Baby Led Weaning: Tips on BLW and Nutritious Food Ideas for Babies
Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures and we love wholesome and healthy meals for the family.
Now that Leroy has started on solids, we are returning to the basics of weaning. Just as we did with Vera, baby L will experience mixed feeding – Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and Spoon-feeding (also known as ‘Traditional Weaning’) – due to circumstances. Mums who prefer to offer pureed food and cereals to baby, here is a quick guide on how to introduce solid foods, and the bowel changes you may observe.
BLW purists may judge, but as parents, we know our children and family situations better than anyone else. Let’s embrace the “fed is best” ideology together, shall we?
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Coined by Gill Rapley, a midwife and former health visitor, the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) technique embraces baby’s development to self-feed and lets him decide how much to eat. There’s no puree, spoon-feeding or force-feeding involved; purely led by the baby (hence, “Baby Led Weaning”) during meals.
Tips on Getting Baby to Start Baby Led Weaning
#1: Do your homework
Parents are encouraged to read Gill Rapley’s books on BLW, and she has a recipe book which offers some ideas too. It’s also important to get support from your child’s caregivers. Show them videos, articles and walk the talk by demonstrating how it is done with your baby. The key aspect is for them to be confident and comfortable, so parents need to prepare the adults prior.
#2: Safety first
Besides making sure that your child is able to sit on his own unsupported, always ensure adult supervision when child is eating – BLW or not.
Some parents prefer to sign up for a First Aid course, to keep themselves prepared. It would be important to know what to do should baby chokes, and it is equally important to understand the difference between gagging and choking. That helps put parents and caregivers at ease, because we know how it feels to see our own child gag on food, coughing hard to get the wedged food out, and vomiting everything out. Yup, we’ve been there.
#3: Be prepared for the mess
It’s an exploration journey, right? :P Some families place a plastic sheet or mahjong paper on the floor during mealtimes, to help catch flying food. About those bibs? Yeah, we make do without them these days since Leroy is too distracted by it. Chill!
#4: Be patient
Some days are hits and misses. Some days, baby totally ignores the specially prepared food. Other days, baby eats like a champ. Just keep going!
During the initial days of BLW, baby may not pick up food to put in his mouth, or swallow any food. After all, starting solids is a new chapter for them (their only diet has been milk for all their lives!), so let your baby try.
#5: Don’t stress out
This helps mums and dads remember that babies are just…. babies! They have moods which affects their appetites, they might be too tired to eat, or are simply not in the mood to eat anything. Some days they may love that muffin, but the next day, they may show you a disgusted look. Children are mini versions of adults, yes?
If your child is active, happy and eats something whenever food is offered, or is interested when others are eating, he may not actually be having any issues with eating. Parents know best – do seek professional help if your baby is not gaining weight or has a major disinterest in feeding.
#6: Understand your child
Vera was a champ eater; Leroy is a small eater. I’ve come to realised and understand that, and while it was initially worrying because he ate rather little, I’ve also learnt to take it in my stride. Both children have different nursing and eating habits, so we need to understand our child as individuals, and quit comparing with other kids.
For first time parents – this can be very stressful and pressurizing especially when family or relatives start commenting on baby’s weight/size/eating habits etc. Let’s not forget that adults come in all shapes and sizes too – and genes play an important role when it comes to baby’s built!
#7: Don’t judge others
Whatever weaning methods we partake, mums and dads should remember not to judge other’ style and arrangements. What may work for you, may not work for others, so let’s be kind. Parenting is tough as it is, and the least we could do is support one another! :)
Easy and Healthy Recipes for Baby Led Weaning
Since we started weaning Leroy at 6 months 5 days, it’s been an interesting journey so far.
As a mum who’s big on eating healthy and nutritious food, I try my best to offer the same to my kids. Good eating habits start from young, and parents are their best role models too. As Dr Ang Poon Liat shared tips on nutrition and how our food choices affect our health and wellness, it’s important to eat well, and that need not mean expensive food, or dishes that are difficult to prepare.
We started with simple basic food that were neutral in taste for his palates, and subsequently introduced a wealth of flavours and a variety of textures. Nutrition is important – so good fats from Avocado and Salmon, Vitamins from Fruit, Proteins from Meat and Vegetables, Antioxidants from Rainbow Vegetables (more info on the importance of a rainbow diet) and more! No extra salt added, but really letting Leroy experience the natural tastes and essence of food.
Here are some easy and healthy recipes for baby’s first foods and how we embarked on Baby Led Weaning with Leroy. Photos portray how the food was cut and presented to baby so it’s easy to hold. They usually start off with Palmer Grasp, then Pincer Grasp (great practice with blueberries and grapes!) before progressing to utensils. Each child develops differently, so enjoy the solids journey!
Touted as a superfood and often one of the first food to start baby with, Avocadoes are brimming with goodness for brain development and a healthy central nervous system.
Nutritional Benefits: Unsaturated fats, carotenoid lutein, folate, beta-carotene, Vitamin E and potassium. Assists in the absorption of nutrients such as lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene, and various vitamins & minerals.
So, the little one had his first taste of avocado over the weekend! He chomped it like a pro, both K and I were pleasantly surprised! . He has been trying it for a couple more days now, but it seems like he's losing interest 😂 . Well, off to a good start and we shall keep going at it. Afterall, weaning is a new chapter as with solids are new discoveries for babies! Chow on, baby bun! 😋
At times, it may get a little too slippery, so the avocado skin may simply slip away!
Steamed Sweet Potatoes
Might have been better to offer it like a banana!
Nutritional Benefits: Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, Purple ones are packed with antioxidants!
The white counterpart to Brocolli, we offered Leroy with Cauliflower because he had ‘wind’ as a baby, and Brocolli is known for making one ‘gassy’. He has since tried Brocolli though, and all is well :)
Nutritional Benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
Today's #babyfood: Steamed cauliflower . Broccoli would have been served if not for its bad rep for causing gassiness. Cauliflowers have softer and somewhat shorter stems, but it's not like it really mattered anyway. My 3 carefully chosen florets were dealt with choke-slams, somersaults and pinches faster than I took to nitpick the most ideal parts of an entire head of veg😳 . Hello, baby! 👶🏻 Keep chewing!
Steamed Celery Sticks
These are great for teething babies to gum on too! And bringing celery sticks out for outdoor meals is easy and handy, with less mess (and stares!). Celery is also known to be good for the immune system too! Celery juice, anyone?
Nutritional Benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, iron. fibre, phosphorous, riboflavin.
Skinny or chunky? Green or white? Asparagus are yummy when steamed, roasted or stir-fried, and it’s easy for Baby Led Weaning too! Simply cut into short pieces, and let baby enjoy!
Nutritional Benefits: Rich in vitamins K, C, and A, fibre, folate, and amino acid called asparagine which helps clean out toxins.
These skinny ones were a tad too skinny – the thick asparagus was easier to grab!
Bread seems like a favourite with both Vera and Leroy! Like Vera, Leroy had his first taste of bread on his first holiday – in Korea, for this guy!
We’re not too fazed by regular “commercial” Gardenia bread, and both kids enjoy those loaves and freshly baked ones too. Everything in moderation :)
Nutritional Benefits: Carbohydrates for energy, fibre and other nutrients depending on type of bread. Nuts, wholemeal, fruit offer additional vitamins and minerals too.
Iron-rich greens are awesome, because mama was low on iron during pregnancy. We did some Kale+Pork+Tofu Patties for Vera back then, maybe it’s time to create them for this little boy!
Nutritional Benefits: Kale offers a higher dose of iron, proteins, Vitamin C, calcium and vitamin K, as compared to Spinach, which is also one of our perennial favourites.
Baked Red Spinach Frittatas/Egg Muffins
This is my fave recipe because it’s super versatile – simply add ANY ingredients and you’ll get a wholesome meal for baby! Many parents regard egg as a wholesome food for babies, and cholesterol is crucial for brain development.
*Tip: To test for egg allergy, offer yolk for 3 days, followed by egg white for 3 days. As it is, Leroy is reacting to egg white/whole eggs! Looks like my Egg-free Patty recipe and Egg-less Carbonara recipe would come in handy now.
Nutritional Benefits: Rich in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K, choline, vitamin B12, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, zinc, copper, selenium and more.
Someone was mighty pleased to get first dips of these Baked Red Spinach Frittatas! Glad that he managed to eat slightly more than usual, and his dining habits (nursing included!) are really quite different from Vera's! So much to learn with another child since no two kids are ever quite the same. Are your kids pretty different from each other too?
Ohhhh, that sweet ‘nana was a winner at first attempt! We tried mixing Avocado and Banana (which Vera and K has for breakfast), but he wasn’t a fan.
Some babies might experience constipation though (BRAT), so do offer bananas in moderation.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides energy, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fibre, potassium, iron, vitamin A, biotin, and other nutrients.
He started off a little apprehensive about it… But the more he managed to bite off, the more he liked it. He soon realised it was sooooooo good, he had his tiny fingers around it so firmly and he ended up gnawing the other end of that piece too! And before I knew it, he was licking his fingers, picking up tiny bits off the tray and was definitely belly happy! I should have known 🐵❤️🍌😂
AHHHH.. these pancakes were done on a spur, and they’re soft and fluffy, so here’s the easy pancake recipe! Both enjoyed them, BUT, those eggs gave him a rosy chin :(
Nutritional Benefits: refer to “Egg” and “Bread”.
☀️Good morning, everyone! Since babies don't differentiate between weekends and weekdays, lazybones mama had to wake before everyone else even on a Sunday. Oh wait. That's #momlife ain't it?? . Blurry eyed and pre-☕️, I must be nutty to decide to serve up some baby pancakes. Well, looks like someone couldn't wait to try them afterall! 😆 Cooking for appreciative Guinea pigs, I mean, children, always makes me smile. What's for breakfast today, our friends? . Search: "Pancakes" on the blogazine for recipe🍽 #deekitchenexperimenter #homemadepancakes #thehootingpost
Baked Banana Rolled Oat Fingers
Oats is one of the world’s superfoods, and these whole grains pack essential nutrients that a growing baby needs. Oats are also easily digestible so that’s good news for baby’s immature systems too.
Nutritional Benefits: Fibre and energy, zinc, iron and manganese, which aids in haemoglobin production.
Chicken, Zucchini and Potato
Animal and plant sources of proteins are great for babies in supporting their growth and development. It’s great to switch around the different sources so baby enjoys nutrition from a variety of food. Potatoes are carbohydrates, and can be used in place of pasta, bread, rice, noodles, bee hoon etc.
Chicken – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folate, biotin, and choline, selenium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.
Zucchini – Vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus, high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, and calcium.
Potatoes – Vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, fiber, pantothenic acid, and phytonutrients.
This time last year, we were anticipating your arrival – just about anytime. Who'd knew you'd be as prompt as your sister, both waited to be fully baked at 40 weeks! And, today, you're an active, friendly, playful little boy who's ever-ready with a toothy smile for everyone. . Happy 9 months, my little baby 🍞. Let's celebrate this special day with a plate-eating ceremony 🍽😝 Because, plate-throwing is just passé 😂
These are just some of the food we have offered to Leroy over the last three months. More updates are on our Instagram, if you’d like to find out what’s on his plate! :)
With Christmas just round the corner, I’m looking back at these easy Christmas food art inspirations for the children!
Christmas with Friso
Let your children bask in the season of gifting, with these exciting presents that await them! Get your hands on Friso gifts when you spend between $98-$598 on Friso participating products from now till 31 Dec 2016! Find out how to get your fave JuJuBe, or that skate skooter for your kids!
Families are also invited to join in the Friso Experiences Roadshow happening islandwide from now till Dec. Activities, games and freebies await you!
This blog post is in collaboration with Friso. Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges. To find out more, visit Friso’s website and follow Friso on Facebook and Instagram. #frisosg #frisostronginside #frisoexperience