Baby led weaning: the benefits for grown ups

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Do I believe baby led weaning is the way to go after a very happy five months of doing it with my babies? Yes. They will try any food. They have developed fantastic small motor skills, problem solving skills, and had a lot of fun doing it. They are so skilled in managing food now that I am astounded at their dexterity, sense of adventure, and healthy relationship with food.

But you know, it’s not just Snort and Coconut who are reaping huge benefits. It’s me.

Baby led weaning is great for adults, too. Why?

1. Getting back to basics

We are vegetarians and generally healthy eaters. But certainly for the first few months the babies were eating simple foods, and I had a chance to get reacquainted with many fruits and vegetables. Just as they were – either raw or lightly steamed. Seeing the pleasure my children took from these foods made me appreciate them more.

2. Healthy weight loss

It’s no secret I have a lot of babybabyweight to lose. But lately I have not been eating unless the babies have been eating, and I’ve only eaten what they eat. This makes me more thoughtful about my food choices, and it also means I am only eating healthy cooked meals – only what is good enough for my babies, in fact. I’m back on the weight loss horse and doing well.

3. My body is as deserving as theirs!

I was once a baby, and someone once took care with what they fed me. I don’t have anyone to do that for me now (excepting TMD, I suppose, but she’s only here in the evenings). I cherish and honour the healthy little bodies of my babies, and why should I deserve any less? I don’t need added salt, sugar, or fats any more than they do.

4. I teach myself as I teach them

I constantly hear myself saying things I really believe for my babies, but I need help learning for myself. Wisdom comes forth from somewhere deep within myself when I love them, and I need to listen to myself more carefully. What do I say to them? I tell them they don’t need to keep eating if they are full, I try to make meals fun (and there are no crazy food power struggles in this house!), I convey to them that I trust them to eat as much or as little as they need at any one time. All smart stuff.

5. I’m learning how to cook!

I’ve never cooked. Never. In my entire 31 years. But suddenly, driven by love for my babies, I am trying to make balanced meals. I am thinking consciously about including iron in most meals (important, as they are vegetarian as well), protein, fats, etc. I think nothing of creating what seem to me like gourmet pizzas – thick slices of crusty bread topped with tomato paste, cheese, lentils, green peppers, and spring onions. I make some pretty weird combinations of food, too, but I am having fun doing it.

6. My kids are smart about food, and I learn from them

When they are at the table, both crane their necks to see what I am carrying over. Coconut often lets loose with a big ‘mmmmmMMMMMMmmmm’ when I put things down in front of her or she tastes something she particularly likes. Both can really pay attention to their food, but they are also paying attention to me and each other. We laugh, we ‘talk’, we eat. They love eating and food, but they stop when they are done. And that’s that. They are teaching me in this area, as they do in so many other areas.

Food, to them, is something to be deeply enjoyed and explored, but it’s only one of the things they love, and it’s not the be all end all.

7. My confidence is growing

I feel more sure of my ability to care for my children and myself, and this is partly through teaching myself how to cook, but also from being able to physically prepare and clean up after three meals a day. This is helping me get fit (consider my weak muscles after months and months and months of bedrest and wheelchair confinement). I may not be able to get out of the house and take them places like a ‘real mom’, but within our house I am getting more ‘real’ every day.

8. Easy peasy

Baby led weaning is the easiest thing in the world. Sure, I have had a few heart stopping gag-a-rific moments, but those are long in the past. There is no crazy preparing of homemade purees or buying expensive store ones, either. We just eat what we want to eat, and the babies are capable of eating anything I eat. No extra preparation required.

With twins, I can’t freaking imagine spoonfeeding. My kids just feed themselves while I feed myself, and we all get to enjoy food with no power struggles, no weirdness about food, etc.

9. I am a better wife

Our biggest meal of the day is lunch. I’ve taken to making an extra potion of whatever we’re having and saving it for TMD to have for her dinner. This pleases me in a gross 1950s housewife sort of way. TMD has always cooked for both of us, even now when she is still working full time and I’m home with the babies. I make her evenings easier by having a meal prepared for her, because then it’s one less thing she has to worry about when she gets home. I like making her life a little easier, because normally it’s the other way around.

10. It’s a time of day when I can relax

During meals is one time I know both kids are guaranteed to be happy and enjoying themselves. This gives me three significant periods during the day when I know the three of us can hang out together without anyone falling over and bumping a head, stealing a toy from someone else, or requiring me to pin them down while giving eye drops (yes, Snort has conjunctivitis).  While the cooking and clean up might be a pain in my ass, the actual eating is SO MUCH FUN. I really enjoy myself, and the focus is on us as a unit rather than on how much food I can shovel in before someone needs my attention. It’s relaxing.

11. Breaking a cycle

I had to throw this last reason in here, though I’ll expand on it in a future entry. Let’s just say that by helping my children foster a healthy relationship and attitude towards food, I am breaking a cycle that exists in my family. This makes me feel good on an elemental level.

…..

So…anything I missed? What makes baby led weaning the right choice for you? Or are you thinking of trying it and not sure? I obviously adore it, and just to say I’m happy to chat to anyone who wants more info. You can find me @existere on Twitter, or on my facebook page.

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4 Responses to “Baby led weaning: the benefits for grown ups”

  1. Attila Says:

    4 Tips For Healthy Eating

    It is imperative that you always pay attention to what you are eating. Pay attention specifically to garnishes that maybe placed on your food. Many times these garnishes contain more calories, fat, and sugars than your food. Be very selective about the side dishes that you select as well.

    Stay away from sugary snacks as much as possible. Snack foods that are processed and in bags or boxes are generally loaded with sugar and high in calories. It is human nature to have cravings for sweets. Remember that most sweet snacks are empty calories and provide almost zero nutritional value.

    Try to develop a pattern for your daily meals. Try to eat each meal at the same time every day. Try to eat within a half hour of your scheduled time. Eating to far outside of scheduled times will affect your eating pattern, and can result in either feeling starved or actually losing your appetite. This will cause you to over-eat at your next meal.

    Another thing to remember is to eat only when you are hungry. If you develop a pattern of eating then your hunger will become predictable. DonŐt use parties and gatherings as an excuse to over-eat. You can destroy your diet for an entire week in one day of over indulgence at a party. There is no need to be rude when you are offered something to eat. Simply accept the food, but nibble a small piece. You do not have to eat the whole thing. This allows you to make your host or hostess feel good, and allows you to stay focused on your diet.

  2. Christy Says:

    This is a wonderful post. I wish I would have started Lily on BLW instead I started her with homemade rice cereal (only a few times) homemade purees. I pretty quickly got away from the purees and just started giving Lily really soft pieces of veggies. My hubby is very scared of giving Lily hard /tough/chewy… foods even now at 18 months old. We do a very modified version of BLW.

    I’d love your recipes or links you use as we have decided to go vegetarian.

  3. Sarah Says:

    I love BLW, even in my hybrid form. MP is open to any food or texture. Steve has even mention that there hasn’t been a food she’s refused, and he’s right. She may not want a lot of a particular food or taste at that feed, but she will at least try it.

    Steve, after 2 out of the blue gag reactions from MP this past week, isn’t sure he could go through it again if we have a round 2 kiddo. However, he is a panic-er (sp?) by nature and since feeding is my realm, we will do it again.

    Have you checked out Weelicious? She has some great and pretty easy recipes that are healthy for kids. The carrot snack sticks and O cookies rock MP’s little boat.

  4. Matt Says:

    “This pleases me in a gross 1950s housewife sort of way.”

    This?

    Made me laugh out loud SO, SO HARD.

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