We’ve just come back from six days away over Easter, during which time we’ve eaten out A LOT at lots of different types of places – motorway services, art gallery cafes, pubs, posh restaurants – and I’ve just been really struck by how glad I am that we’re doing babyled weaning and how enjoyable eating out with a baby can still be when you’re doing it this way.
I particularly love that we can all eat together at the same time. Now that Daniel is so much better at picking up and keeping hold of things, I don’t even really have to help him out that much, and we can all just get on with our meals in tandem. It would be so different if we were having to heat him up a jar of something and spoon-feed it to him whilst hoping our own meals weren’t going cold.
I don’t really want to draw direct comparisons with how my other new-mum friends are doing things – each to their own and whatever works – and as I’ve noted before, it’s funny how rarely our babies actually eat together now that they’re weaning, after months of communal boobs-and-bottles sessions! So I don’t really know how they are dealing with the coordination of baby feeding and grown-up feeding. But I had lunch at the home of a close friend recently, who has three little ones under 4 years old (and who I’m sure won’t mind me commenting), and it felt really weird that our little ones ate separately, before us. Her youngest is a couple of months younger than Daniel and is traditional weaning, so my friend first had to give her full attention to feeding her baby some pureed veg. And then her 18 month old needed some encouragement to finish his egg on toast so she had to do some spoon-feeding for him too. Now, I know this was probably more about concentration and hi-jinks rather than physical ability to feed himself (and Daniel is sure to have his ‘trying’ moments later down the line), but I did feel very proud of Daniel managing his loaded spoons of scrambled egg alongside the multitasking that my friend was having to do.
Back to the eating out, I presume it’s also cheaper, in that we’re now just giving him a bit of whatever food that we’ve ordered for ourselves. We are having to think a bit about what we choose and make sure there’s something suitable for sharing, but that’s not very difficult now that he’s on to the whole range of foods and can manage lots of different shapes and textures.
And he just seems to enjoy anything and everything he’s presented with! I don’t know whether we just have a very indiscriminate little boy, or whether he has a very sophisticated palate and enjoys more unusual things (including these purple potatoes that we tried at Oscars restaurant in Cardiff – a place I would highly recommend!),
but we’ve really had no problems with him rejecting anything (with the one exception of chilli – see previous entries!) and I have a feeling that the BLW approach really helps with this. Apart from obviously being sensible about choking hazards, he’s been thrown in at the deep end with a whole range of textures and consistencies, and I do think that dispensing with a ‘softly softly’ approach to introducing solids just avoids the issue altogether.
So, I’m feeling very positive about BLW at the moment.
Skills-wise, in the last week or so I’ve noticed Daniel deliberately working a lump of something out of his mouth again in order to put something different in. He’s also started scooping up fingerfuls of squidgy things like hummus and guacamole and getting them into his mouth, where previously he wouldn’t attempt to pick up these kinds of things on purpose and didn’t seemed to realise that he could lick his fingers if they got coated in something runny. And during our Easter travels, he also made very swift and efficient work of a whole plum whilst sitting in his car seat. This was pretty messy, and I know you’re not really supposed to give children food while they’re in a reclining position, but he was getting grouchy due to hunger and I was sitting with him in the back so I figured it would be okay as long as I kept close watch over him.
A final discovery during our Easter hols was that plastic forks from service stations are very good for loading and self-feeding! They are probably not all that safe, because it would be very easy for a baby to snap off one of the prongs, with or without any teeth. But in terms of spiking bits of food and it staying on whilst the fork is waved around and makes its meandering way towards the mouth, they’re so much better than the Avent ‘weaning fork’ that we bought for Daniel (the prongs on which are so blunt and shallow as to be totally useless – in fact, we tend to just use it as an additional spoon). So, we scooped up a handful of spares from Hopwood Services to take on our way…