Now that Tiddler is 6-months, he is showing an interest in joining us for family mealtimes. With Toddler, we successfully used the Baby-Led Weaning method, and have opted to do the same with Tiddler. Memories of Toddler looking tiny when he first sat in his high-chair have come flooding back; Tiddler looks just the same!
Having dug out my BLW bible (Baby-led weaning; helping your baby to love good food – Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett), I remember that you can serve up pretty much anything that the rest of the family is having (making sure it’s not processed, or full of sugar and salt and is cooked properly if meat.
We began in earnest a couple of weeks ago. During week one, Tiddler had:
Sticks of lightly boiled or steamed swede, carrot, butternut squash and broccoli, plus sticks of apple, mango and celery; he particularly loved the celery, possibly as he’s teething and it felt nice on his gums!
He took to it pretty quickly, being able to grab the sticks of food and bring them to his mouth before having a good chew. His face when he accidently swallowed a bit of food was so lovely! Tiddler seems to be so much more advanced with eating than Toddler was. It’s possibly down to us. With Toddler we were quite cautious and only put one or two things out at a time, whereas with Tiddler, he has been sitting with us at the dinner table for a little while now and has been watching his older brother with interest; as it’s worked for us previously, we’re also a bit more laid back about it, less worried about him choking, and allowing him to be a bit more adventurous (I don’t recall giving Toddler celery for a long time).
In fact, Tiddler has done so well, that last night we treated him to his first ever roast chicken dinner which he loved. He had:
Strips of chicken, a roast potato cut into quarters, a stick of parsnip and carrot, plus a couple of pieces of broccoli.
Afterwards, I took a recipe from my trusty Annabel Karmel book and sautéed some chopped banana in butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice, before serving with a little Greek-style yoghurt in a bowl with a spoon. The resulting yummy and sweet tasting banana-y puree was lovely and I gave some to Toddler too! This was Tiddler’s first attempt with using a spoon so I pre-loaded a little of the banana mush for him and he took to it pretty quickly. I’d like to add that following the BLW approach, I wouldn’t usually make any sort of puree but this was quite yummy and a great way to offer a sweet (but low-sugar) treat.
I’ve also been offering Tiddler water (plain tap water) in a little sippy-cup, which he also enjoys, particularly as he has a cold at present and is dribbling a lot from teething, he’s probably grateful for the extra fluid (he’s formula fed by bottle now which isn’t as thirst quenching as breast-milk).
BLW is fairly easy really; there’s no need generally to prepare anything different for baby when cooking. The main tips I can give are:
– Only lightly boil or steam veg sticks, as if they are too soft, they break up when baby tries to pick them up (tends to happen fairly easily with butternut squash, even if I boil it for a couple of minutes!)
– Make the sticks 1 ½ – 2 inches long – babies like to grasp things with the whole of their hand, so it’s best to leave some space as a ‘handle’ with the rest of the food sticking out of their hand to munch on
– At first, BLW is about experimenting. I don’t expect Tiddler to have a proper feed from this for several months, but to find out about tastes, textures and improve his coordination; I try to make sure he’s had a milk feed before we start lunch or dinner so that he’s not hungry
– Include baby at family mealtimes at first to give him (or her) the opportunity to join in, even if only sitting in a highchair and playing with a toy. Babies learn a lot through imitation and will be eager to join in as soon as possible!
Tiddler has enjoyed the following food over the last fortnight:
– Florets of broccoli
– Sticks of lightly steamed / boiled carrot, swede, butternut squash, parsnip
– Sticks of celery, apple, mango and cheddar cheese
– Cauliflower florets with cheesy sauce (taken from our cauliflower cheese lunch)
– Strips of roast chicken
– Roast potato
– Banana with Greek-style yoghurt
– Piece of toast cut into strips