As promised Moggie here are the answers to your questions.
Firstly- how on earth do you get them to eat without leaving a mess all over their faces, clothing, couch, everything?
Well… Firstly we have a lot of different feeding bibs as you can see in the pics. LOL! I use different bibs for different jobs. The fabric ones have pockets at the bottom which catches some dropped food (not all) and is waterproof to protect their clothes. Then we have the silicone bibs which are great for when Lion Cub if feeding himself anything dry like bread or biscuits as he still hasn’t figured out how to swallow lumps without gagging and still throws up a bit. The pouch at the bottom is great for holding the inevitable baby puke and you can just snap it off and wash it in the sink. Then for really messy food especially juicy fruits I use a bib with sleeves. They are great, (I’ll give them a free punt because I like them so much) I bought two Mum2mum wonder bibs at the baby expo. They protect the boys clothing and let them really play with their food. (see Lion Cub in the last pic modelling the wonder bib)
As for their faces…well I just wait for them to finish eating and then wipe them clean with a warm, wet face cloth. I have a huge pile of face cloths because we use them for everything including burp cloths and even letting the boys chew on a wet cloth that has been wet with fridge water to help with teething.
The couch, well mostly they eat in their high chairs which are in the middle of a tiled floor and that makes the collateral damage a bit less. Also our couches are scotchguarded and we have throws over them that are easy to take off and wash if they do accidentally get messed on.
Everything else…well mostly I just let them make a mess and then clean up afterwards. 😀
I think getting messy and playing with food is important for a healthy relationship with food. At this age playing with textures and flavours is more important than actually eating as they get most of their calories still from milk.
Another nifty gadget is the mesh feeder that the boys love. You can put any soft food in it from bananas and pawpaw to cheese or pasta. The boys then chew on the netting and they get the food squished through the netting which stops them from choking on anything. This is really handy when I’m busy in the kitchen and want to give them a snack but can’t give them my full attention while they are eating. Yes with BLW you have to be right there with them, watching them and helping when they need it, you can’t turn your back for a moment.
When you said ‘from the beginning’ what age did you mean?
The recommended age for BLW is from 6 months. This is when they have good enough co-ordination to be able to put things in their mouth themselves. The point of BLW is that the baby learns to chew before they learn to swallow, this means that they won’t actually be “eating” at first and anything that gets swallowed is more by accident. We started our boys on rice cereal at 4.5 months and then after that pureed vegetables. I would have started BLW from the beginning except that I didn’t really know about it then.
Bumble Bee absolutely loves finger foods and eating from my plate but we often have spicy foods for supper.. Do you make separate food for them?
For their dinner they still get pureed food because I am trying to get their protein intake up at night hoping that it will help with their sleeping. I cook for them every 2 weeks and freeze the meals in silicone ice cube trays which I bought at Chec.kers for about R50 each. They are great because they are soft and it is easy to get the food out when frozen. I use as much organic and free range vegetables and meat as I can get, and avoid extra sugar or salt in their food. I think the boys eat better than us. Next I’m going to try giving the boys a chop or some steak to see what they do with it. Hee hee hee!
For breakfast they get cereal. For lunch yogurt, avocado, banana, pawpaw, steamed apple or pear. Mostly I mash things with a fork. Lion cub still struggles with lumps a bit but it is getting better.
As you can see in the photos, steamed broccoli is one of the boys favourite snacks. I dip it in plain Greek yogurt and let them chew on it. They love it.
Monkey will eat anything you put in his hand. He was ready to eat earlier than Lion Cub. Each baby is different so I guess you just have to judge for yourself. There is a lot of info available on the net if you search for Baby Led Weaning.