It is generally acknowledged that your baby should be at least 6 months of age and be able to sit unaided before you begin baby led Weaning. Chickpea started to sit upright with confidence at 5 months and so my plan was to start offering her solid food at mealtimes when she reached 6 months old. However, just before her half-birthday she started showing a keen interest in the food we were eating so we started Weaning a week earlier.
I was super excited to offer Chickpea her first food even though I was fully expecting it to remain untouched or at least uneaten. Her first meal consisted of broccoli and lentil wedges (made from the recipe in “The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook….”, by Gill Rapley, Tracey Murkett).
Much to my delight Chickpea picked up and started munching the little items of food I had placed before her – isn’t it strange that babies can make us super emotional with even the most humdrum acts?!
I later discovered that she had managed to swallow some pieces too. At 6 months old a baby’s digestive system cannot fully process food so during the early stages of weaning anything swallowed comes out looking pretty much the same as when it went in. A pretty gross fact but super helpful for BLW parents wishing to know how much their baby is managing to consume.
The first days and weeks of weaning were really fun. Letting Little Chickpea explore new tastes and textures and observing her reactions to the food was super cute and provided priceless memories. I was very happy to have chosen the baby-led weaning route. I was a little on edge about the potential hazard of choking during each meal at first but that didn’t do much to dim the excitement each mealtime brought. I watched the video on the NHS website “How to help a choking child” about 10 times in the first days of weaning just so that I felt prepared in case of an incident which thankfully has never happened. *touches wood*
If I was to find any sort of downside I would say that weaning had put an end to the total freedom and simplicity that exclusive breastfeeding affords. Before weaning I knew Little Chickpea would want for nothing so long as she had me (and my boobs) around but now I would have to pack food or know where I could buy food out and remember which cafes in the area had highchairs. Also, I find myself putting more effort into grocery shopping and food preparation than I had done before and spending more time cooking and baking, but this stoked my passion for healthy eating and so I can’t see it as anything other than a huge positive for myself and my family. Of course weaning your baby onto solids doesn’t have to mean a great number of extra hours in the kitchen but I’ve taken this on as a project of passion and I enjoy every second of it.
Here’s a little list of the foods that I offered Chickpea in her first week or so of solid foods:
Foods that were partially eaten:
- Steamed Broccoli florets
- Lentil wedges – from BLW cookbook
- Steamed sweet potato
- Steamed courgette
- Banana – ½ banana offered with skin on and about an inch of flesh poking out
- Fingers of Mango and watermelon
- Roasted potatoes
- Weetabix – served whole with about ¼ cup of milk
Foods that ended up completely on the floor:
- Cucumber sticks – at 6 months Little Chickpea didn’t have any teeth and I think she found them too tough.
- Porridge Fingers – I used the Recipe in the BLW recipe book but Chickpea wasn’t keen because they were too bland to interest her. I later started trying out some more flavoursome oat bar recipes which went down very well with not just Little Chickpea but the whole family.
I hope you find this post helpful. Right now I’m looking forward to witnessing more first reactions to new foods and trying out some more recipes for healthy finger foods.
Peace out Mamas (and Papas),
Kelly and Little Chickpea xxx