to the side. Add 50ml milk & 1tbsp of unsalted butter to your potato and mash until completely smooth! Finely chop an onion & whisk it in with potato mixture, then stir in 1 cup of steamed broccoli (finely chopped) 100ml sour cream & a handful of chives before stirring everything together effectively. Spoon the mixture back into your potato skins, sprinkle with cheese & lay on a baking tray. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.
- Curry & rice with a strip of naan bread. Teddy now loves poppadum & mango chutney to go alongside his curry!
- Chicken stir fry with lots of veggies & a prawn cracker
- Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread cut into strips
- Skinless sausages (cut in half length ways), mash, gravy & Yorkshire pudding, with veggies
- Homemade chicken nuggets & wedges
- Fish pie with broccoli florets
- Roast dinner with all the trimmings
- Mini shepherd’s pie
- Chinese chicken curry (we pick up a powdered Chinese curry sauce from B&M/Poundland by the brand Mayflower and it tastes incredible! I usually serve this with homemade egg fried rice. I used to have this recipe when I was on Slimming World.)
I really hope you liked this post! If you have any questions about any of the things I’ve mentioned or about Baby Led Weaning For Beginners, you can DM me on Twitter, Instagram or email me! I am happy to help.