When it comes to baby-led weaning (BLW) it helps that I was already cooking many of our family meals from scratch. So supplying our daughter with a good variety of vegetables, meat and fruit, isn’t difficult.
I got it into my head at some point, that V. should experience good food in its natural forms before we start processing it too much. So the vegetables and meats are usually baked in the oven without oil or herbs or spices in large, easy-to-hold pieces. I avoid adding sugar, salt, seasoning, herbs or empty calories in the form of sauces. By coincidence this helps with a major side-effect of BLW: the mess. BLW writers suggest you can introduce meals such as lasagna to babies. My wife agrees that putting such a thing in the hands of a 7.5 month-old would be a disaster. It’s the same reason I’m not making V. little child-sized ‘fun’ foods. Aside from the fact that I don’t want to make her cheesy, pizza fingers that have smiling faces on them. Currently, my life is too short, I mean busy.
BLW means a lot of regurgitated food but don’t bother with bibs. Most are too small and too easily pushed aside. I recommend turning a muslin cloth into one giant bib. Tie one corner around the baby’s neck and she’s protected all the way down to her feet. She actually looks like she’s sat in an Italian restaurant, about to tuck into a plate of pasta. As much food gets dropped or knocked off the table, a tarpaulin under the highchair is a must.
Despite all this, mashed up sweet potato will end up on baby clothes every day. This has led us to label some of our daughter’s gifted clothes – the ones she was never going to wear outside the house – as eatin’ duds.
Finally, our daughter seems to forget she has food in both hands and gives her ear a rub with a strip of sweet potato, or ends up with chicken in her hair. Despite our best efforts, food will stick to face and hands and bare arms. That’s why we schedule weaning just before bathtime.