Luke has turned 7 months and is slowly getting the hang of eating solid food. Just as I did with Max, we are using the baby led weaning technique. It works for our family cos it means I don’t need to make a separate meal just for Luke, he can eat whatever the older two are having.
I started off with fruits like bananas, poached apples and pears. He has also tried cucumber, brocolli and steamed carrots. Baby led weaning is messy, there’s no two ways about it. Take a look
And more prunes! Prunes are great to help relief constipation
He loves his avocado
Avocado gets slippery over time as the child keeps handling it so they may need so help picking it up
Gumming on his piece of steak and loving it
He liked plain pasta
Loved his oranges as well
Not a fan of watermelon
He was absolutely delighted with his “chicken rice”
When we are out and people watch him eat, they always stare in amazement. One common question everyone asks ” does he have any teeth?” When I tell them no they look at me like I have horns growing out of my head. Let me clarify, even without teeth he can gum on most foods that are naturally soft or have been steamed/ boiled. Anything that you can mash between your fingers is pretty safe. Now you’re going to say ” but what about the chicken and steak?” When we give him meats, he usually sucks on them that’s it. Of course the meat breaks off at times so you have to watch your child at all times. Number one rule of weaning, never leave your baby unattended with food.
At his age he plays with his food more than he eats. It’s about exploration, I don’t force him to eat anything , neither do I place a piece of food into his mouth. With baby led weaning you let the child pick up the food and feed themselves. At times they will put a whole chunk of food into their mouth which may startle you. But they usually know how to push their piece of food back out again, don’t panic. Trying to take a piece of food out of their mouth with your finger could result in you pushing it even further in.
For now Luke seems to be enjoying his food tremendously. He is a very adventurous eater and would try almost anything placed in front of him. After having a fussy eater like Max, I’m hoping Luke will continue to enjoy his food.
Luke is going to be 6 months old soon, in the last few weeks he has started to show a great interest in our food. I was looking through old pictures and found some of Max . Let’s just hope Luke will be a much better eater than his brother.
One of his first foods, ripe banana
Still a favourite till today, steam broccoli and cheese
I miss his baby face
I can’t remember what he had that day, rice? Mash potato?
Oh yes, baby led weaning can be VERY messy
Yes it’s Max! He’s finally beginning to enjoy his solid foods, today he devoured a bowl of Rataouille with spaghetti. It was a very messy process but lots of fun for him. The meal ended when we tried to throw his bowl onto the floor. While Max was busy with lunch, Ally was busy grooming her pet dog.
It’s always easier to let Ally have her lunch first, she can entertain herself while I supervise Max’s lunch. If Max finishes his lunch earlier than her, I spend my time trying to prevent him from taking her bowl off her table. Sometimes I wish I had 4 hands, it would make mealtimes a lot easier.
When I was sourcing for information about baby-led weaning, I managed to find lots of tips and recipes. But none that really catered to our Asian way of cooking. Having to prepare to different types of meals for two children on a daily basis was tiring and a huge waste of time.
From my own trial and error, I’ve discovered a way to just cook 1 meal that both children can eat. One of my favourite things to cook is a double boiled soup with rice. It’s easy to do and everyone in the family enjoys it. I don’t own an electric double boiler, I just use a big pot filled with water and place a smaller soup pot inside. Put it to cook first thing in the morning and by lunch time, it’s ready to eat. The children love double boiled chicken soup with mushrooms and carrots. The meat and carrots are soft and tender enough for Max to eat on his own. I still feed him the soup cos I really can’t bear to clean up the mess.
Another method of cooking that I often use is steaming. With an electric steamer, it’s quite fool-proof. An easy and quick dish to make is steam fish with tofu. I add a couple of ginger slices to the fish and steam it in a home made chicken stock. Just add a bowl of rice/ porridge for a complete meal.
You can choose to braise meats to make them tender and easy for young children to chew. I’m definitely not a gourmet chef so if it’s easy for me, I’m sure anyone could do it. Nothing is more frustrating than slaving over a hot stove for hours to prepare a meal for the children only to have them push it aside after one mouthful. There are days when that still happens in our home, but at least I don’t feel such a heartache since it was easy to prepare and cook.
I know I’m going to get a lot of flake for this post but I shall go ahead and write it anyway. I’ve written about my woes in trying to feed Max, you can read about it here and here. Since then I’ve taken to letting him decide how much he wants to eat at each meal. Trying to force him to eat what I thought was appropriate was upsetting him and stressing me out.
I first read about baby led weaning from here. It seemed to make sense to me and out of desperation I decided to try it out. After a few months I’m proud to say that meal times are a lot happier and ten times more messy. I give him a portion of whatever I’m cooking Ally for lunch, I just chop it into bite size pieces and let him feed himself. Once he starts throwing food on the floor, I know he’s full and I just take it away. His dexterity has improved tremendously and most importantly, I’m following his cues and not forcing him to eat when he’s full.
He has turned out to be a more adventurous eater than Ally. I know lots of people will be concern that he’ll still be eating with his hands by the time he’s 10. Truth be told, we started to let Ally self feed around 8 months and before she turned 2, she was able to use cutlery to feed herself.
I shall let the pictures do the talking, the kids had spaghetti bolognese for lunch the other day. I cut up Max’s spaghetti into shorter strands and he had such fun with it.
He's actually enjoying his food
Ally wanted to eat with her chopsticks instead of a fork
Messy but effective
Baby led weaning is definitely not for everyone. If you’re worried about how much your child consumes at each meal, maybe its not for you. If you don’t like to clean up big messes, its definitely not for you. It works for Max and it works for our family cos it makes meal preparation a lot easier for me. I still spoon feed him certain meals especially if its porridge cos I really don’t fancy cleaning up a porridge covered living room.
I’m not sure if I should jinx myself by saying this out loud but the Pork Chop is finally eating! Yes, eating! Not just one or two teaspoons, but an entire serving. He takes a small breakfast, usually some fruit or cereal. For lunch I give him a portion of whatever Ally is having that day, at least it saves me from cooking two separate meals. Dinner is usually porridge with some vegetables.
I’m definitely more relaxed with what he eats, as long as he shows an interest in our food, he usually gets a taste.We’re still continuing with baby led weaning but he’s a lot more receptive with being spoon fed now.
Scrambled eggs for breakfast
As most of you will know, I have had little success with enticing Pork Chop to take much solid food. He still eats not more than a few tea spoons of anything offered and out of curiosity, I decided to try a different approach.
Not much has been said about baby led weaning , it basically means skipping the runny purees and offering age appropriate food for the child to self feed. With Ally it was a little different, I let her self feed from a very early age but due to her cleft palate, I was always a bit more cautious. Weaning was simple and straight forward, besides one unfortunate incident with a teething biscuit stuck up her cleft. Even with her cleft palate, she managed to figure out a way to eat solids. Now at 32 months, she can feed herself well and is in the process of learning to use chopsticks.
Anyway, I chose to let Max self feed every morning. I don’t have the time, patience or energy to clean up after him 3 times a day. Armed with a bowl of baby cereal, I covered the floor with a mess mat and hoped for the best. He had a ball of a time putting his hands in the bowl, flinging the spoon everywhere, getting cereal in his nose, hair, ears…etc. But I did notice him eating quite a fair bit and after that, he even ate some of the steamed broccoli. It was a positive and extremely messy start.
Granted, baby led weaning is not for everyone. Most of the older generation, including my own mom would frown upon it. I’m going to give it a try and see where it takes us, hopefully this is the solution that I’ve been looking for.
The mess after the cereal
Practising his pincer grasp
One very messy Pork Chop