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Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning - guest contribution from Amy

We did Baby Led Weaning with our son (second child) for a few different reasons. First was because I was immensely exhausted (and bored) of mashing up food and could not bring myself to feed him more than two meals a day because of the work involved - so a friend suggested cutting up pear and giving it to him and he loved it.

The second reason (a wonderful side benefit) was that we discovered his spilling stopped IMMEDIATELY. He was chronic for spilling. We had started feeding him solids at 4 months (possibly a bit early) and he would just spill all over the carpet and himself. I was so frustrated with my messy carpet and piles of washing but when I phoned Plunket they said it was just a stage and that I needed to get used to the washing. I think in hindsight that it was the liquid nature of "traditional" solids and the air bubbles that get trapped when we feed at our pace. With him feeding himself he could eat as much as needed and at the speed he needed.

We started Baby Led Weaning at 6 months. I remember starting dinner type foods with peas and being amazed at how coordinated he was. The first 5 minutes or so of him trying to get food into his mouth were rather hilarious - he kept putting the pea to his cheek, chin etc, but he caught on really fast. His favourite foods were potatos, pumpkin, kumura, carrot etc and any fruit - and he still (at 20 months) absolutely loves to eat fruit.

I recommend Baby Led Weaning to parents all the time but to be honest most people look at me sideways and even those who've said they will try it don't. I think people are possibly scared of going against Plunket advice so the more help parents can have with this the better. Another thing that scares people is the gagging but it is a natural reflex which prevents the child from choking. I remember watching my son gag on a pea and I didn't intervene - eventually I saw the pea roll back into his mouth.

Baby Led Weaning made our lives so much easier as I could just cook as per normal and not have to think about pureeing foods. It also made life easier when going out as our son could just eat whatever was on offer (obviously within the bounds of age appropriate food).

One thing I would recommend is not seasoning food where possible. One night I gave my son corned beef without even thinking about the high salt content of it - he had a very unsettled night and was wriggling a lot and clearly had an uncomfortable stomach.

I can't recommend this method of feeding enough and will definitely be using it when my next baby is 6 months.

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