You're feeding your baby what?

This was a comment I heard more times than I can count. Along with things like "but he doesn't have any teeth!" and "what if he chokes?" and "are you sure that's a good idea?". Have you guessed what I was doing yet? 

This was my journey into baby led weaning.

When my son was 6 months old, he decided that he hated spoons. No, not 'hated spoons' - he detested even the sight of a spoon with every single fibre of his tiny being. All of a sudden, my easy going little guy who loved his mushed banana wouldn't let me feed him anything at all. Like any first time mother, I panicked. I was a failure! I was killing my child!

Thank goodness, one of my friends had been through something similar with her little boy and she suggested I try baby led weaning. At first I was confused, then intrigued. I began reading everything I could find, looking on forums, checking with my doctor and nurse. How could my baby with his gummy smile manage to eat a piece of toast let alone a chop? I decided the only way to find out was to try.

I started with toast and spent the whole meal scrutinizing my son for any sign that he was choking. He stunned me by finishing the entire slice of bread. Next came sticks of steamed vegetables, soft fruits and scrambled eggs. He was loving this! While he ate, I tried not to cry as I scraped every last bit of my carefully prepared and frozen purees into the bin. 

And then the cooking adventures really began. I became obsessed with the food pyramid and recommended daily intakes of each food group. I grated vegetables until I had scraped every single one of my knuckles raw. I steamed and chopped and fried and crumbed and baked every single thing I could think of. Sometimes, he loved it and I was overwhelmed with happiness. Sometimes he threw it straight onto the ground and I wanted to curl up into a ball on the kitchen floor. 

I remember watching my fellow mummies with their home made purees and little spoons or sachets of baby food quickly feeding their children in cafes and parks and other people's homes. Feeding time at my house was a mission. There were little containers of different foods, different shapes, different textures, long sleeve bibs, sticky fingers and MESS. And in the centre of all of it, a very happy little man. That smile made every minute of it worthwhile. 

Once we had tackled the basics and the teeth started to arrive, the benefits of baby led weaning really began to show themselves. Suddenly, I was the envy of the other mothers! I could take my child to any cafe and feed him straight off my plate. To his credit, he tried everything I put in front of him and we had so much fun exploring food together.

He's nearly 2 now and still a brilliant eater. I'm convinced that baby led weaning played a big part of that. My freezer is still full of carefully labelled little bags of finger food but now they are things we enjoy together. 

If you're interested in trying baby led weaning, I recommend this website as a good place to start!