Baby Led Weaning

Beckett was always zero trouble when it came to feeding. From day one he took his bottles without fuss or upset. In fact we've both had people comment to us several times when we've been feeding him out and about that it practically takes more time to make a bottle than for him to take it! We count ourselves very lucky. From before he was even born though, we both agreed that when it came to introducing solid foods, that's exactly what they would be - solid. No mush or liquidised stuffs. In addition, we want him to take part in eating and to be the one, as much as possible, feeding himself.

For those unfamiliar with Baby Led Weaning, it was originally coined by Gill Rapley, a former health visitor and midwife, and is the process of allowing your child to feed themselves from the very start of weaning. Now if you think about this it's obvious that for a child to feed themselves they will have to be eating foods that they can pick up and do not need cutlery for. We're talking vegetable sticks, rice crackers, toast, pita, baby biscuits, fruit etc.

Beyond the foods that Beckett can pick up himself we also make a point of letting him try everything that we eat. Of course there's a consideration for spicy or salty foods but generally speaking he gets to try it all. He's had curry in Wagamama, Homemade Burgers, Beans on Toast, Pasta in the local Italian Restaurant and numerous other dishes wherever we eat. Our thinking is that if he is exposed to as much food as possible he will grow up with a healthy and diverse pallet. Plus, we both love cooking so it's a joy to think that we have someone who loves to try new things and enjoys a wide variety of foods.

The one thing I would say is that it's always a good idea to keep some stewed or steamed fruit in the fridge and freezer. While I don't advocate creating mush or liquidising food, certain fruits will be very difficult for baby to eat if you don't do something with them. Depending on the apple or pear variety they can be quite crisp. In those cases what I like to do is to peel and cut them into manageable segments (long enough to hold and thin enough to chomp through) and steam them over a a pot of water with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a few cloves. The segments will want to be flexible but firm enough to handle. These make a great snack for baby that you can take out with you. I also like to stew certain fruits that simply cannot be eaten raw. A favourite of Beckett's is rhubarb. I wash the rhubarb and cut it into two inch long batons. I peel a couple of apples and cut them into segments. Finally grab a handful of frozen raspberries and rinse them. Put a small amount of water in a pot (0.5cm high) and a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar (very small sprinkle). Add the fruit and allow it to cook over a gentle heat. The rhubarb and raspberries will disintegrate on heating but by not stirring the mix too much they should retain some texture.

A stew like this is great for breakfast or lunch and can be frozen and quickly defrosted. Depending on teething you may also find that baby likes it quite chilled. Try out different fruits and see what works best for you. Just don't over stew it!
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