Baby Led Weaning – One Year On

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Actually it’s 6 months on, as Little F started eating solids at 5 and a half months and he’s now one (!). I still love the method and the fact that it saved me from making purees, but having done it for 6 months I do have a few points to make.


Since mid-March we are in Poland – all three of us – enjoying my maternity leave. My husband works for himself so there was no issues with taking unpaid leave. We saved enough money to spend a few months together, without the daily drudgery of work. Adding to this the fact that when we arrived a lot of my friends in Krakow were either pregnant or recently had babies, we had plenty of lunch opportunities.


Going out and BLW works quite well, as you don’t have to worry about bringing food for the baby, just offer something from your plate. That is true. Unfortunately, it is also true that a lot of restaurants in Krakow don’t have high-chairs. Moreover, some that do have high-chairs also have table cloths. The effect was that in the first case I had to feed Little F while he sat on my lap. I stopped passing food to him very quickly as his dirty hands would get both of us smothered with food. In the second ‘tablecloth’ scenario, even if Little F was seated in a high-chair he could not eat of the table (most restaurants have the basic Ikea model and most decide to save a little money by not buying the detachable tray). I would either pass him the food or put it straight into his mouth.


Since we did eat out most days Little F got used to being fed. When he sees food coming his ways he obediently opens his mouth, rather than reach out his hand like he used to. Luckily if I   place the food in front of him on the table he is still happy to feed himself.


Another setback, partly caused by the situation described above, is more and more spoon feeding. I used to load the spoon and pass it to Little F. He would greedily stuff it into his mouth and then proceed to play with it, often throwing it on the floor. This was a little frustrating, but we proceeded that way until Little F spent a weekend with Babcia (Granny in Polish).


She is amazed by and happy with BLW methods, but it seems the loading and passing of the spoon did not quite work for her. I can’t blame her for not wanting to dive under the table 10 times during a meal to retrieve the spoon. In effect she fed Little F and kept control over the spoon. So just like with food in my hand, when he sees a spoon nearing his mouth he opens them, rather than reach out a hand to grab the spoon like he used to.


So points down on BLW-is-amazing scale, self feeding doesn’t always work. Nevertheless the method achieved its goal so far: Little F happily eats just about anything he is offered.


The last point I would like to make is with regards to the mess. When I read testimonials in Gill Rapley’s BLW book everyone seemed to agree that ‘yes, there is a lot of mess’, but quickly added that this mess phase quickly passes. I agree that I no longer have to pick up food off the floor and re-offer them to Little F, as most of it ends up in his mouth. Nevertheless I still have to wash the table, the chair and the floor around him. Not to mention his face, hands (up to elbows), his hair, with an added bonus of food trail from his high-chair to the bathroom sink. All this up to 5 times a day….


What is the conclusion? I still think BLW is a natural progression from breastfeeding and I would do it with the next child, but I am no longer convinced it is the option for lazy mums who wish to save time on pureeing food. You still have to make sure healthy meals reach the family table and spend considerable time cleaning up after each meal.


I guess the key aim is achieved though: Little F does love food.



Photo credit: michaelpickard / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)