#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Thursday 21 October 2021

10 irrational (but acceptable) thoughts you'll recognise if you're trying baby-led weaning

#2: He’s meant to like the veggie fritters. Why doesn’t he like the VEGGIE FRITTERS?

Image: Shutterstock

I LASTED JUST one day attempting to purée “adult” meals for my six-month-old, before deciding to go the baby-led weaning route instead.

With the baby-led approach, kids are started on finger food, rather than being spoon-fed. They’re still supervised of course, but the idea is that kids learn to feed themselves more quickly, and also (hopefully) learn to try a wider range of solid foods.

Almost six months in, it has worked for us so far. The baby feeds himself, we eat more or less the same things and he’s an adventurous and enthusiastic foodie. 

But if you’re considering going down the baby-led weaning route, I’ll warn you, it’s messy, it takes time, and you’ll definitely panic along the way. Here are just some of the thoughts you’ll have, if you’re anything like me…

1. ‘Is anything going in?’
Each day, you survey the scene of carnage under your baby’s highchair (and in the highchair, behind the highchair, in their hair, in your hair) and immediately ask yourself, “Did he actually eat anything?” 

2. ‘He’s meant to like the fritters. Why doesn’t he like the FRITTERS?’
When you’ve slogged for half an hour in the kitchen to craft grated vegetable fritters, from a recipe which *promises* to appeal to babies, and your infant flat out refuses to even entertain a mouthful.. it’s tough. I’ve read that you need to offer a new food at least ten times before accepting it might not be to your tot’s palate – but that’s a lot of screaming into a cushion. 

3. ‘Oh god, why is his poo that colour?’
Your answer to the ‘has anything gone in?’ question is often revealed when you change the nappy of a baby that has started solids. Let’s just say you can usually be confident that the broccoli has passed through their system. 

shutterstock_739715047 Source: Shutterstock

4. ‘He’s coughing! Will I call the ambulance?’
One common hazard of baby-led weaning is that your little one stuffs too much food into their mouths, leaving them coughing and spluttering – terrifying if you’ve never seen it happen before. “Gagging is totally normal,” says Aileen Cox Blundell, author of The Baby Family Friendly Cookbook. “The important difference between gagging and choking is that with gagging, your baby will cough and splutter until the food comes out. If they are choking on the other hand, they will be silent.” The HSE recommends the St John’s Ambulance instructions for what to do if you think your baby is choking – find it here.

5. ‘Am I cheating?’
Sometimes, a pack of baby snacks from the supermarket are all you have time to “prepare”. Other times, you’ll indulge in a spot of spoon feeding hasten dinner and avoid soup on the walls. So yes, there will definitely be a time when you feel like you’re cheating. I say do what works

6. ‘I thought this was baby-proof…’
There are a *lot* of suction bowls, silicon mats and so on out there that profess to be un-moveable or unbreakable. Both my kids have always made it their mission to challenge these assertions… and won.

7. ‘WHAT is that green slime under the high chair tray?’
Whether it’s in the deepest recesses of the bib pouch, or that crease of material in the high chair, there’s inevitably some hidden horror hole that has escaped cleaning for goodness knows how long and is now the site of a terrifying, alien matter made of various pieces of food. 

8. ‘Why did I bother dressing him at all?’
Forget those adorable little neckerchief bibs, baby-led weaning calls for the long sleeve, cover as much as possible variety (I favour these from IKEA). I also swear by buying a plastic table cloth and putting it under the high chair to catch food. Even with the big bibs, learning to eat is still a fairly messy process and both clothes and baby will need washing more often in those early months.

If you’re breastfeeding, there WILL come a time when your baby decides to use their newly acquired pincer grip on your nipple. Take it from me, you’re not the only one to suffer this injustice.

10. ‘Oh my goodness, did he just eat that piece of red pepper?’
There’s something pretty amazing about seeing your baby experience new tastes and develop their own preferences as they feed themselves. Personally, I’ve found that baby-led weaning has made my two willing to try almost any food out there – worth all the hours spent washing squashed broccoli out of their hair.

More: Toys that under-threes won’t get tired of – as recommended by real mums and dads>

More: 11 pieces of newborn kit that are worth the money – from an ear thermometer to a good changing table>

About the author:

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel