I have to admit I was a bit sceptical of baby led weaning after I had read the book by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett on the subject as each story by parents in the book made it sound so easy. The cynic within me thought if there were a few bad experiences shared it might sound more believable.
But I began in earnest anyway with a positive attitude last week with steamed carrots on the menu. It was a bit of a disaster, as I had overcooked them and I think they were too soft so the majority ended up on the floor within seconds. Lesson 1 learned, thanks Isobel! I tried cucumber straight after and she was happy sucking on this as it eased her teething pain.
On the next day I tried a morning feed of cucumber and she had no interest and celery later that evening was another mess to clean up from the floor.
I tried blueberries after that and although none made the actual mouth she did squish them in her hands and spread them all over her bib which she continued to lick for about an hour after.
Each day I tried mixing up the times I was giving her food to see what suited best and always left it about 20-30 minutes after a breastfeed. I kept a diary of what she ate each day and her reaction just to rule out any allergies.
Next up was some pear and avocado. She managed to pick some pear in her hand and inevitably it ended up on the floor! She squashed the avocado and dropped some in her mouth and all over her hands. This got real messy and I made the mistake of having her in a white top, which I am still trying to wash the green avocado stains out. Lesson 2 learned, have as little clothing on baby as possible and preferably dark colours.
I tried some roasted sweet potato the next evening and she really enjoyed this with 5-6 pieces, she licked her fingers and her bib to get more in her mouth. I had evidence in her nappy 4 days later that they were definitely digested with a lovely orange colouring all over her bum.
The majority of food I was giving her was between 4-5 pm, she had been after a longish nap and a breastfeed and was at her most happiest so it seemed to be working well.
I tried porridge with blueberries a few days ago in the morning when I was having my own breakfast. She couldn’t quite grasp the blueberry but she was managing to get porridge on her fingers and licked that off. I did attempt a spoon feed of porridge to see her reaction but she wouldn’t even open her mouth. Since then I have been handing her the spoon with a little food on it and letting her manage it, its been used more as a teething ring than food aid but I will persist!
I have had a few scary moments with watching her cough and choke a little but each time she has managed to spit the food out. At one point I could see a piece of sweet potato stuck to the roof of her mouth, but I just gave her time to sort it out. After a few minutes she spat it out. I have attended a baby first aid course and this has definitely given me confidence with managing a potential choking situation. It is a little scary watching them cough and splutter but remaining calm and letting her deal with it has worked so far.
The next dinner time I gave some sweet potato with natural yogurt. I put a little yogurt on the spoon and she took this from me and managed to get it in her mouth, the correct way around this time and licked the yogurt off. I also gave her a small bit of broccoli which she sucked on and swallowed but managed to spit the stalk out. My husband is still amazed that she can do all this without teeth. It is very amusing watching her as she eats and she now gets really excited when I put her in the highchair as she knows what is coming.
I am starting to see why parents in the baby led weaning book I mentioned found it easy but there is still the work of cleaning up the messy floor, clothes, highchair etc.. It would be helpful if you had a dog while doing this, at least the floor would stay clean. I am finding food everywhere on Isobel too even after a bath! I am determined to continue blw while Isobel is enjoying it, I just need to decide what foods to try next…