Weaning methods pretty much fall into two camps, spoon-feeding purées and baby-led weaning and as with many parenting choices supporters of each can be somewhat zealous in their approach. I heard a radio interview with Annabel Karmel, a supporter of the spoon-feeding method, something which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that she makes her living by selling books and equipment to go along with this, where she pretty much suggested that by not following her preferred method your child was likely to choke and die. Conversely many Baby-Led Weaning parents that I’ve met or heard have come across as being supremely condescending and smug about what their child eats and would have you believe that BLW is the only way to wean a baby and will result in a child who happily eats everything you put in front of them.
Since I have started weaning Nano Mck I have come to the conclusion that the method you choose to wean is not really that important and that the success is more likely down to the temperament of your child and how they feel about food.
We have chosen to use BLW with both of our children, as it just seemed to suit us better. I like the fact that it means I can eat at the same time and it seemed to me a more relaxed and easier way to go about things, but the experience of weaning both my boys couldn’t be more different.
From early on Mini Mck would reject a lot of foods and mealtimes could be very frustrating and the length of time he would be prepared to sit in the highchair without trying to escape was short. This can still be the case, although we have seen an improvement recently. He really is a child that is not overly interested in food. He is far too busy and would prefer to snack and run rather than eat a large meal. Baby-led weaning doesn’t always result in a non-fussy, food confident child and it can be as infuriating as any other method.
Obviously I can only really compare the early days as Nano Mck is still just exploring food and understanding what it is for, but the differences are so striking that it has been like a lightbulb going on in my head. Suddenly I don’t question how weaned or whether I made mistakes in my attitude to Mini Mck and food. It is about the child not the method.
Nano is yet to reject any food that I’ve presented him with and has enjoyed a wide range of flavours and textures. He will happily sit in the highchair and patiently munch his way through dinner. In fact, I have started to seat him before the rest of us join him, otherwise one of us is left supervising him long after our meal is finished. He will eat at any time of day and positively lurches forward whenever he sees food being prepared for him. He seems to hold on to the food for much longer than Mini did, happy to persevere with whatever he has been given.
|Pizza, Eggy Bread & Roast Potatoes|
I still think that some children suit different methods, but I do believe that it is for the parent to work out what that method is. Even though we have had difficult meal times with Mini Mck I don’t regret my choice of weaning method, as I think we would have had the same issues had we gone down the spoon-feeding route. Ultimately both schools of thought get your child the nutrition they need and in my opinion neither are a guarantee that you won’t have some challenges when it comes to food, so just choose what feels right for you or more importantly what feels right for your baby. After all you do know them better than anyone.