This has been such a beautiful journey, watching my little girl understand food and what to do with it. This way of feeding my little one was a struggle for some family members to understand, although as time went on, it became clear.
Starting with a piece of Avocado when she was 6 months, which was actually her first Christmas dinner. This was the first time she had put something in her mouth that was food, I so wonder what going through her mind when she realised that this wasn’t plastic, metal or wood. There was a bit of gagging, which at the time sounded like choking, but after research the difference between choking and gagging, I was more used to the sound. As time went one she would be more inquisitive of food and want to taste all sorts of things including non-food items. the amount of paper I had to remove from her mouth is laughable.
She is now 18 months and eating regularly as well as breastfeeding throughout the day. She will eat almost anything and goes through stages of liking one thing, then not liking it, then liking it again. This can be quite frustrating when trying to figure out what she will eat that day.
She feeds herself with a spoon, she drinks from a cup with no lid. She can only do this because we gave her the opportunity to learn without worrying.
Here are 6 tips to begin baby-led weaning in the right mindset:
1. Start with one or two pieces of fruit or veg.
This is something new for your little one and they won’t suddenly eat everything you give them (some babies might). At the first stages of baby-led weaning, they will explore this new item in their world.
2. Things will get messy.
Unfortunately, with this way of feeding baby, food will get everywhere. Get a plastic sheet under the table to catch most of the food. If you have a dog, then it’s their lucky year. Put a full body bib on or just have baby in a nappy and give them a bath after. This all depends on the food, but with the way they investigate the world, its something you just have to accept.
The type of bib that will work.
3. If they don’t like it the first time, try, try again.
Don’t be disheartened if your baby doesn’t like vegetables, they do. Try again and again and again. Most people have to taste things at least 8 times before they know if they like it or not. These flavours are completely new to your little ones. Bitter, sweet, salty, sour.
4. Stick to fruit, veg and legumes in the beginning.
There is no need to give you baby any food that we as adults are trying to give up in certain times of our lives. Like bread. Bread is addictive, have you ever tried to give it up. I try every day. Take-away chips, yes its potato but it’s been deep fried. So much oil. Of course, they want what you have, does mean you must give it to them. Iv heard many mums say, that I just could say no. But then we say no when it’s a glass of wine.
Starting babies with healthy and nutrition food helps them be stable adults in the future.
5. No need to stop breastfeeding.
The only way I know my little one is getting everything she needs is by breastfeeding throughout the process of baby-led weaning. I trust my baby fully to know what she needs. WHO recommends exclusively breastfeeding till 6months, then introducing food while still breastfeeding till they are at least 2.
6. They will show signs of being full, and it won’t be an empty plate.
Most of us have grown up in a world that what is put in front of you must be eaten, this would most certainly override our stomachs signals. Baby and toddlers stop eating when they have had enough, sometimes showing signs like wriggling, throwing food on the floor, asking for other things. Let’s respect their decisions on their bodies. When they are done, remove the plate and let them get on with what they were doing. While you just beginning baby-led weaning, your little one will probably not eat much anyway. This is fine. As they get older, they tend to eat more.
These are just a few tips to get you into the right mindset for baby-led weaning.
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