1. It’s Quick and Cheap!
Hallefuckinglujah at last something in this parenting gig that is cheap! As parents, we’re usually guilt-tripped into paying around a pound per pouch for over-priced organic purees or we end up manically peeling, chopping, steaming, cooling, portioning and freezing our way into oblivion to keep up with our tiny dictator’s demands. Baby-led weaning (giving your baby the same food that you are eating) has saved us time and money (and my sanity).
2. We All Get To Eat The Same Meal
Well, sort of. We’re vegetarians, but have decided to bring our son, Finley, up to eat meat (but that’s a story for another day). Where we can, we like to share the same meal and I add meat alongside. It makes meal prep a lot easier and it’s been lovely to watch Fin tackle food with confidence and independence.
3. I Get To Eat My Meal Whilst It’s Hot
An added bonus of baby-led weaning is that I get to eat my meal whilst it’s hot (with both hands, no less) as I’m not having to snatch mouthfuls of lukewarm food in between spoon-feeding. Finley happily uses his hands to tackle chunks of food, or can feed himself with a spoon, meaning he’s free to choose what he wants to eat from the plate, the order it’s eaten in and the pace at which he eats it. All skills we want to help our children to learn, right?
4. It’s Fun!
Yes, it’s messy too, but absolute carnage can be avoided with a coverall bib, some wipes and a sheet on the floor. Watching Fin happily destroy a Sunday lunch complete with gravy-dipped Yorkies has been worth it for the photos alone, and I don’t see traditional weaning as much less messy anyway. The radio’s on at mealtimes too. Watching Fin brandishing broccoli and clinking cups to 70s disco is a highlight of my day.
5. It Aids Development
Learning how to grip a slippery ribbon of roasted pepper, developing eye-hand co-ordination to get the food from hand to mouth and learning how to chew and swallow pieces of food of different sizes and textures several times a day has helped Fin’s dexterity. According to Gill Rapley, the author of ‘Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food’, “chewing food (rather than swallowing purees) develops the facial muscles that will be needed as [babies] learn to talk”.
After reading the previous paragraph, you might have me down as some sort of smug, puree-hating bitch. Not so fast though! Initially, I went to town on the homemade purees. Finley’s first week of food consisted of purees with a few finger foods thrown in for good measure. But after seeing how much more enjoyment he got from food in its intended form, I changed my mind.
It’s difficult to talk about weaning choices without provoking judgement. Whichever way you choose to wean your baby, it’s the right choice for your family.