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.

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

 

Babies love repetition and nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce babies to music and rhythms. Babycentre has an article on the site about why repetition is important. There are so many to choose from but the following are my top five nursery rhymes for babies. You can sing along by yourself or add instruments such as rattles. As the baby gets older they can take over the instrument playing themselves.

Beth playing along to nursery rhymes

Best Nursery Rhymes for babies

Round and Round The Garden

Round and round the garden
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step
Tickle you under there!

When to sing – this is a great nursery rhymes to sign when baby is having a nappy change.

Actions to use – trace your finger tips across babies tummy as you sing the first two lines. Then walk fingers up chest to eventually give them a little tickle on the neck or under their arms.

This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed at home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
And this little piggy went
Wee, Wee, Wee, all the way home

When to sing – this is best sung when baby isn’t wearing any socks.

Actions to use – pretend each toe is a little piggy, play with each toe as you sing that line. When you get to last piggy, run your fingers up your baby’s body and give a little tickle.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

When to sing – one of the best nursery rhymes for babies, sung as a lullaby at nap or bed time.

Actions to use – clench and open your hand repeatedly to symbolise a star over your babies eyes.

Old MacDonald had a Farm

Old MacDonald had a farm
E-I-E-I-O
And on his farm he had a cow
E-I-E-I-O
With a moo moo here
And a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo
Everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm
E-I-E-I-O

…..repeat lyrics exchanging farm animals and their sounds.

When to sing – a lively nursery rhyme best sang when baby is active. Babies love the animal noises.

Actions to use – use different actions for each animal on the farm. With cows use your hands to sign antlers above your head, with pigs sign a snout and with chicken use your arms to sign wings.

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses,
And all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

When to sing – another nursery rhyme to sing at play time.

Actions to use – put baby on your knees and bounce them up and down, with a big bounce during Humpty Dumpty’s fall.

If your baby responds to nursery rhymes at home, it may be worth exploring Rhyme Time at your local library.

 

 

The Pramshed

When anyone thinks of mastitis they think about it occurring early in the breastfeeding journey. However as I’ve personally experienced it can happen at any point.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue caused by breastfeeding. The NHS say that it usually happens within the first three months of feeding.

I’ve now had mastitis three times during the last 10 months and it never gets easier. In fact dealing with the symptoms only becomes harder as your baby gets more active. I have considered moving completely to a bottle but once the pain clears I have found it easier to keep going with breastfeeding.

In my experience there are a few things you can do at home when you first notice symptoms.

Please note I am not a doctor or midwife this is purely how I personally have dealt with mastitis. If in any doubt go straight to your doctor and they will access you and may subscribe antibiotics to deal with any infection.

Home care to ease Mastitis

Take a hot bath or shower – heat is your friend with mastitis. The water and heat should ease some pain.

Comb your boob – this sounds like a weird one but use a soft brush or comb to try to ease pressure in your ducts. Do this in the bath or shower if more comfortable.

Use a hot water bottle – again heat will help ease some of the pain.

Feed on the affected boob – I know this sounds madness when you are suffering but it’s honestly the best thing that will help clear your ducts.

Use a pump – if you can’t bear the thought of feeding your baby, use a pump to help clear the blocked ducts.

Take painkillers – paracetamol or ibuprofen or both if you are able to do and are not allergic. This will be the fastest thing to bring down a temperature/fever.

Have rest – not easy at all with little ones but your body will be exhausted. Try and get some help from family or a friend so you can at least have a nap.

Rest with the furbaby while my other baby sleeps

Hopefully trying out these home care techniques will help minimise your symptoms, if you are unlucky enough to develop mastitis.

 

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Bringing a baby into your home for the first time is a daunting experience. Bringing a baby home when you already have pets can bring extra worries, so its important to prepare your cat for the new arrival.  Cats are highly sensitive creatures and a new baby in the home massively changes the dynamic and this can be very stressful for them.

We had our two cats, Oscar and Max, before we had children. They were my furbabies before I had any babies. When I was pregnant for the first time I worried how the boys would adapt. We followed some simple rules listed below to help  from the first meeting onwards, hopefully they will help prepare your cat also.

 

Ways to minimise your cats anxiety

Quiet introduction – try to minimise stress by introducing the baby to the cat at a quiet moment. Allow the cat to explore the baby and sniff its head safely. Stroke your cat so he understands the baby is not a threat.

Give them a cuddle – the baby will take over, but when you can, try to give the cat a cuddle too. He will feel a bit abandoned if he never receives

any affection.

Create a safe zone – allowing your cat space to be alone and away from baby is important.  This is especially true when your baby starts moving and your cat doesn’t enjoy his tail being pulled.

Pheromone plug-ins – they release synthetic pheromones into your home to relax the cat. You can also buy sprays but a plug-in ensures there is a constant release.

 

There is a lot of evidence about how a child benefits from having a pet at home. Parenting magazine covers in-depth five benefits:

1. Pets help with learning
2. Pets provide comfort
3. Pets encourage nurturing
4. Pets keep kids healthy
5. Pets build family bonds

The easier you can make that initial introduction and how prepare your cat the better your they will cope. The relationship that your cat and child will forge will be monumental in both their lives.  So enjoy the relationship as it grows between your furbabies and babies.