Picture the scene... beautifully immaculate house (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration!); late Edwardian property with period features, stripped floorboards. In comes Shyloh. And she’s hungry.
For some reason I thought I’d go down the baby led weaning route. To those who have no idea what that means, it roughly translates to, ‘let your baby fling food all over the walls, floor, cat, etc’. Ok, it causes far more mess than fat kids in a pie eating contest, but in all honesty I think it’s been worth it.
I knew that Shyloh was ready to start eating solids when she stole a strawberry off my plate and shoved it in her mouth. She’s lucky I didn’t try to take it back, as I’m usually very precious over my strawberries, but it was just too entertaining watching her suck the hell out of the fruit, drooling red slobber down her front.
From that point on, I became the puree queen – I was pretty anal about it, and made sure she started off on bland savoury foods, working her way up to flavoursome fruits. Me and Thom had previously spent £400 on a blender (we were sucked in at a food festival, but the man said it’s the best blender in the world so it must be true!), so I was making sure I got my money’s worth.
I started out pureeing things, as in all honestly, I was too scared to do baby led weaning – even though I had read up on it, I was terrified she’d choke on something. But I didn’t really need to be concerned. A baby’s gag reflex, unlike ours, is only halfway down their tongue, so if she attempted something that was too big for her, it soon came flying back in my general direction.
Shyloh has been wonderful with her food, and continues to amaze me. From about seven months old, she has been able to feed herself at meal times, she eats everything we eat, from coconut and chilli thai curry, to salmon and cous cous. You can tell she really enjoys her food – I generally gauge this from how far the food has spread around her face.
I must say though, not everyone is a fan of my method of teaching Shyloh enjoyment in eating. My mum thinks, and I quote, that I’m, ‘bringing her up like a savage’. I do try explaining the benefits but I’ve given up now. I now just find secret fulfilment when Shy flings her food across mum’s freshly hovered floor.
For anyone looking to try baby led weaning, I’d say go for it. I can give Shyloh a whole pear and she’ll work her way through it, leaving the core, or she’ll eat melon off the rind. She’s learning to enjoy different flavours, textures and shapes at her own pace, whilst being part of family meals and eating healthily. She’s awesome and I’m so proud of her, even if she does wreck my dining room three times a day!