Help me out here mums and non-mums. Just so we all know what we’re talking about – baby-led weaning is giving your little one, from a very young age, whatever it is you happen to be eating (although some foods at a young age are still a no-no, best to check these) and letting them get on with it. Literally. A sort of finger buffet if you like. If you’re eating spag bol then you lump a pile of spag bol in front of them.
This theory is great in principle – babies get stuck in to lots of different textures and learn to eat unaided without a spoon being rammed down their gullet a la foie gras goose. But the thing is, I like spoon feeding my baby because I know how much he has eaten and quite frankly, I am not sitting around while he shuffles spaghetti bolognaise like Jackson Pollock urinating on a bad day. That is not eating. It is painting.
It’s taken me 8 months to properly try it and tonight I did. Driven by that bosom friend of mums the world over: guilt. It had been strongly suggested by the midwife that I should try him with spaghetti bolognaise, so I did. Not the full whack I admit – I did spaghetti with a bit of butter (no siree tomato sauce). Yes he touched it, yes he was being exposed to texture and no, he showed very little sign of eating it on his own. Because it’s spaghetti. Because it’s bloody hard to do even as an adult but even more so when it’s been cut up into slippery shards and lubricated in butter or sauce.
Being a parent already has several challenges and there is no way that I will now start adding to those by dumping impossible-to-eat foods in front of my little man, confident that this will give him a healthy appetite and a wide experience of different types of food. What a load of bollocks. He will experience a wide variety of foods because I will ensure that he does, I will also ensure that he eats enough so that I can get some sleep and that he doesn’t become miserable with hunger because he has spent tea-time chasing a pea with his thumb and forefinger.
And lastly – as if there wasn’t already enough physical labour involved in having a child, the baby-led weaning mummy has to wipe down their child, the chair, the floor and most likely themselves. Sod that. Yes he is more than welcome to munch on carrot sticks, bread sticks, apple chunks, etc but no, he will not be pissing food up the wall for the sake of it while he lacks the dexterity to do so. It is absurd so to think and so to do. Here endeth the rantissimo.
If anyone can offer any contradictory and useful opinions or advice on this thing that has now become a thing that we are all supposed to be doing, then I will listen. Until then, viva Ella packs and mummy-led feeding. Hurrah!