Back in July 2016, I shared a post about our choice as a family to go for Baby-Led Weaning. Starting at exactly 6 months, we have been on a journey of food exploration with Willow trying pretty much anything you can imagine and so far, really enjoying her food. One of the biggest factors in our Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) journey is a book which was recommended to me by other BLW mothers, which is an introduction to BLW itself accompanied with 130 delicious recipes.
There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to BLW, which I encountered myself when I shared my post on choosing baby-led weaning. It’s not a case of being against other methods of weaning, but instead wanting to wait until the recommended age of 6 months before starting to wean. BLW is more specifically centred around solid food, but as with any adult diet, this does involve lots of different textures. It’s not a case of giving your baby a pack of raw carrots and telling them to tuck in, but cooking food which is nutritious and healthy, prepared and cooked in a way your baby can get stuck in and explore the wonderful world of food. BLW doesn’t mean you can’t give your baby softer textures like puree or mashed foods, rather that you wait until the age where your babies gut is mature enough to deal with solid food.
The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook, one of two books available by Gill Rapley, has been the perfect addition to our weaning journey. Rather than buying the two available books together, I decided to opt for the cookbook as other mamas had told me it included a fairly informative introduction section which explains BLW, why it is recommended, the differences between BLW and other weaning methods as well as what foods to give at what ages, how to prepare those foods safely and in what stages your baby should be doing certain things, among other really informative bits on food allergies which I found incredibly helpful.
Had I not read the cookbook, I wouldn’t have known that for the first 4-6 weeks’ babies are more likely to play with their food than do much eating; smelling, tasting, feeling, exploring food at its messiest. I also wouldn’t have known that at certain ages, providing food in certain shapes can be much easier for your baby; when you start out at 6 months, food which can be held in their hands, coming out of either side of their fist, helps them to hold and taste the food. I also wouldn't have known that with foods that are commonly associated with allergies, it is best to try each one separately and allow a certain period of time to pass, so that you can identify any reactions should your baby have one. There is a wealth of information in the cookbook, that I really don’t feel like I missed out by not getting both books.
Of course the star of the show with the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook is the 130 scrumptious recipes which cover breakfasts, lunch, dinner, snacks and even treats for the whole family. We’ve tried a few recipes from the cookbook now and some of our favourites are the delicious fish pie, the tasty banana cake and banana muffins, and the cheesy tuna and sweetcorn pasta.
The recipes are very easy to follow and the ingredients are fairly simple and easy to find for most of the recipes. The portion sizes generally provide enough for two adults and one baby, but you can always adapt the number of ingredients if your family is bigger. I love flicking through on a Sunday evening and deciding on which recipes to try the following week and it’s lovely seeing Willow try so many new foods.
Of course we do cook meals that aren’t in the cookbook too, as a mama who cooks from fresh I have quite a few decent dishes up my sleeve, but the cookbook has allowed us to stray from our usual’s and try something new every week, which is going to be great for Willow as she grows older and hopefully prevents her being fussy with food (she so far seems to love everything, never turning anything away, even Brussell Sprouts!).