Baby-led Weaning & Me

Kris Gibbons, author of the brilliant Max & Kai blog has very kindly to share her experiences with Baby-led weaning. She has some great first-hand insights into getting started, and dealing with other peoples BLW opinions:

Since choosing to wean our first child using the baby led weaning method I've come across so many other parents who would like to wean this way but are often afraid, mainly of there child choking. I totally feel where they are coming from, I felt the same in the very beginning. I overcame that fear by educating myself. I took myself and a friend for support, we attended a paediatric first aid course. This really helped me to feel a little more confident to be able to deal with any situation. That’s something I highly recommend especially if you have high levels of anxiety over gagging and choking.

Where to Start?

This is the biggest question I’ve come across on the BLW facebook groups, how to start and when to know if your child is ready to wean. The NHS recommends a weaning age of 6 months, with Max we started a little early at around 4 months (just breakfast ) but with Kai life was just that little more hectic so we waited for the full 6 months before attempting giving him real food.

With both boys I began with one meal a day for a few weeks and progressed from there, a great place to start is with baby porridge, I used to load the spoon and let the boys just try and feed themselves, warning this can get messy but is a fab way for them to learn.

You as a parent will know when your baby is ready, there is no guide, post or person who can tell you that. Trust your instincts, you ideally need your baby to be able to at least sitting upright in a highchair. I don’t recommend using or buying a Bumbo, they are a huge waste of money. I found my kid's legs were always way to chubby to fit comfortably.

We quickly progressed to breakfast and lunch then eventually adding in dinner. With my eldest Max I was totally on the ball with salt intake and no naughty foods till he was one, but with the youngest, I totally dropped the ball, my new motto when it comes to feeding my kids is everything in moderation.

Do I need to buy lots of equipment?

In a word no, you don’t need to spend fortunes on blw cookbooks all the recipes you will ever need are online. I recommended some small handled spoons and a small selection of plates and bowls. I bought one of those fancy pants grip the highchair bowls and it was pretty crap it didn’t stick, so I just use standard plates and bowls. Yes, your child will throw the plate on the floor but that’s all a part of the learning. 

We already had lots of bibs and in my opinion the bigger the better. Stock up on Vanish because babies like to get dirty, Kai particularly likes to massage his head with his dinner.  I also recommend a messy mat if you don't want your carpets/floors to be stained.

If I could give you any piece of baby led advice it would be to enjoy this moment, to savour the learning experience as your child begins their weaning journey. Have fun with it and remember that all mess can be cleaned so try not to let it stress you out.

How did the rest of your family feel about you choosing BLW?

We found many elder relatives did not really approve of the way we were feeding Max and Kai, choosing the baby led route instead of traditional purees. They really couldn’t get their heads around the idea of the kids eating what we were eating, especially before they had any teeth. 

They never really came around to the idea but soon realised that as parents to the boys we were the ones to choose how they would be weaned, that it wasn’t really up for discussion.