As parents we have the power to influence the nation’s future eating habits through our approach to weaning and the foods we choose to provide our children during their early years.
The meat rich Western diet is costly for the environment and the increasing prevalence of processed and convenience foods in our supermarkets has resulted in the over consumption of refined sugars and saturated fats by a large volume of people.
Weaning the Nation is not about reducing overall calorie intake but a call to parents across the nation to encourage the next generation to eat less meat and consume a greater volume of vegetables and take steps to minimise the nation’s reliance on processed food.
As a mummy I want to raise my daughter on real food from the start in the hope that she will embrace a lifetime of healthy eating as she grows and develops. I’ve set up this blog to document my journey as we wean my daughter and ourselves onto a nutritious plant-based wholefood diet through baby-led weaning.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is when babies are encouraged to feed themselves from the start. Initially this involves offering pieces of finger food that are easy for little hands to pick up and eat without the use of cutlery. The BLW baby joins in family mealtimes and is offered milk (ideally breast milk) on demand until they self-wean. When comparing BLW with traditional weaning, many advocates of Baby Led Weaning say that it is the more natural and more enjoyable way to wean. And they may well be right!
There are many benefits for the parent that chooses BLW over traditional weaning; there is no need to spend time pureeing and mashing food, no need to prepare separate baby meals and no need to spoon feed your little one whilst your own food sits on the plate going cold. Plus there are a great deal of benefits for your baby who will no doubt enjoy being able to explore all the different shapes and textures of food all the while honing their hand-eye coordination and developing important gross and fine motor skills.
One of the founding principles of Baby Led Weaning is that your baby eats what the rest of the family is eating. This is great if your family already resembles the living embodiment of health and wellbeing. But it’s not so great if you struggle to stick to the recommended five servings of fruit and veg each day and find yourself turning to pre-made convenience food slightly more often than you’d like to.
Whilst I maintain that we had fairly good diets in those pre-weaning days it was through introducing my daughter to solid foods that really made me look at what we were eating and decide to cut out refined sugar and most processed food and we certainly feel a lot better for it.
My main philosophy is that I wouldn’t offer my baby anything that I wouldn’t enjoy eating myself (so there was never a chance of feeding her a jar of puréed baby food) and I avoid eating anything that I wouldn’t be happy with her eating.
… aside from the odd G&T of course.
Kelly and Little Chickpea xxx