Gill Rapley is the woman who coined the term Baby Led Weaning (BLW) roughly fifteen years ago. She openly encourages parents to allow their babies from the age of 6 months to explore food on their own without the use of spoons or purees. From what I gather (thanks to her website and other moms I have talked to about this process), baby is offered various finger foods and given the choice about what he/she will eat. Now, with my first little this was not a problem. Sosi was easily able to manipulate food and had limited issues chewing and swallowing the smaller bites of food. Fast-forward to today with my second, and BLW is just not for her. She does not really chew her food, she is more of a down-the-hatch kinda kid and this results in choking sounds and her mother having a heart-attack at every meal.
SO, we are officially combination feeders. I do not puree her food but I definitely steam, boil, or insanely chop it up into minuscule bits so that we both can enjoy her learning to eat.
Now, in order to keep my sanity and to continue exploring new flavour combinations we rely on a few key products that I am absolutely obsessed with. The first (in no particular order) is The Nibbler by NUBY. This little gem makes introducing different foods way less stressful. They have mesh nets that you place the food in,“Squeeze and Twist” locking system prevents child from opening, that way baby can chew away without the fear of choking.
Both of our kids absolutely love chewing on these when they are working on new teeth! Even a plain ‘ole ice cube does the trick when a little relief is needed. I really like how you can combine different ingredients into the cubes as well. All you need for the cubes is a blender or food processor, some yummy, organic (when possible), fully cooked food, and an ice cube tray. With some foods I add a little bit of water while processing, it helps the food slide into the ice cube trays and it freezes more evenly. I like to freeze my cubes for at least a few hours. Once they are completely frozen I store the goods in a reusable freezer safe container. I have read that they can stay in the freezer for up to three months but I prefer to use them within a few weeks.
The green cube = steamed spinach, cooked chicken, and baked sweet potato.
The orange cube = cooked carrots.
The clear ones are a variation of fresh fruit combinations (straw, blue, and raspberries) and a little lemon for a zesty spin.
Tip: make sure to clean the nets as soon as possible and try to avoid sticky foods such as baked sweet potato and banana. Also, you may want to order extra Nuby Replacement Nets now. I keep a few stored in the freezer, pre-stuffed with some of my ice-cubes-foods stash, so it is easy to swap out foods as each net is emptied at each meal.
Our next must-have is The Boon Pulp Silicon Feeder.These are terrific for fruits, fully cooked meats, veggies or a combination of foods. We also like to throw in frozen options such as organic sliced banana, strawberries, and peas are among the favs! I also like the handle with the hole so we can easily use a soother attachment to keep it from falling from the highchair or stroller. What do you do to increase the healthy, non-processed food your baby is exposed to?