My eight month old girl is currently eating her two and a half year old brother under the table and it makes me so very proud. My boy has had a string of tummy bugs and colds recently which is why he is no eating as much as he normally does and that bit isn’t great but I know he is on the mend so I’m not worried about him. No, the bit that makes me proud is that Faye is proving two points of BS judgment that people seem happy to voice loudly and frequently, to be completely unfounded. Never is a victory so sweet as when it comes administered by a not even 9 month old; schooling misguided, idiotic and unashamedly vocal adults.
Since I started Faye on solids alongside her exclusively breastfed diet at six months it is maddening the amount of times people have made the two following judgements. Firstly, and most definitely the stupidest, I have heard “my goodness doesn’t she eat a lot especially for a girl!” too many times to keep track. The remarks range from them thinking it is funny to call her a chubby girl and exclaiming how she will only get fatter if she keeps eating “so well” to actually advising me to not let her eat as much as a boy would! I know, I hardly believe it as I am writing it. There isn’t really any point in even validating this level of stupidity with spending too much time on it so all I will say is my daughter was born 8lb 9oz. She is also on the 98th percentile for height. That is one long baby folks. She is vegetarian, eats healthy food and lots of it. She can easily consume an adult portion of broccoli no bother at all. She is a powerhouse. A girl to be reckoned with. We often refer to her as our Brienne. I would be nothing but pleased if she turned out as strong and powerful as Brienne of Tarth! There are NO DIETARY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BABY GIRLS AND BABY BOYS!
The second and seemingly opposing view point (although amusingly enough they have both come from the same people on several occasions) is that if you do Babyled Weaning and let your child learn to feed themselves as opposed to spoon-feeding purees then your baby won’t get enough food or nutrition. So as I have done babyled weaning with both my children it would appear I am preventing my daughter from eating enough whilst at the same allowing her to eat too much for a girl? I know what you are going to say. Why even give these people the time of day? Well luckily for me, their remarks do not impact on the way Keith and I choose to raise our kids one jot. However I do worry that there are more people out there like this and others still who might actually be affected if people said this about their child’s eating habits so I wanted to write a little post about how we are getting on with Babyled weaning a
girl child, two months in. As you can see, she is thriving!
When Aiden started Babyled weaning also at six months I worried constantly about if he was getting enough food in because so so much ended up on the floor. Faye loves her food so much that is is rare that she will let anything fall to the floor which is handy. If she doesn’t eat much one meal though I always remind myself that she is still breastfeeding and gets all the nutrients from my milk. I hit upon the phrase “food before one is just for fun” a bit late on with Aiden but it is absolutely my gospel with Faye. I am actually pretty convinced that one of the main reasons she eats “so well” is because we are so very relaxed about it this time round. She gets the same meals as us (we don’t cook with salt and obviously she doesn’t get sugar deserts etc) and she eats whatever she wants/can manage.
So how did our weaning journey with Faye begin? Well I waited till Faye could sit up before starting her on solids as this is particularly important when using the babyled weaning method to avoid choking and allow the baby to feed themselves. She gabbed a piece of pepper out of my hand when I was cooking in the kitchen one day and it just went from there.
Babyled weaning is messy. That is one of those Universal facts. However much the child might want to get all the lovely yummy food into their belly, they are learning fine motor skills that they have never had reason to use before and as such mistakes will be made and pasta sauce will get EVERYWHERE! With Aiden we tried out a LOT of bibs that were totally useless until we hit upon Bibetta bibs. These bibs are amazing. The main ones we use have long sleeves which is essential for babyled weaning if you don’t want to change clothes every meal time. I have no idea why more companies don’t make bibs with long sleeves as I don’t know any baby who needs to wear a bib but is actually able to navigate their way round a plate of food and not get their sleeves covered in food. They are made of the most wonderful neoprene material that is super soft and absorbs everything. I kid you not, these bibs have had a full cup of water directly tipped down them and the clothes underneath were fine. They have a little pocket bit for catching food that falls down which is super handy for preventing waste and promoting a child’s independence as you can happily let the child try and eat things that are a bit trickier and let the bib catch any unsuccessful attempts without you hovering over your kid anxiously. I have a few so that I can machine wash them after every few meals and even though they are more expensive than some other bibs out there at £11 per bib, they actually work. I would take a slightly more costly amazing bib over a load of cheap useless ones any day. Size wise they will also last your child for ages as I still occasionally put one on Aiden who is coming up on three if it is going to be a very messy meal. These would be way up top of my list for weaning essentials and bring great peace of mind so you don’t need to stress about a little/lot of mess.
We started Faye on a little breakfast then a little lunch but l’ll be honest, she went to eating three meals a day pretty fast and certainly quicker than Aiden who needed to build up to it. Now she eats three very good sized meals and as she some days might only breastfeed three or four times, we also offer her a little snack once a day. This is normally something really easy to eat like a bread-stick or wafer when we are out and about but not quite at meal time yet. She gets fruit after every single meal just like her brother so I find the Essential Food pots from Tommee Tippee are really handy for transporting already chopped up fruit in when eating out.
Along with these pots, Tommee Tippee sent us a whole load of their other weaning products to try and we certainly have done that now. The Section Plates are a great design because even though I don’t put the plate directly in front of Faye currently as it would get flung, I do use it to keep her food on before I take little bits off and just put them on her highchair tray. They have three separate sections which is great for keeping food separate in case there is something she doesn’t like touching another item (hasn’t happened that she doesn’t like something yet but it could, maybe, someday?) Also I have seen that Tommee Tippee make a special Magic Mat that you can use with any of their bowls and plates to stick them in place so I would love to give this a go so Faye gets use to eating out of a bowl/plate.
I did give Faye one of the triangular Easy Scoop feeding bowls to eat her pasta directly out of the other day to see what would happen. She held it and ate out of it beautifully for around ten minutes before she picked it up and tipped the entire contents onto her tray and carried on eating. I can tell from watching her though that when she is a bit older and using a fork, the design here will be great for helping her do this successfully. She can already use a spoon if I load it for her and the Tommee Tippee Explora spoons are ideal as they are nice and small for little mouths and don’t stain which keeps big washer-upers happy!
Faye uses a Doidy cup at meal times with me guiding it otherwise there would be water everywhere but I always want her to have access to water when she is playing too so I use the Tommee Tippee straw cup. The Doidy cup wouldn’t work at this age without supervision but I can leave the straw cup next to Faye playing and if she is thirsty she can help herself. It does leak if shaken about which Faye has been known to do but the benefits of a straw cup over either a bottle or sippy cup are so significant that I will happily risk the occasional water covered baby when I return from putting a wash on.
Faye has tried so many foods it would be pretty hard to list them all. She is crazy for broccoli and also pasta (just like Mum!) She has had an Indian meal and ate so so much it was beautiful to watch her loving all the new flavours. We are yet to find a food type she doesn’t like, the only possible no no food were the olives she tried a few days ago but we need to return to them a few times to really see. Her dexterity if so good because of Babyled weaning. She can pick up individual peas and sweetcorn now which is endlessly amusing and tires her out before bedtime. A lot of time is spent at the dinner table because we eat all our meals with our children and they are pretty slow eaters because they do nearly everything for themselves. You need a good highchair for babyled weaning I believe because you want there to be no distractions like discomfort from straps or bits that will only distract them like crazy designs and padding. It can be an absolute nightmare when eating out to convince a kid to eat when the restaurants highchair is uncomfortable or distracting. Luckily at home Faye has her amazing Baby Bjorn highchair with no distractions and it is so comfortable she is happy to sit there for a long dinner no bother at all. She will also happily sit in it when we do art at the table! I’m also a big fan of the Baby Bjorn highchair because with it’s neat detachable tray, it is by far the easiest highchair to clean I have ever come across.
So far our weaning journey has been nothing but joy. Mealtimes are often messy and there is no denying that but they are also such a hugely important part of our days. We get to talk uninterrupted with the kids at meal times, oh the mad conversations we have. I love seeing them try new food’s and telling/showing me what they think about them. To watch them develop into these independent humans who can feed themselves is such a pleasure to see and yes, it is nice to be able to eat your own meal while it is still at least warm (who wants hot food anyway right?) Babyled weaning is one of my favourite “fad” parenting choices we have made and to me I see it as an extremely natural and healthy way to allow a child to learn about food in a very healthy way.
Disclaimer: I was sent some of the items mentioned in this post from Baby Bjorn, Tommee Tippee and Bibetta to see how we liked them. All opinions are honest and mine alone.