The weaning diaries | Why I won’t be doing Baby led Weaning

I have always said that once Austin starts eating a reasonable amount at each meal time, I would start to make my own food for him. Pouches can be so expensive to use full time, plus your baby will be stuck with your home cooking all their life so it’s nice to get them used to the taste of your own personal style early on. Nearly a month after we started weaning, that time has come! Austin was busy this morning in his Jumperoo so I got cooking. Today’s choice for the freezer was a tomato and cheese pasta bake with onions, garlic, sweetcorn, peas, leeks and green beans. I made enough to feed around 5 adults and spooned it into lots of baby sized tupperware before cooling and popping into the freezer.

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The texture of my puree is very rustic – we don’t do food that looks as though you should be drinking it in this house! I’m also not interested in full on baby led weaning either – spaghetti bolognese on my carpet, in Austin’s hair and up the walls is something that’s definitely not for me. This leaves us somewhere inbetween with pureed food but ones that are lumpy, gritty and full of texture. I’d say the one I made today has the same appearance as that of a 10 month Ella’s pouch or baby food jar.

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Austin had to wean early due to reflux so even though he’s just 5 and a half months old he has been eating solids for 1 month now. I did use super runny stuff at first since he started so young, but as soon as that runs out in a couple of weeks he’ll be on my homemade lumpy puree straight away. Even though I’m not going in for the full BLW experience (I genuinely think that would send me and my tidy house around the twist), I will of course be giving Austin breadsticks, rice cakes and other finger foods to hold himself. I don’t really see any difference between giving lumpy puree and giving a child pieces of whole food if you were BLW. With BLW, they’ll gnaw off chunks and would sometimes end up swallowing far bigger lumps that are in my purees so I’m sure Austin will cope just fine. I really want him to get used to texture early on to avoid fussiness.

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As a nanny I came across so many fussy eaters – some children would refuse to eat for their parents full stop. Others would wake up at 3am every single night demanding Petit Filou. Not a chance that’s happening in my house! I’m sure Austin will try to push my buttons as he gets older but something that will always stay with me after a decade of nannying is never giving into things like that in the first place and it won’t become a habit. A child will not starve by refusing the odd meal or two, so what I won’t be doing is cooking him 3 different options at lunchtime just to make sure he has something in his tummy – I’m mean like that!

If Austin refuses to eat in a temper, I will pop his lunch in the fridge and he’ll be served it again reheated for supper. I’m sure he’d be hungry enough to give in by that time and if not, the game continues! I’m old fashioned in that sense – if Austin likes cottage pie usually but has a strop one day demanding beans on toast instead, hell would freeze over before I gave in. Sometimes I hear people saying “My 4 year old ONLY eats pasta and red sauce”. I can hear the nanny in me screaming “THAT’S BECAUSE YOU KEEP SERVING IT!” I know there are of course many different factors for why parents give in – an easy life, exhausted and stressed, to keep the child happy or to get some food inside them so they sleep well etc, which I can totally understand as being a parent is not easy.

I guess I see myself as fortunate to have spent so long as a nanny – it has given me the confidence to know that if you stick to your guns, it is possible to achieve a healthy, varied eater and a well behaved child at meal times. I do know that with all the will in the world some kids will still end up terrors with food, but I will make sure I do everything I can to avoid mealtimes becoming a warzone where Austin wins. He can push his luck all he likes but he’ll soon learn that whinging and demanding different options will get him nowhere with his mean old mum! I have to say though, I’m not always a battleaxe – every mealtime where he eats nicely, he’ll be showered in praise for eating so well, trying new foods and so on. In my experience this has proved great for encouraging children and teaching them that mealtimes are a positive thing that should be enjoyed.

So far I am very lucky that Austin has eaten everything I’ve given him happily. He’s tried all kinds of tastes so far – garlic, herbs, onions – he even has curry to try next week!

Are you weaning your baby with BLW or going to down the puree route? Good luck with whichever you choose!

Thanks for reading

hannah

 

 

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51 thoughts on “The weaning diaries | Why I won’t be doing Baby led Weaning

  1. Great post – I truly believe that we should do whatever works for us and our babies, whether that be purees, blw or something in between. I started of with traditional puree weaning with my LG and we weren’t getting on very well with that so we switched to blw. I wrote a post a post about it here if you’re interested: http://www.tinyfootsteps.co.uk/2014/11/why-weve-switched-to-baby-led-weaning.html

    I can’t stand the mess but aside from that it works for us and it sounds like your way is working for you and Austin too. 🙂 Enjoy this exciting time.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

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    • Ooh thanks Jenna ill have a read! You’re right -it’s different for everyone and the only reason I can be so certain of my route is that I’ve weaned babies for so many years already. If I hadn’t, I’m sure I’d be like most parents playing with both methods and seeing what works best. Sounds like you’ve got your way sorted too! Glad BLW is working for you guys 🙂 xx

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  2. For me one of the most important things about blw was that my child eats proper food and knows what he is eating rather than having it all in one colour or mush. I also like being able to eat as a family without one of us having to spoon feed rather than all enjoying our meals together.

    I’m not sure I agree with ‘showering praise’ for eating nicely or trying new foods, my son eats nicely and tries whatever I offer without any fuss. Obviously I say well done for trying to use cutlery etc as a new skill though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I’m not saying create fuss, just to keep the good comments up to encourage eating well. Everyone likes to be told they’re doing a great job after all! The thing that I dislike about BLW is that I don’t want to teach him to play with his food, only to get to 2 years old and tell him off for eating cottage pie with his hands! I don’t mind it being mush for now as once he’s older he will have a good grasp on individual foods. Plus, I’ll still be giving him finger foods like sandwiches etc to hold and enjoy – just not hot food that should be a meal. But the beauty of it all is that we all have different opinion as what works for one won’t work for another

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      • It’s actually a common misconception that baby led weaning will lead to children not using cutlery correctly! My 2 year old has perfected using forks spoons and bowls since she was teeny and she has been baby led weaned since 6 months. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think enough importance is given to the connection between self feeding / use of cutlery and speech development. I’m not sure why but for some reason they go hand in hand. My blw daughter was far better at cutlery (aged 1) and more articulate (still far ahead of her peers) than my non blw son. I don’t think this is an accident, and I’m a bow convert now. I also believe that much “fussiness” can be attributed to lip and tongue ties which go undiagnosed so many times. Children communicate their needs in non verbal ways and it makes me sad if those very obvious cues go ignored.

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    • Each to their own and everyone has their own opinions totally. I studied child development and nannied professionally full time for 10 years so am very confident in my way of feeding as I’ve studied it. I noticed my son had tongue tie at a week old so you’re right they do go undiagnosed. Each to their own with regards to feeding though. Peace kids ✌

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  4. Traditional, or Puree, weaning is great for the short term. For ease and mess reasons it is almost certainly what I would opt for.
    However, BLW is shown to help create positive food associations alongside the advanced cutlery use/speech it can encourage. Considering the long term, there was no question about how I would wean.
    I like to eat with my daughter so it’s great not to have to manage her plate as well as my own.
    The main reason I chose BLW, however, was because of a baby’s gag reflex. It makes BLW a much safer way to wean IMO.

    Liked by 2 people

    • All good opinions everyone 🙂 some days – as I mentioned in the post I have weaned babies for 10 years from birth to 5 years so am quote happy with how ill wean 🙂 Great to see everyone doing a mixture though!

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      • No, you’re grand, wasn’t suggesting you should change your mind. Though I should add that by long term I meant into adulthood, not just out of nappies 😉
        Would genuinely be interested in your thoughts about the gag reflex though, as Ive never understood why it’s not a higher priority aspect of the weaning decision? I may be missing something.

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      • That the gag reflex is further forwards in babies than adults. At 6 months it is about half way towards the front of the mouth, meaning that as soon as something uncontrolled goes past that, they gag and reject it. The gag reflex moves back to the “normal” place by the age of approx one, regardless of how/when/if you wean.
        The theory of BLW being safer is that the gag reflex is tested and managed whilst it is safely forward, rather than when it starts to move further back to the entrance of their throat. Also that purees can be more dangerous because it is more difficult to get smooth out of your mouth than a lump.
        Learning that encouraged me to help my child learn whilst it was safer, rather than missing that opportunity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh I understand what you mean, sorry! No i didn’t factor it in but had I not weaned any babies before I think I would have definitely thought about it if it was my first time as I wouldn’t have known what to expect. I think that because I’ve fed so many babies by spoon before and all have been successful so am confident to carry on now I’m a mum. I never encountered much gagging with purees – the odd time maybe. I think if I had though, I may have thought twice about purees if BLW was better for it. 🙂

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  5. So interesting to read everyone’s weaning journeys! We started about 6 weeks ago – a mix of BLW and spoon feeding (read all about it here if you’re interested http://yummyblogger.com/2014/11/28/weaning-a-month-on-3-meals-a-day-proteins-and-poos/) we’re SO lucky it’s not toooo messy yet – but I haven’t started with things like spag bol yet, I can imagine it will be chaos! I like your idea of making batches of things like pasta bakes, that’s what I want to do next is ‘meals’ like that as opposed to just random bits of food! Keep us posted 🙂 x

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    • Ahh thanks for reading yummy!! It’s lovely to cook meals to freeze -if I have another baby I may not get the time but hope I manage to. It’s great as when I’m dashing out of the house I can grab a meal out of the freezer and know I have a nice hearty meal ready for him at lunch. Good luck with your cooking! 🙂 x

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  6. I used to love cooking up tasty purees for my first child and enthusiastically bought tonnes of little freezer tubs and enjoyed all the batch cooking. With child 2 it simply wasn’t practical to make seperate meals and feed the baby seperately and he was BLWd. He loved it, and eats just as diverse ranges of foods as his sister. His table manners are immaculate in comparison to my puree weaned child, who to be honest eats like a wild animal. I did enjoyed the puree stuff but I wouldn’t do it again. Ever.

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    • I’m surprised at myself really as I would usually go for the chilled out try it themselves option but have to say I love feeding purees! For my second I may not do it the same as I’ll have 2 children at meal times but I plan to puree -if it doesn’t go that way with a 2nd or 3rd baby I don’t mind, I’ll do what’s best at the time 🙂 xx

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  7. Oh no, now I’m even sadder :’-(
    It seems that there is no love, no compassion, no understanding? That its all “kid, you’re doing it my way or not at all”? I’ve learnt a hell of a lot in my last 10 years as a parent and the most important one is to look and listen, and the second most important is that I am NOT always right. Studies are only as good as the material that is read, and best practice changes continuously. Babywearing, breastfeeding and baby led weaning are increasing year on year – why? Not because it’s studied in great depth by anyone teaching child development courses (though they should) but because they encourage bonding, empathy, non verbal communication and a gentle way of parenting. I see the early me in you, wanting all to be ordered, perfect, predictable. How wrong I was and how I wish my eyes had been opened earlier. Luckily we now have facebook (where was facebook when I needed it 10 years ago!). Children have such an enormous capacity to teach us, not the other way round. PS I’m not a “kid”. In fact I’m VERY OLD. I could probably be your mummy I’m so old.

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    • It’s a phrase, I wasn’t actually calling you a Child so don’t worry. It’s fine that we have different opinions – it’s also OK that you were wrong and your eyes hadn’t been open earlier, but I’m not new at this -I’ve done proxy parenting for 10 years so I’m used to every part of what’s to come – we can all do it different ways and that’s absolutely fine. I enjoy puree feeding and don’t want to baby wear either, but that’s ok – we all do things differently! 🙂 Your thoughts are great for you but it’s also ok that ill do things my way 🙂

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  8. As a registered childminder, eldest of 6 children who has helped to bring up many many children within my family,please believe me when I say that nothing prepares you for having your own. The first 6 months aren’t too bad but it only gets harder after that. Having two children is a whole other story and I didn’t realise half the mistakes I’d made with my first till I had my second (including not being an attachment parent).

    It sounds unbelievably condescending of you to keep mentioning how many years you were a nanny. These women are mothers. They don’t get to hand the baby back at the end of the day and go home for a rest, as you should know. Stop acting like you know better than everyone!

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    • Oh upsy daisy I’m not trying to be condescending whatsoever! Obviously everyone has their own experiences and it was more a defence for myself as people were suggesting BLW is best for all sorts of reasons. I mentioned my experience since I felt people thought I was approaching this as someone with zero experience. Of course parenting is completely different and im not naive enough to think otherwise. I definitely know no better than anyone else whatsoever and would never try to protect that I do. All I was saying that pureeing is best for me – I don’t want to BLW as I don’t want him to play with his food and throw it around. I understand that is all part of it and that there are benefits and studies on how great it is etc, but I still choose to puree as it’s my choice for my son. It’s ok that I puree and it’s ok for others to BLW, I never wanted people to think I was saying otherwise. I stated about my experience as people may have thought I’d had no weaning experience at all. Everyone can make their own choices and have their own opinions and I didn’t write this post to statt a debate or tell others how to wean, so have been trying to answer sensibly to avoid getting into a back and forth of opinions. It’s great to see everyone doing it there own way so let’s leave it at that! 🙂

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  9. I didn’t like the concept of BLW so we went down the puree route, but as a first time Mum with no experience I relied on the portions in the pouches and the textures really heavily. Now I’m statring to trust my own cooking and make him meals to eat, which seems to be going well 🙂 x

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    • That’s a great idea Donna and im sure if I’d never fed a child I’d be really nervous and would look into and try all different ways! I’ve seen you feed little William and you do a fantastic job 🙂 xxx

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  10. My girls are older and especially with my eldest who’s 12 there was no such thing as baby led weaning…..People may have done it but it wasn’t a thing. I think it was because back in the olden days it was ok to give your baby purees and baby rice at 3/4 months….I think as long as you are feeding your child a healthy diet it doesn’t really matter how you do it….Each to their own x

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  11. Well Hannah I do believe you’ve had some right arses commenting here … You’re fab, an amazing mummy and you’re experience as a nanny is more than relevant. Some mummies have nothing better to do then be mean; whereas cool mummies like you and my mummy can drink wine and laugh at how ridiculous they are! Love Jaspy

    P.s tell Austin I miss him

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    • Haha Ahh thanks Jaspy! It does surprise me some of the comments – I don’t believe I once said in my post that BLW was wrong, in fact I encouraged others at the end of my post and wished them luck whether they decide to puree of BLW! Let’s encourage other mothers rather than bash them down with single minded views. It’s ok for me to puree, same as it’s ok for others to BLW. All mummies have their own choices and that’s great! Thanks for commenting – Austin misses you both too, let’s do lunch soon!! Xxx

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  12. Of course you do what you feel is best for your child. We all do. It’s the fact that you seem unable to respond to your child’s cues that disturbs me, far more than whether he eats a carrot stick, mushy carrot or semi mushy carrot. Personally I’m finding your blog a little surreal, like there’s an intractability about it, like “my way is best” regardless of what your child is trying to tell you? It matters not if you nanny or indeed parent for 100 years if you don’t SEE. And if you’re not looking you won’t see…. You may indeed be looking, only you know that, but it does not look to me that you’re SEEING. See? One day the penny might drop and you MIGHT wonder why this mad old woman was taking time out of her Friday night to see if you might SEE. It should be all about the cuddles, the love, the bonding, the look in their eyes, the communication (we used Sing and Sign – it’s amazing. Seriously.)

    Let the little children come to me. Not tell that child to do it my way, or else. See?

    I’m off to cuddle my children. Beats any form of carrot any day.

    * note – that was written hours ago but post seems to have gone missing???

    Liked by 1 person

  13. PS whilst I do think blw is better, I respect your decision despite the fact that personally I choose otherwise. What I have an issue with is the lack of tenderness and a willingness to REALLY communicate with a child. Despite your 10 years’ experience I don’t see it there. At all. I shall pray that for the sake of your son that his needs are fully taken into account and not just brushed aside as fussiness or wilfulness. Poor little mite.

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    • I know Hannah very well. We have gone through IVF together, pregnancy & now our sons are similar in age.

      I wouldn’t normally get into an online argument but I really couldn’t sit back & read your nonsense any longer!
      Hannah is the most loving & caring mum you will ever meet.
      You however are vile!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. How long would you keep reheating and giving the same dish? Just wondering from food hygiene POV but also whether he’s offered a choice – we all like to exercise some control over our lives and babies and toddlers are no different in my experience!

    Also interested in the reflux connection with early weaning, do you have any info? All 3 of my children suffer from reflux and I’m always looking for ways to improve it!

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    • Let’s not get carried away, I’m clearly not going to endanger my son’s health by reheating more times than is safe. If you read that I would never give my son a choice, that’s mad. Of course when he’s old enough to chose I will say “What do you fancy for lunch?” He can chose lots of his meals – my point was that if he has a paddy at the dinner table after being served lasagne with the rest of the family (which he usually eats and likes), all because he wants fish fingers instead, then there’s not a chance i will be standing up and going to cook fish fingers. That’s all I was saying 🙂
      Reflux isn’t something i’m going to give opinions on here I’m afraid 😦 People have jumped on me for saying i’m going to serve a bit of puree, so there’s no way I’m going to pretend I know anything medically!! However, some professionals do say early weaning helps reflux (I’m not sure if it’s the solid, heavier food staying down in their tummy..) All I know is that my paed recommended I try and it’s worked wonders for us 🙂

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  15. Thanks for sharing your experience … we’re in the throes of solids too … exciting, fun, challenging, confusing etc. We’re doing BLW but i’ve also used pouches I got for free, and fed him sometimes to reduce the mess or just because he had more that way.

    I must say that I do like the concept of BLW and wish I embraced it more fully; the mess and all. As a first time mum though, with no prior experience of different developmental stages, it’s hard to be patient and let go. Whatever the case maybe, I think you’ve got to do what works for you … ‘mum knows best’, as they say.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  16. Its funny how different babies really are. My little girl has had horrendous reflux since birth and purees made is 100 times worse. Even now at almost a year she cannot really cope with runny food like soup or yoghurts. I did traditional weaning with my first and she is the least fussy eater I know but as purees didn’t work with my second we were forced down the blw route. She is also amazing and eats anything and everything so I think maybe fussiness is due to something else, who knows really. I am not a fan of the mess at all but she eats whatever we eat and we have a very balanced diet, curries, pasta, stir fry, lasagne, casseroles etc etc you name it she has it. Much easier than standing pureeing but then the time is spent after the meal hoovering up 100s of grains of rice! Haha!!
    Anyway, glad purees work for you. I think as long as parents are open minded and the child is healthy it doesn’t matter what route you go down. xx

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    • I agree Katy thanks for sharing! Of course if Austin encounters problems later on, I’d never force purees on him if BLW was better for his tummy etc but for now while they’re going great – that’s the choice I’ve picked as it works for both of us. It’s fab you’ve had such a great diet with BLW too – love a bit of curry for babies! That’s the balance isn’t it – pureeing or tidying after BLW but everyone I’m sure would prefer one over the other which is the beauty of choice and what works best 🙂 Thanks for reading! xx

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  17. Well done Hannah, loved reading this…makes me feel good that I have a similar thought process for when our little baba arrives. I was spoon fed, ate lumpy mushed up food from the family dinner table and know learned how to use a knife and fork very quickly. I do love the assumptions made by one style being better than the other, truth is you make whatever works for you work for the baby and not the other way around, otherwise they will learn that being demanding and fussy is okay and acceptable. You keep doing what you’re doing hon, you’re doing a fab job, and I’m loving learning before I need to myself 😉

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  18. Marie, whilst I am of course open to everyone’s opinions, even if they aren’t the same as mine (after all different opinions are what make the world go round), I won’t accept people reading a post about food and then coming to the conclusion in writing on my blog that I probably don’t cuddle my son enough and that he is a ‘poor little mite’. This is my own personal space online and whilst i encourage comments, debate and different opinions, I do not encourage personal parenting attacks. You may see your comment as merely a view, but I’m not certain that from one post on a bit of puree you can make so many assumptions.
    You say it’s all about cuddles, love, looking in their eyes – but what you don’t know, is that is exactly how I spend my entire day. I can’t get enough of bonding wih my son and making him giggle! Another huge factor into why I puree!!! When I feed Austin my attention is purely on him and I am looking right at him and facing his highchair. He grins at me inbetween every mouthful and it is the greatest time to bond!
    I am absolutely all about the love – I am about building other women up, encouraging them in their parenting and being a support to them, not bashing them down after reading a couple of blog posts and not knowing them in reality. As I say, I’m all for general voices about feeding and why you might find a different way best for your family, but my blog isn’t a platform for undermining other mum’s and making personal attacks on their parenting. Whether you say this is how you meant it to come across or not, that is definitely how it is coming across so I’d invite you not to comment again as it may be marked as spam. A sensible conversation about what you like about feeding, sure. Telling me I probably don’t cuddle my child enough is spam. I think it’s probably best we leave it there, have a good day Marie 🙂

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  19. Hannah, I have only just read this post and the comments and I just wanted to say how sad it made me that you felt had to justify yourself. It is obvious from first glance of your blog as to how much you adore the gorgeous Austin and how much enjoyment you get from each other. He is clearly a very happy, loved little boy and you are clearly doing a great job of being a mum 🙂 I wish there had been more parenting blogs around when I had my first baby as I love the general ethos of mums supporting and helping each other. I just wanted to say that I think you do a fab job. Gemma xxx xxx xxx

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    • Oh Gemma thank you very much!! 🙂 So kind if you to read my blog and im pleased you enjoy it and can see what you do 🙂
      lovely comments that cheered uo my morning before its even started thank you!! Xxxxx

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  20. I’m a little late to the party and I’ve just read this post. I’m just starting to wean my youngest this week. I honestly can’t believe some of the comments you’ve received – they’re absurd. Your blog is well balanced and you sound like a fab Mum. At no point does your post suggest you don’t cuddle your child or communicate with him. People are so weird! I think your take on weaning is really refreshing and I too hate mess so full on baby lead weaning is not for me either. I’m just writing up a post on the reasons why I won’t be doing full on baby lead weaning and so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of backlash I get haha.

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