I have talked before about how I love cooking. One of my biggest fears when I had my babies was that they would grow up to be fussy eaters. I come from a family that loves their food and I want to be able to share our favourite foods and restaurants with my own children.
After a bit of research I stumbled across Baby-led Weaning (BLW): an alternate technique for weaning your child. With BLW you start directly on to solid foods at around 6 months (or when your baby shows the signs of readiness) rather than giving purées when you think your child needs more sustenance than milk alone.
Now the theory goes that general modern guidelines state that babies should be weaned at 6 months (unless there is a medical reason otherwise) and you should start to introduce finger foods from 6 months so why waste time with the purées?
“Starting solids this way is easy, enjoyable and stress-free for the whole family. It is part of your baby’s natural development, giving him the chance to learn new skills and grow in confidence. Sharing your own meals with your baby is quicker than preparing separate purées and cheaper than buying them ready-made. And it is much more fun.” – Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett, The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook
Now I am not sure how stress-free a method it is compared with spoon-feeding. I have never yet met a mother that does not worry if their children are eating well enough at some point no matter how much reassurance they have, but it is certainly nice not having to cook special kiddie meals and eating together as a family from day one. I chose the method because of a couple of key benefits it is known for: it teaches children to eat everything and prevents fussiness, and it has been linked with a healthier weight (lower cases of adult obesity).
As with everything, the benefits I have just listed are not a rule and every child is different and as the technique has only been mainstream for ten or so years the latter has not had significant research conducted as yet to be proven. Also just because you follow a certain technique doesn’t mean your child will follow the rules. E was a dream eater and followed the top percentile lines without ever being spoonfed or made to eat. M however is trickier and will scream till he can eat something in particular (a work in process). I have therefore adopted more of a traditional technique with him whereby if he is too tired to feed himself I will help him to load a spoon and guide it into his mouth but we are going to get stricter #mummyresolution!
If you are interested I suggest you check out the official website and order the book (if you intend to do BLW it is important you have all the facts) if only to be capable to answer all the questions of concerned family members. It is only normal that they worry when they see such a change from the norm.
One of the books we have is The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook. This book is fabulous (even if you don’t do BLW) for meal ideas once you introduce finger foods or for toddler meal ideas. There are lots of baking ideas which are very fruit based and low in sugar. As we had a couple of young friends round for tea we decided to make a Spanish Apple Cake.
250g self-raising flour
½ tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
50g caster sugar
juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 eggs, beaten
160ml olive oil (use normal olive oil and not extra virgin as it has too strong a flavour)
450g crisp desert apples or pears (peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes)
Preheat oven to 180°C
Grease a 17cm round cake tin.
Sift the flour and cinnamon into a large bowl and add the sugar and lemon zest.
Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, olive oil and juice.
Stir to make a smooth mixture and then add the chopped apple.
Place into the tin and bake for 45mins to 60 mins until golden brown and firm. (The actual recipe says 40-45 mins but I never find that long enough.)
Its a lovely moist cake that you can eat warm or cold. This the second time I have made it and the kids love it: only a couple of slices are left. Sorry it got eaten too quickly to take a photo of it whole. Its a good thing that the cake is extra heathy 🙂
Have a lovely day and happy baking.