How does no spoons, no forks and absolutely nothing mashed or pureed sound?
If you have a baby that’s just about ready to start solids, I’ve got some information that is going to blow your mind. You don’t need to spend your Sunday’s blending food for the week ahead.
Back away from the Nutri Bullet, put down the food processor and save your Thermomix for ice cream. Don’t even think about picking up rice cereal.
Let me take you into the world of Baby Lead Weaning or ‘BLW’ to the cool kids.
Never heard of it? Neither had I until my daughter was about four-months-old. It’s the concept of giving your baby age appropriate finger foods and allowing them to feed themselves. No spoons, no forks and absolutely nothing pulverised to soup consistency.
I know what you’re thinking – so let me address each of your concerns and tell you why you never have to puree food. Ever.
The baby will choke.
Babies have an incredibly sensitive gag reflex very far forward in their mouths. They will gag, cough and they may even vomit but they won’t choke. You should always ensure you give your baby foods appropriate to their age and development and carefully supervise.
They won't eat enough.
In the first 12-months of their lives babies will get the bulk of their nutrients from breast milk or formula. Solid food serves as a top up and is important as a source of iron. It may seem you baby is eating very little but remember their tummies are very small. You can offer lots of small meals and snacks but as they grow and gain confidence in eating you will see a marked increase in the volume they consume. I occasionally feed my daughter one meal a day with a fork, often dinner when she has a bowl of whatever we have.
Oh boy is it messy. My dog is getting incredibly fat from eating food off the floor. Where possible try moving the high chair outside once or twice or day or pop a towel underneath the chair. Mostly, you just have to grin and bear it. I highly recommend getting a dog if you don't have one.
What about the benefits? Why would you choose BLW over traditional pureeing and introduction of solids? Whilst there have not been large-scale studies of BLW at this time there is a lot of anecdotal evidence in favour of finger foods.