Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BLW a year on: A Retrospective

It's been a while since my last update, and even though I'm back at work and don't have much blogging time now, I decided it was time for an installment. I didn't want to leave you with the lasting impression that baby-led weaning = baby-led whining after all.

Mae is 20 months old now and with over a year of BLW under our belts, I think I can impart a with-hindsight appraisal.

And I have to say, it's a thumbs up. I realise this is a case study of one, and I'm sure there are many 20-month-olds who started on puree and are just as competent at the dining table as Mae, but nevertheless, she eats a broad range of food stuffs with little fuss and nonsense, which was the aim of this venture, non?

It's not quite like in the book though. I think Gill Rapley would have us all sitting down for a jolly feast together every evening. But to be honest, I would rather eat with Chris at a leisurely pace after Mae is in bed, and enjoy a glass of wine that isn't under constant threat of being smashed to the ground.

Which means I do usually cook twice on week days, which is fine. This is what I do for Mae's dinner:

1. Whip up a carbohydrate staple, generally one of:

- Pasta
- Ravioli (spinach and ricotta)
- Couscous

2. Mix it with some kind of protein, one of:

- can of tuna (various flavour)
- left over/frozen homemade bolognese sauce
- omelette
- butter beans/chickpeas/peas/baked beans

3. Add in some kind of vegetable(s):

- cherry tomatoes
- broccoli
- sweetcorn
- cucumber

And top it all off with some cheese or cottage cheese, and maybe some pesto or some Rafferty's Garden tuna and vegetable if it's looking a bit dry.

She eats plenty of other things at daycare/on weekends etc, but I have found the formula above to be quite suitable for the rush for dinner/bath/bed after a long day, and you can get a surprising number of variations out of that lot!

Here are some additional food-related snippets from a day in the life of a baby-led weaner that may be of interest:
  • Mae doesn't eat everything, and if something is rejected, it is most like to be on the grounds of texture. Anything fibrous like a ripe mango, rhubarb and some meats will get chucked on the floor. And egg that is not a well-cooked omelette is also still a candidate for a shudder and a fling over the shoulder
  • She has recently taken to standing up in her highchair and shouting "out!" which can be somewhat tiresome
  • Her horsey (revolting pink My Little Pony, only redeeming feature being how its hair has become dreadlocked due to man-handling by sticky fingers over a period of months) often has to join her in the highchair. Sometimes she will settle for horsey "watching" dinner, giving its hair a welcome relief from the constant threat of tomato sauce.
  • I have noticed that if watched or "encouraged" to eat by anyone who is used to a more traditional baby meal, Mae will get a bit silly and start flinging things around or refusing things at random. I think it's definitely best to assume she will eat and for you to get on with something else while she does.
  • She can eat with a fork or spoon, but if she's hungry, she still resorts to fingers. One can shove so much more in with one's hands!
  • She is a speed-eater (like her parents). Strangers marvel at her ability to eat two pieces of cheese on toast in less than two minutes flat. We are not training her to be a pie-eating contestant (although there's an idea - maybe that's the BLW alternative to the beauty pageant! I hear those competitions can be quite the money spinner) but she is definitely an "eyes down to a full stomach" kind of girl.

So anyway, if you're new to this and wondering if it's all worth it, the voice of experience can tell you that it most definitely is!

Although having said that, we have not yet reached the terrible twos - I'm sure we're not out of the woods yet...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Baby-led whining

Recently Mae has turned into a fussy little tyke and I'm finding this to be something of a knock to my street cred as the baby-led weaner on the block. Despite all my best efforts, she is now rejecting previous favourites and scuppering my claims to have a baby that "just eats what we eat, really".

I persist though; yesterday I served her greek salad. "She likes onion, she's had feta and olives before, and cucumber and tomato are staples", I reason. "Oh no!" she whines, literally (her second word after "uh-oh" was "no", and now she has combined the two into a rather plaintive "oh no!")

She ate the tomatoes and the pitta bread, but not the bits with tsatsiki on; I had to get the plain yoghurt out as a dip instead.

"How has this happened?" I wonder. I think back to the weeks where I was applying for jobs rather then whipping up exotic offerings and she had pasta bows nightly. Is it my fault? Maybe taste buds and preferences are formed in the three weeks between ten months, three weeks and eleven months, two weeks? Maybe she saw another kid rejecting things and so she started getting ideas? Maybe she knows I'm writing a blog and wants to scupper it because she's really a teenager inside a 74cm frame?

Or maybe it's just what kids do. I mean I know they eat curry in India and sushi in Japan and no doubt greek salad in Greece, but I'm sure they are fussy too, and have preferences within their relative cuisines. And it does seem to me that her taste buds have become more sensitive lately - the way she shudders when biting down on an olive is entirely physical and in no way a game. I think we'll just ride it out and be thankful that she will eat any amount of fruit, cheddar, tofu, beans, pasta, bread and tomatoes - lamenting my 13-month old's distaste for feta and olives seems a very minor and very silly lament.

Still loving her pasta bows

And as for my street cred? I'll just talk up her other skills instead - she stacked cups the other day, and she's got four molars, and isn't "oh no" is a two syllable word? Phew, I feel better already.