Baby led weaning is a term used to describe letting your baby feed themselves from day 1. It includes giving your baby appropriately sized pieces of food so that they can learn to eat and chew without eating mush.
While I haven’t stuck strictly to the no mush policy I have been giving my boys finger foods from the beginning. They love to feed themselves! I have given them all sorts of fruit and veggies. Monkey is an eating machine, he loves new textures and flavours. Lion Cub is a bit more hesitant. He gags a lot more and isn’t as thrilled by having to chew, textures upset him and he would live on plain yogurt if I let him.
I do also give the boys mush which is against the strict premise of BLW but it works for us. I started the boys on solids at about 4.5 months. They started with rice cereal and then moved on to vegetable purees. Now I cook them meals which are mostly like what we would eat but minus any extra salt or sugar and using organic or free range produce. My latest batch of food is;
Lamb and lentil stew (their favourite)
Chicken, quinoa and vegetables
Between meals, before, after, whenever the fancy takes me I give the boys finger foods. Finger foods are more about exploration than nutrition. Their favourites include cucumber (Monkey especially), puff chips, rice cakes, organic baby biscuits, naartjie (they both LOVE naartjie, I buy seedless clementines and just bite a hole in one end and they demolish them one segment after another), slices of orange on the rind, banana, tomato, papaya, dried mango strips (another firm favourite), dried apple rings, avocado (Lion Cub is not a fan).
At first they gagged a bit. I noticed that if they bite off a piece of anything too big and it gets stuck they gag to move it and worst case senario they throw up if they can’t dislodge it. Of course I am standing there while this is going on ready to perform the baby heimlich in case they really start choking. You very quickly learn to assess what is going on and if it is gagging or choking. I suppose that is one of the tricks of parenthood, allowing your child to explore and learn while only stepping in when there is an actual need for you to do so. It can be a terrifying experience leaving your little one to figure it out.
Other things they enjoy are Woolies double thick Greek yogurt (Lion Cub), Hipp organic creamy porridge and banana porridge, the occasional cheese puff when mommy is feeling naughty. Lion Cub loves bread and sucking butter off of bread.
When we are eating we offer little bits of whatever is on our plate to the boys. This got is surprised looks and concerned comments at church when LC happily demolished a slice of banana bread.