This post is my tips based on personal experience of baby led weaning. Before having children I didn’t realise there was different ways to introduce your child onto solids. The process of introducing solids is known as weaning (in the UK), you can find more information here from the NHS.

The NHS recommend waiting till six months before introducing any food. As all babies are different its important to look for these three signs if wanting to start earlier:

  1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
  2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
  3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue So they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

I quickly found out there are two different methods for weaning your baby onto solid food. The first is using purees to introduce your baby to new flavours. The other is baby led weaning, which is the method I choose for both my daughters.

What is Baby Led Weaning?

The Baby Centre defines baby led weaning (BLW) as “forgetting purees and weaning spoons, and simply letting your baby feed himself.” Rather than pureeing lots of different foods you give the baby the skills to eat whole food from the beginning.

Why Choose Baby Led Weaning?

There are lots of benefits of choosing to using BLW.

  1. Your baby gets introduced to lots of textures straight away
  2. Your baby will get to explore food at their own pace
  3. Your baby feeds themselves so you can eat your own food
  4. You don’t have to make additional food for baby within household so will save time
  5. You can easily buy food for them on the go, as they are more happy to eat regular food

It’s worth noting that some families may find BLW isn’t for them as the baby has digestion issues or feeding concerns. There are also some downsides vs. purees. It takes babies slightly longer for babies to start filling their tummies as first. It can also be messy as lots of foods tend to go on the floor!

Some families find that they do a combination of the two weaning methods. Feeding the baby purees but also offering finger foods to them. The knack is finding what works best within your family and for the baby.

Baby led weaning can get messy!

Baby led weaning can get messy!

How to start Baby Led Weaning?

It’s best to start BLW with foods that are easy to handle as they are still perfecting their grip. When starting introduce one food at a time so they can explore the texture and flavour of the food. You will only need to offer food once a day at first alongside their milk. When they start eating more you can build up to two meals, three meals and eventually add in healthy snacks.

First foods

  • Raw vegetable sticks – cucumber without skin, avocado sticks and
  • Par boiled vegetable sticks – par boiled so they are easier to chew including carrots, green beans and peppers
  • Cooked vegetable sticks – sweet potato wedges, butternut squash and brocoli
  • Fruit – softer fruits work best such as raspberries, banana, melon, mango and pears cut into strips
  • Toast/bread sticks – add a little bit of butter to bread to make a bit softer
  • Porridge fingers – make you own really quickly in the microwave, see recipe ideas here
  • Mashed potato – best if a bit lumpy and thick so baby can pick up
  • Pasta – fusilli is best as baby can grip it
  • Meat/fish (if not vegetarian) – softer meat is best to start such as strips of chicken or fish
First finger food for baby led weaning

First finger food for baby led weaning

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Best nursery rhymes for babies and Best products for babies.

Today my youngest daughter started nursery for the first time at eleven months old. It was the day that I started the letting go process. Since she was born a year ago she has been fully my responsibility. Today, she has to learn to be without me and I have to learn to share my little girl with the world. The reason she is starting nursery so young is I am returning to work after my second maternity. As a family we had lengthy discussions about how me working would fit our family life and the reasons for returning to work. With two pre-school children our childcare costs are excessive so this decision did not come lightly.

My main reasons for returning to work are:

  • Getting back me – being a mum is everything I have wanted in life, but I do feel like I’m losing some of me being at home. Having returned to work once before between babies I know that work can be a break! This inspired my mum needs a break poem.
  • Financial reasons – you can’t get away from the fact that life is expensive and working helps us our family manage overall finances now and in the future. As a family we have ambitions for our home and life and money will definitely help us get there.
  • Nursery opportunities – my eldest daughter has been at nursery for two years now and I have seen the wonderful things a good nursery can teach children. Having the patience and energy to complete projects and tasks with small children takes great skill. After having my toddler at home more the last year I truly appreciate the work nursery staff do everyday.

Even though I have multiple reasons for going back to work, it doesn’t make the transition process any easier. Walking away after dropping her in today broke my heart a little bit. Having gone through this before, I know it gets easier but it needs time. At the moment she is refusing to eat there, so this is my main concern, but I’ve read that the change in environments can make this happen.

As a parent I think you are predisposed to worry and feel guilt about every decision we make. I just need to remind myself that we are making the best decision based on our circumstances.

If your thinking about going back The Guardian wrote this article offering advice on going back to work after children.

As my youngest daughter approaches her first birthday I’m now in the process of getting rid of my baby stuff. We have had a house full of bouncers, jumpers and playmats for the last three years. Now as my daughters are that little bit older we are doing a de-clutter. If the items are still usable you can choose either to give things to friends, pass on to charity or sell your items. Selling items can be a bit of a mind-field and I have been asked my other mums how I do it. This post will cover my tips on selling your baby stuff.

We have given some things to friends, especially clothes as there is little value in second-hand items. New or nearly new dressing up clothes and outfits can be sold on, but generally if they’re not from a well-known brand you won’t get much for them. Baby equipment fares much better and some items hold half their value even when second-hand. Do your research based on what item you have to sell to get the best price.

Selling your baby stuff

eBay

A popular second-hand selling marketplace. You can set your items to a buy now price or put on auction. You can also choose to sell them locally only or post if your happy to.

Its worth checking how well other items are selling on eBay first before adding your own listing. This will help you set the price you want to pitch your item at.

Its worth remembering on eBay you will have to pay fees on your final selling price and via PayPal, so other online marketplaces might be worth considering. However you are more protected if you sell via eBay as they look after the payment side of the exchange.

Best For: eBay is best for items that you are happy to post out and items that well sort after.

Gumtree

Gumtree is an online selling marketplace where you can list you items for sale for free. Your item is unlikely to reach as many potential sellers as eBay but will be more noticed in your local area.

Like eBay its worth doing your research on what items sell for in your local area. Somethings might be better priced on eBay, if they aren’t in demand in your area but are somewhere else in the UK.

There are a couple of other online marketplaces that run in a similar way to Gumtree, including Shpock and Preloved.

Best For: Items you want to sell locally only.

Facebook Local Groups

Across the UK there are many local selling groups. Just search your area to find the nearest groups to you. Add a post and list what you want for them.

Selling items on Facebook groups may be hit or miss as your only reaching potential sellers in your local area. Be prepared that you may be approached to negotiate on your items, so stick to your guns on what you want for things.

Best For: Small items that you are happy to get rid of for a low price and/or items you want to give away free.

Baby Sales

There are a whole series of baby sales across the country, some of them run as a table top sale where you sell your own items and others as ticket sales where you price your items and they are sold by others.

Some of the biggest franchises across the UK are:

Lots For Tots Sale
Mum 2 Mum Market
NCT Nearly New Sales
Baby and Childrens Market
Cheeki Monkeys

Check your local area for when your next sale is on, as they run across the year.

At these sales generally people are looking for a bargain so be reasonable with your pricing. Aim too high and you won’t sell anything.

If you are running the table top sale yourself, be prepared for some serious bargaining. Buyers will be out for the best deal, so if your happy get involved in some haggling.

An alternative to a baby sale are car boot sales, where you could do a de-clutter of more than just baby items. Car boots are run across the UK so search your local area for your nearest ones.

Best For: Getting rid of lots of items in one day.

Charity donations

If you don’t want to sell or you don’t have anyone else to pass on your thigns to a great way to de-clutter is to donate to charity. There are hundreds of charities running charity shops in highstreets across the UK, so find your local one to donate.

Some of the larger charities who accept baby items include Save The Children and Oxfam.

Once you have completed selling your baby stuff or giving them away, I’m sure your youngster will quickly fin new things to fill the space with!

There are lots of things I didn’t think I would do as a parent which inevitably now I do. Before having children I’ll admit I didn’t realise how hard parenthood really is. You only really ever see a snapshot of a parents daily life. There is so much that happens when no one else is watching.

You never know how much sleep the parent had the night before. Whether they had to endure a massive temper tantrum just getting shoes on. Or if they haven’t even had a chance to grab a coffee that morning.

Things I didn’t think I would do as a parent

Let them watch TV

Watching TV face

Before kids I assumed that I would greatly limit the amount of TV my children watch. I had vaguely heard of the channel CBeebies but hadn’t yet appreciated how important it would become in my life.

CBeebies has been a life saver at times. Especially this year during the early days of bringing a baby home, to a house with a toddler. TV became the only way to pacify my toddler so I was able to spend thirty minutes with the baby.

I do try to limit the amount my children watch, but in these winter month’s it’s not always easy. You’ve been up since six, fed them, taken them out, fed them again, put them down for a nap, done an activity at home….tv becomes a very helpful friend to occupy them for an hr or so while you get jobs done.

After all my efforts I probably haven’t succeeded in limiting TV as much as I hoped As at ten months old my baby’s first word was Peppa Pig!

 

Eat anything apart from healthy snacks

With my first-born I was very strict on only feeding healthy snacks. Until her first birthday she had never tasted any chocolate, crisps or biscuits. Snacks included vegetable sticks, rice cakes and fruit.

Move on two years and my ten month old has already pinched crisps from plates, had buttons shoved in her mouth from sister and devoured a biscuit on first sight.

It becomes an impossible task to keep a second child away from ‘treats’ if their siblings are exposed to them. Unhealthy snacks are everywhere and always attract young eyes.

During the Christmas season its harder than ever. To counter balance the treats I try to feed them healthy balanced meals. In the hope that they understand that treats, are treats, and balance is best.

Listen to children’s music all the time

My daughters love listening to children’s music. Everything from nursery rhymes for the baby to pop songs sung by Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble).

Whilst pregnant with my first born, I remember saying to my own mother ‘I won’t be spending all my time listening to children’s music’. She likes to remind me of this, when we have had ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’ on repeat for thirty minutes.

Parenthood is full of choices and decisions, some big and small. Now I am a parent I try not to judge anyone’s individual choices for their family. We all go down different paths and as long as the child is safe, cared for and happy, there are no rights and wrongs.

 

Is there anything you didn’t think you would do as a parent?
It would be great to get your comments, so please share below.

After suffering mastitis for the third time this year, I have made the decision to start weaning my baby from breastfeeding. Beth my baby is now 10 months and I return back to work in a months time. This decision to stop hasn’t been easy for me though as this will be the end of my breastfeeding journey.

I could continue to feed her for longer but the thought of getting ill again whilst working has put me off. Also she now is so distracted during feeding with her older sister around. It rarely is a pleasurable experience anymore, as she just wants to play all the time, not lie still.

Our last baby

My husband and I made a decision a while ago that baby number two would be our last baby. We are both completely in agreement and our happy with our decision to have no more. We feel very blessed with our lot in life and are very thankful.

When my second pregnancy was over with the birth of Beth I had no feelings of loss or sadness to not be pregnant again. I actually felt a great sense of relief that I wouldn’t have to go through the experience once more. Neither have I felt any sadness as I give away outgrown clothes and toys. I take great pleasure in decluttering our home!

However as I now approach the last few breastfeeds with Beth, I do feel a huge sense of sadness. Not necessarily to end my breastfeeding journey but sadness for the loss of dependence my baby needed from me. She is leaping into toddler hood in many ways and leaving me baby-less. As there will never be another for us, I will never again have another human being so physically reliant my body.

So I will gently mourn the end of the breastfeeding journey. Taking in these last few moments, knowing that I was very privileged to feel this way at all.

End of my breastfeeding journey

Ode to baby Beth

My little baby
Quietly feed
Snuggle up
Take all you need

Your growing now
And changing fast
Mum will miss this
It may be our last

My precious baby
If you only knew
It’s been a pleasure
Breastfeeding you

 

Rhyming with Wine