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Baby-Led Weaning and the Green Pea Monster

Ah, parenthood – a whirlwind of joy, exhaustion, and sometimes, food-related mayhem! I want to share a funny and informative story about my baby-led weaning experience, which inspired two poems in my debut children’s book.

What is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)?

For those unfamiliar, BLW is a method for introducing solid foods to babies around 6 months old. Instead of spoon-fed purees, babies explore textures and flavours through self-feeding with finger foods.

Why BLW?

BLW can be controversial, because it is not the traditional way of doing things. But there are many benefits to BLW:

  • Promotes a healthy relationship with food: Babies learn to listen to their hunger cues and develop a positive association with mealtimes.
  • Encourages self-feeding skills: Grasping, picking up, and bringing food to their mouths helps hone hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Reduces choking risk: BLW encourages chewing and swallowing development. Properly prepared finger foods (check out Solid Starts for guidance) are less likely to cause choking than purees.

My Green Pea Adventure

My son, affectionately nicknamed Jammy, was about 6 months old when we embarked on our BLW journey. Peas were a natural early choice because we always keep a bag or two in the freezer. Whole peas are a choking hazard for babies under nine months, so I mashed them up with a bit for cream for safety.

When I presented Jammy with his mushy pea dinner, his eyes lit up with excitement. He wasn’t interested in a slow, spoon-fed approach. Throwing the spoon onto the floor, he enthusiastically dug in with both of hands.

My kitchen became a minty wonderland. Green muck adorned the floor, walls, and ceiling. The cleanup was intense, but the experience was extremely funny.

From Messy Meals to Poetry

This messy BLW experience inspired my first children’s poem, Recipe for a Green Pea Monster. Countless messy meals since then led to me to write a second food-related poem, Time to Eat.

BLW might not be the right approach for every family, but for us, it was an unforgettable adventure. It was messy, it was educational (mostly for me on how to dodge rogue peas!), but most importantly, it was a rewarding chapter in my parenthood story.