How did we get to this point already? My daughter is almost 6 months old, but it doesn’t seem 5 minutes since she was born. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that we’ve been hanging on til the 6 month mark before we start weaning, but my daughter has had other ideas.
We had got to the point where she was trying to grab food from my plate, and so with 2 weeks to go before the magic 6 months, we decided to give it a go. Had we been going down the route of steaming and pureeing everything, like we did with my son, I think I would have held off for those 2 weeks, but this time we have decided to try baby led weaning.
I’ve heard the term quite a lot, but didn’t really know anything about it. Another mother who was training with me to be a peer supporter was raving about it, having tried it with her daughter and she was loving how easy it was. It turned out that another couple of mums in the same group had also given it a go and they all loved it, so I decided to find out mroe about it. I bought a book, because I wanted to read the theory and the practice behind it all. I liked the sound of it, so we agreed to give it ago.
At the weekend, we went out to a carvery for a family meal – my and husband, our two children, and grandparents. Plum can not sit up in a high chair so for the first time at this particular restaurant, she was in a high chair at the table with us. They brought us a dish, but it was huge, and made of china, so we dispensed with that and just made sure the tray on the high chair was clean. We put some broccoli, cauliflower and carrots on the tray and waited with baited breath.
The book suggested that initially, she might struggle to pick the food up (even though for baby led weaning purposes, eveything is cut into batons to make it easy to handle), and if she did, she was likely to miss her mouth. The main point of the exercise, it said, was for her to play and experiement and become comfortable with this new food. She doesn’t need any nutrition from it, because I am still breastfeeding, so we didn’t need to worry about whether or not she was actually eating any. Had it been any other way, (ie, with puree, it’s quite likely she would have eaten something, even if it was just a teaspoonful), I suspect we would have waited until we actually got to 6 months.
Anyway, we put the food in her tray and she immediately picked up a piece of broccoli and went straight in her mouth. And came straight back out again. I don’t think she got chance to taste it even, I think the feel of it was quite strange to her. it didn’t put her off though and she enjoyed playing and feeling it, and put it in her mouth several times.
Later that day, I washed and peeled a carrot and gave it to her whole and raw, to use as a teether, because her gums are really troubling her at the moment. My son used a carrot as a teether, as did I apparently. Plum loved it!
Yesterday, I was manning a Precious Memories stand at a baby show, and took Plum with me. I packed a little box of cucumber, mango and strawberries. She loved the cucumber. Really loved it – spent a long time sucking it and even took some little chunks out of the soft flesh. She didn’t spend long with the mango – seemed to like the smell but really wasn’t interested in having it in her mouth yet. She fell asleep before she got to the strawberries, and my colleague and I ate them. By accident.
She had some red pepper later, at home. She played with it, broke some pieces off, but spent most of her time with some more cucumber.
Today, she had apples and pear. She really seems to love apple. This morning we shared a Granny Smith and she spent a long time sucking wedges of apple, obviosuly enjoying it. She mushed some of the flesh with her mouth and took teeny tiny little chucks out of it, barely enough to notice. She also managed to strip a little bit of skin off. The pear wasn’t as ripe as I would have liked, but she seemed to like rubbing it on her gums and she got really vocal when she had the pear. She made me laugh, because I offered her a particular piece at one stage, and she took it off me, dropped it on the floor and then selected the piece she wanted. Lesson learned, Mummy; this is about Plum learning to feed herself!
As I write this she is chomping on various pieces of Golden Delicious and really enjoying herself. She’s clearly not eating at the moment, but seems to love her first introductions to food. And she really gives the impression that she feels included. I think we’re going to like this baby led weaning lark.