By Nicola Galloway author of Feeding Little Tummies – from first foods to family meals. A guide for New Zealand parents and caregivers (CPP 2011)
I am often asked what is the best way to introduce food to babies – the traditional ‘purees’ or the new and popular Baby Led Weaning (BLW). Over the years I have presented to many groups of new Mums about introducing food to their babies. I always start with going around the group at the beginning to find out the age of their babies, who has started food and what they have started with. The response is always a mixed bag, with some babies showing signs of being ready for food earlier than 6 months, others content with milk right up to 6 months, and many mothers interested in BLW.
As every baby is different I always encourage new Mums to go with what she feels comfortable with. To look for the signs her baby is ready for food and then start with food she feels comfortable with rather than what everyone else is doing. It is important food is an enjoyable experience for both Mum and baby. Some people find BLW is not for them (and their baby) once they try, and conversely some babies are just not interested in purees and will only eat finger foods.
I would like to share my experience with introducing food to our daughter:
It is while updating Feeding Little Tummies in 2010 that I came across BLW. At the time I was introducing food to our daughter around 6 months and decided to give BLW a go. At first I found it quite frustrating as food was thrown on the ground and very little appeared to be eaten. And what was eaten appeared to be choked on which was quite distressing for a first-time Mum. I was still breast-feeding so wasn’t entirely concerned about the food intake but my daughter was quite small for her age, so I chose to introduce some ‘spoon’ food and found a middle ground of purees and finger foods that worked for us.
The day would start with quinoa porridge mixed with homemade apple sauce (puree). I would allow my daughter to guide the spoon to her mouth and as soon as she lost inertest I would stop offering it to her. During the day I would offer her a selection of finger foods, including steamed or roast root vegetables, fruit pieces, gluten-free pasta, omelette, rice crackers with goats cheese, pancake or fritter, and cashew banana chew (recipe below). For dinner she would have finger foods from our meal and a small bowl of pumpkin and zucchini/ broccoli puree (cooked with homemade chicken stock for an extra nutrient boost) – again letting her guide the spoon to her mouth. This way we could ensure we got nutritious food into our daughter (which she loved) and she could also explore new tastes and textures during the day. Her all time favourite finger food was a finger of steak that she would ravishly suck out all the juices before throwing on the ground. Very entertaining!
Read more about BLW here.
Click here for Nicola’s Cashew Banana Chew Recipe
Would you like to win a copy of Feeding Little Tummies by Nicola Galloway?
a Rafflecopter giveaway