The advice on weaning changes from year to year, when my eldest daughter was 16 weeks old, I was advised to give her baby rice and porridge however with my youngest, I have been told not to give her anything but milk until she was 6 months old.
7 years ago, I recall standing for hours pureeing foods and freezing it in little pots, only to find most of it spat back out at mealtimes (I am sure this is no reflection of my cooking) whereas now, we are advised to give babies anything they can feed themselves. There have been reports by the NHS that spoon feeding make babies fatter but the research seems to be in its infancy, so once again mothers are left wondering if what they are doing is right. Here is a snapshot of the findings:
The general trend in results was as follows:
- Carbohydrates were the most popular food category for the baby-led weaning group, who liked carbohydrates more than the spoon-fed group.
- Sweet foods were most liked by the spoon-fed group.
- Preference and frequency of consumption were not influenced by socioeconomic status, although an increased liking for vegetables was associated with a higher social class.
- Using NHS BMI guidelines, eight children in the spoon-fed group were obese (12.7%) compared to none in the baby-led group. However, nine children in the baby-led weaning group (14.3%) were overweight compared to two in the spoon-fed group (3.2%).
- Three children in the baby-led weaning group were classed as underweight (4.7%) compared to none in the spoon-fed group.
- No difference in picky eating was found between the two groups.
In all honesty, I have found weaning a more enjoyable experience, rather than the one I endured 7 years ago, the little one is definately more receptive to foods at 6 months than my eldest ever was at 4 momths. So we have had great fun with banana, cheese, toast and cucumber, not forgetting the (apparently yummy) rice cakes. We do spoon feed with our breakfast, I am not entirely sure I would trust her with porridge at the moment, although after a sneeze the other morning, it was more like baby food wearing than baby led weaning!
There are lots of books about Baby Led Weaning (we are not endorsing any particular one here) or find out another mums perspective on baby led weaning in this great post over on Pink Oddy's blog.