Why Baby Food Doesn’t Deserve Such A Bad Reputation

ID-10048046Baby led weaning has hit modern parenting with a bang, and the trend is growing fast. As a Continuum parent, I love the concept behind BLW and the huge step it has taken in respecting our children and their bodies.

We trust them to know what they need and how much, and we respect their decision when they choose not to eat any more of a meal.

We can let them help themselves from our plates, and mealtimes become a time for being social and interactive, rather than strained and baby centred as we huddle over a high-chair trying to spoon feed a reluctant child.

We can offer them a range of fresh foods, and tuck in to the same things at the same time.

But where does this leave the traditional baby foods, the purees and the mushy vegetables? Well, for some of it, we can happily wave goodbye. Jars filled with preservatives and unnatural ingredients, powdered food that looks and smells as unappetising as a bowl of sawdust.

But not all smooth foods deserve our expressions of disgust. There is a reason that many health food advocates, and nutritionists alike recommend giving our system a break every now and then, by drinking fresh juices, home made smoothies and eating delicious vegetable soups. These smooth foods are packed with easily absorbed nutrients, and are easy on our digestive system. Without the need to waste precious energy breaking down a heavy meal, our bodies can concentrate on healing, and in the case of a baby, growing.

Babies have delicate and brand new digestive systems, and giving them something delicious and smooth to delve in to, is actually very good for them. Baby led weaners can get carried away, rushing headlong in to offering up the family roast dinner and shunning those traditionally used simpler foods. But simple is good, especially in those early days of weaning. Soft fruits offered as finger foods (As BLW recommends) enable your baby to experience and explore the act of eating, without bombarding the digestive system with too much, too soon, and blended fruits in a nutritionally dense smoothie are great to dig in to either in a cup or with a spoon. Both have their place. I enjoy a smoothie for breakfast every day and find that it is a very gentle way to start the day without weighing down my digestive system unnecessarily.

So where does this leave baby led weaning?

Smooth foods don’t have to mean abandoning the wonderful principals of BLW. Most babies are quite capable of directing a preloaded spoon in to their mouths from around six months old. They can use their fingers to explore thick smoothies or drink from a doidy cup. They can still choose when to eat and when to say no. We can still trust them and respect their decisions. And they can still enjoy a good old roast potato! It’s all about balance, and accepting that just because a food doesn’t come in the form of a finger food or an adult meal, doesn’t mean you aren’t a baby led parent. Being baby led is about so much more than offering finger foods. It’s about having a respectful and loving connection between parent and child, that can include “baby food.”

Happy weaning!


How have you approached weaning with your own child? Do you subscribe to the principals of baby led weaning? Do you agree that our children are capable of deciding for themselves how much and how often to eat? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Why Baby Food Doesn’t Deserve Such A Bad Reputation”

  1. I noticed that “too much too soon” wasn’t really true…I mean I could put some roast dinner in front of my then 6 month old and he would just take a couple of licks and leave it at that. Hardly a bombardment 🙂 Also the whole process of discovering how to handle food slows things down a fair bit. My problem with smooth stuff was…mostly me! Smooth was messy. BLW is messy, but smooth is just…MESSY! 🙂 Then the spoonfeeding a small baby is too easily turned into a game and I wanted to be sure that what he eats he eats because he wants to and not to please me or something like that..I have no problem spoonfeeding an older child (because he knows what food is for). I do it a fair bit know – my 3 year old whats to be a baby…funny that he was never spoon fed as a baby :)). Also smooth being easier to digest is questionbable – the digestion starts in the mouth with saliva. When we need to chew a bit the saliva gets a chance to work on starting the digestion, with smooth the food just goes straight to the stomach without getting this initial treatment. It might be more comforting to eat (I love my smooth soups!), but not necessarily easier to digest. Funnily enough, I’m having to move away from my favourite smooth soups to broths (new skill!) – my little guy likes to see what he’s eating (possibly a consequence of BLW?) and he’s much happier to eat something if he knows what it is. Sorry this is a bit verbose…BLW is one of my favourite topics 🙂

  2. So true! I am a die hard baby led weaner… BUT, I always tell people who ask to use your common sense… would you give a baby a raw carrot or a soft mushy pear to gum? Duh!

  3. P.s. I also ‘put’ food in my babies’ mouth when I feel necessary and spoon feed them sometimes if we’re eating soup or porridge of something. I also chew things up for them and put them in the mouth. I just do whatever feels right. I think it’s easy to get caught up in concepts about everything, even if it is cool and alternative!

  4. I liked the safety that came with not putting things in baby’s mouth…But that’s just me. As a first time mom, the whole introducing solids things seemed very daunting and complicated. BLW let me relax about it 🙂 Did you read the BLW book by Gill Rapley? It isn’t actually in the original BLW philosophy to avoid anything “non-fingerlike”. “Finger foods” is more of a traditional weaning concept. BLW food is just…foood. Normal food the family eats slightly adapted to make it easier for baby to pick up and explore (and eventually eat 🙂 ).

    1. Yes, that’s the whole point of the article – Many blw parents have heard about the philosophy without looking it to it fully, and have taken it to mean that it means finger foods only. This leads many to refuse to use spoons or provide soft foods for fear of not being fully blw. I wanted to clear up that common misconception and address those concerns.

      1. And just to add, when I say the use of spoons, I mean the baby holding a preloaded spoon rather than the parent actually spoon-feeding them in the style of traditional weaning. This meas the baby is still in full control of what goes in and out of his mouth.

      2. Looks like my previous comment got eaten 😦
        I did understand about pre-loaded spoons! I personally didn’t use them, but they are very useful and I heard people having success with them. I went with more of a “dipping” route 🙂
        I was wondering if it’ll be worthwhile to write about what BLW _actually_ is, because it is not quite clear from the article. By what it is I mean the original BLW book description. My be helpful for people who are just starting weaning and a bit confused about options?

  5. I love that take on it. We naturally have “breaks” with yogurt or applesauce or mashed potatoes.

    We’re “late start” BLWers. We didn’t hear much about it until our kids had already had several months of puree. Once in the finger food stage, I was looking for info on healthy toddler finger foods rather than prepackaged crap marketed as “easy to eat for babies.” I love the principles of BLW!

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