Sunday, 18 January 2015

TELL ME... About Your BLW Experience

So...further to my earlier post HERE, I've gathered together the answers to the other questions I asked my Instagram and Facebook Baby Led Weaning Mommas and Papas.

BEGINNERS - this should give you a good flavour (no pun intended!) of how other people's babies have taken to BLW. In short - they are all completely different!

A reminder of the questions...

1. What made you choose to do BLW? (see my previous post)
2. How old was your little one when they started eating (rather than just playing)? 
3. What have been your biggest challenges or successes with BLW?
4. What's your 'go to' meal - guaranteed to be gobbled up?
5. If you started again, what piece of advice/tip would you tell yourself? 

Because some small part of me clearly misses working in an office, I've decided to illustrate the answers to question two by way of a jazzy pie chart...

So it turns out that Little Dude wasn't so slow on the uptake after all. Interesting that many of the babas were well over 6 months (the moment when it feels like our baby has to magically graduate from a milk only diet to eating three square meals a day overnight :-\ ) when they started properly eating food.

3. What have been your biggest challenges or successes with BLW?

4. What's your 'go to' meal - guaranteed to be gobbled up? 

"'Alpha bites' cereal, blueberries, beetroot (not altogether, though that's been done...)" @asbellina 

"Go to 'meal' is little egg tortillas. He loves them, which is great coz they are so easy to make and they're freezable." @twelvetwelvebaby

"Spaghetti Bolognese with peas followed by Greek yogurt and banana" @vblogg

"For my daughter, it was porridge blobs (like porridge fingers but the can't-be-arsed version) and for my little guy, it's lasagne or pasta with tomato and chorizo" @aoifekids

"Avocado, salmon, omelette, blueberries" @cookingforgrey

"Go-to meal is crab cakes! They absolutely love them. If I'm in a hurry, it's a chicken and hummus quesadilla." @babiesgotsnack

"Cheese on toast, chicken and carrots (not usually together!)" @suzie_crossland

"Banana and savoury flap jacks (recommended in the BLW cook book)" @mrs30

"There's not one specific persistent favourite - she's unfussy. At the moment her favourite is noodles/spaghetti. She's 14 months." @azalea_and_mum

"Since we are still pretty new, we don't really have a 'go to' meal yet. He loves sweet potato, asparagus and steak so for now that's the go to!" @dylansfoodadventures

5. If you started again, what piece of advice/tip would you tell yourself?

"Don't worry - he'll eat when he's ready 😀" @blwmamauk

"Go with your gut you're his mum it doesn't matter what others think / say." @annakaura

"I'd probably give myself the same advice as I try to with all the other aspects of this parenting thing; every baby is different, try not to compare them. :-) " @twelvetwelvebaby

"Stick at it - it'll take time. Plan meals at the beginning of the week as otherwise it can be tough to get enough variety." @suzie_crossland

"Start with easy things, if you are scared to give him chunks of food, but want him to eat independently, grate cooked veggies into little mounds easy to pick up, make little pancakes of stuff, ease into it!" @cookingforgrey

"I would tell myself to trust my son. My instinct was to trust him but the norm for introducing solids in the US is purees and I started to question myself and his abilities. After a week I stopped looking to other people and what everyone else was doing and trusted my instincts and my sons abilities." @dylansfoodadventures

"I would say don't try to be super mum and cook three healthy meals per day and clean up too...., you will never get out the house! Just try to enjoy your baby exploring and remember food before one for fun' " @mrs30

"Buy an ANTILOP high chair!" @bramblebites

Friday, 16 January 2015

TELL ME... Getting Started #1

Every time I speak to someone about weaning their baby I hear a different story. Some little ones are into food from day one, others take their time in learning to love their grub. Lots of people make a deliberate choice to BLW, others sort of fall into it like I did. I love hearing about all the different journeys other Mums, Dads and babies have been on; everyone seems to have different challenges along the way and it's helpful to know that when your baby is joyfully lobbing mashed potato at the wall or refusing to eat anything except raisins, the chances are that someone else has been there (and come out the other side!).

I asked my Instagram and Facebook buddies five quick questions to get the lowdown on their weaning adventures. The variety of answers in just this small group of people is really interesting but there are a couple of reoccurring themes from this wise little bunch:  

Trust your instincts, trust your baby and eventually you'll both figure it out. 
In the meantime - enjoy yourself!

1. What made you choose to do BLW?

"Little Dude's absolute refusal to be spoonfed. We battled with purée for a month or so then switched to BLW. We've never looked back!" @blwmamauk

"I chose BLW because our little guy seemed more interested in touching the food and looking at it himself than having a spoon" @bramblebites

"I was actually very anti BLW at first, wasn't until I watch a video - yes video at my local Health Centre that I got to understand more about it and saw the benefits of BLW. Then when I showed my husband YouTube clips he was adamant that was the route we would take." @blwinspiration

"I decided to do BLW after watching a good friend of mine do it with her son. I was terrified and wasn't completely on board...until my daughter reached on my plate at 6.5 months and took a piece of meatloaf off and tried to eat it. From that point on we have been strict BLW" @babiesgotsnack

"I had read about it but was scared about choking and stuff. I started with purée and oddly my baby could self feed herself at 5 months [yes early - but she was ready, proper ready, holding her head up, 5 teeth, could sit and stand independently, showed an interest in food and hand to mouth coordination] :/ a few of my other friends were doing BLW so I tried her with stuff. She preferred it and we carried on- the rest is history!" @azalea_and_mum

"I wanted my little boy to have a healthy relationship with food and thought if he didn't need to be spoon fed purees and could just eat what we do it would make an easier life for all of us" @annakaura

"My pal did it with her wee boy while I was pregnant so I read up in it and just went with it!" @vblogg

"A few friends tried it and sounded good. Fitted with my lifestyle. As a single mum, I liked the idea of eating together (rather than me feed him then eat myself)." @asbellina

"I choose BLW as my sister done it with my 2 nephews. I was pretty sure I would do a combination of BLW and purées as I was terrified when I had to give the boys lunch when I was babysitting. Turns out (like most things) it's totally different when it's your own little bundle and I haven't puréed a thing!" @twelvetwelvebaby

"It just seemed like a no-brainer to me. I read the BLW book when Millar was about 4 months and it all just made sense. I liked the idea that it was fun and gave the baby control" @suzie_crossland

"little man refused the spoon after three weeks of purées?" @mrs30

 "Feeling that there's not much nutritional value or fun in rice cereal and advice from nurses at the hospital who were (very surprisingly) pro-blw. They didn't call it that, but suggested to forgo the cereal and start with strips of cooked veggies and chicken (same thing!)" @cookingforgrey

"I have no idea how we ended up with BLW. I had always know I wanted to be a'free-range' parent and that my kids would get bumps and bruises, stiches and casts. I wanted to be abe t oinclude them, to bring them to resturants and to travel the world with us, I knew I wanted to breastfeed for a year but I had never thought about how I wanted to introduce solids.I have no idea how I found it but I do remember thinking 'oh this makes much more sense!'" @dylansfoodadventures

"Chose BLW after seeing so many other kids at my job (preschool teacher) and my daughter's cousins who were being bribed, coaxed and tricked to eat. I wanted my daughter to have a self awareness of her eating and a good relationship with food." @ashjos

" had read a bit about it online when my daughter was a baby and got the boom when she was about 4 months old. It seemed to follow on naturally from on-demand breastfeeding for me, and since weight problems run on my side of the family and fussy eating runs on my husband's side, we thought it would be a great idea. It went so well with our daughter that we didn't even think twice about doing it again this time round with our little guy." @aoifekids

"Wir haben mit 5 Monaten mit Beikost begonnen, und nach 2 Wochen wollte er keinen Brei mehr, da ich sowieso von Anfang an auch Fingerfood gegeben habe gabs dann nur noch das! Den letzten anstoß hat mir das Buch "Einmal breifrei, bitte" gegeben."  @chrischdl85

"I did a lot of research and reading and it seemed like the right thing for our family" @mydairyfreedinner

I'll post the answers to the other 4 questions shortly once I've caught up with them all... :)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

RECIPE: Meals for the whole family - Easy Shepherd's Pie and Lasagne

At the core of Baby Led Weaning philosophy is the ability to cook meals that everyone can eat. To be honest, it doesn't usually work like that in our house because if I cook a big batch of something I tend to freeze most of it to use on my lazy chef days (of which there are many!)

However, there are a few dishes that we sit down and eat together -  hearty, comforting meals that I've adapted to make more baby friendly. Here are a couple of our favourites...

Note - Salt content can vary by brand so I check all ingredients carefully before use


1 onion
1 large carrot
500g lamb mince
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tin low salt & sugar baked beans OR 1/2 cup peas
Approx 1kg white potatoes
Knob unsalted butter
Splash whole milk
125g cheddar cheese, grated

Optional for adult only version (see point 3 below) - 2 tsp gravy granules.

1. Peel and slice the potatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes while the filling is being prepared 
2. Finely chop the onion and carrot. Add to a pan with the lamb mince and fry until the meat is cooked through. (lamb is quite fatty so I don't put any extra oil in the pan)
3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, herbs and peas OR beans. Using beans makes the pie sweeter and creates more sauce. If I use peas I tend to split baby's filling into a separate dish and add some gravy granules to the adult version to make a richer sauce
4. Spoon the filling into the dish (or dishes)
5. Add the butter and milk to the potatoes and mash until smooth. Spoon on top of the filling and use a fork to make rough lines in the top
6. Sprinkle the cheese on top
7. Bake for about 30 minutes at Gas 6 until the cheese is melted and potatoes are golden.


500g beef mince
1 tin green lentils
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion
10 button mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
Approx 6-8 dried lasagne sheets (depending on the shape of the dish)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
100ml water
1 cube baby vegetable stock (i.e. low salt)
1 tbs tomato puree 

300ml whole milk
30g butter
30g plain flour
Handful grated cheddar

1. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Add to a pan with the mince, fry until the meat is cooked
2. Add the mushrooms, drained washed lentils, tomatoes, herbs, tomato puree and stock cube dissolved in water
3. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, add more water if it gets too dry
4. Layer lasagne into the dish, then half the meat mixture, followed by another layer of lasagne (laid in the opposite direction), then the rest of the mixture. Finish with a final layer of lasagne (laid in the same direction as the first layer) but don't put this on until your sauce is ready otherwise the heat from the mixture below will make it curl at the edges
5. In a new pan, heat the butter and flour gently, stirring all the time until they are well mixed
6. Pour in the milk, whisk until just boiling and the sauce has thickened
7. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese
8. Pour the mixture over the top layer of lasagne. I sometimes sprinkle some more cheese on top but tend not to when cooking for baby to keep the salt content as low as possible
9. Cook at Gas Mark 7 for 30-40 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

RECIPE - Veggie and Lentil Bakes

1/2 red onion
4-5 broccoli florets
4-5 cauliflower florets
1 medium carrot
1/3 cup washed red lentils
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 slice bread grated
Handful cheddar cheese
 1 egg

1. Finely chop the veg and cook in pan with a little butter and the spices/herbs until soft. 
2. Meanwhile, boil the lentils according to the instructions on the packet for around 20 minutes until soft and going slightly mushy.
3. Transfer the veg to a mixing bowl and mash slightly.
4. Add the lentils and egg, stirring thoroughly
5. Spoon into silicone cupcake cases (or a lightly buttered dish if you want to make a bigger version)
6. Sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumb mixture on top
7. Bake at Gas 5 for 25 minutes or until the topping is golder brown.

These freeze really well too - I just defrost them with a blast in the microwave for around 40-50 seconds until piping hot.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Surviving a food strike

We made it! It took a few weeks but the food strike is finally over and Little Dude is eating like a champ again... until the next time.

From talking to my Mummy friends, food strikes seem to be a common occurrence and come in all shapes and forms. Just in my little circle of friends we've had:
  • Refusal to eat any solids and very little milk (this was L)
  • Taking food into mouth then spitting it out immediately (yup, L again)
  • Refusal to eat any savoury food
  • Sudden refusal to be spoonfed
  • Refusal of foods that were previously favourites 
  • Sudden refusal to eat breakfast (all other meals were fine)
  • One random week of happily eating from a spoon, which stopped as suddenly as it started (L again)
  • Gleefully blowing all food out of the mouth in sudden explosive raspberries (not good news for sofas, walls and carpets!) 
In my experience, the reason for the food strike isn't often clear until after it's passed. The first one L had was a combination of teething and a tummy bug. I'm pretty sure on this because we shared the tummy bug and I struggled to eat for a good week myself - I can't blame him for feeling the same way. The second one was due to a nasty cold and temperature. Being off solid food I could handle, but watching him push his bottle of milk away was more stressful because I worried about his hydration. It turns out that, as often is the case, baby seems to know best. After a couple of days of eating very little, things started to get back on track. 

Obviously it's important to contact a Doctor if you have any concerns about your baby not eating. I am now on first name terms with everyone at my local out of hours GP service, particularly those manning the phones at 3am. Reassured that L wasn't going to starve himself, I tried a few different things...

  • Stopping solid food altogether while he had a temperature. Under 1, milk is the most important source of nutrition so I focused on making sure he had enough of that and forgot about everything else.
  • Offering at least one favourite food at each meal. I figured if he wasn't going to eat that, he wasn't going to eat anything.
  • Sticking to comforting, plain foods - omelette, porridge, pasta,mashed potato - when he was getting back into it. Nothing too acidic or strongly flavoured.
  • Making yogurt smoothie pops - a way of getting liquids and milk into him which also soothed sore gums and/or throat
  • Using my freezer stash - spending time preparing meals then throwing them in the bin can be a bit soul destroying so I raided my freezer for things that could be prepared quickly
  • Repeating to myself 'This too shall pass'. A lot.

It's taken a good 4 or 5 weeks to get back to where we were with his food. In the meantime I recommend patience, perseverance and plenty of chocolate for Mama. :)