Tuesday 29 May 2007

BLW -- it's, like, totally the new trendy thing

No, honestly, look at me in there with a hot new trend. Unbelievable. Well, at least on the cusp. Look, anything's better than finding out five years after everyone else has got over it, all right? Are you looking at me?

Ahem. So, yes, for those of you who aren't totally hipped up daddy-o, BLW is baby-led weaning (some of you may want to turn off now, obviously). It's a new thing that's really an old thing, of course, but hey -- and (this is the good part) it is LESS WORK. Hear those cheers. Put out more flags. So instead of all that Karmelling around pureeing food into a gruesome mush, then spooning it into outsize ice-cube trays so as to defrost it in little bowls later, then in a few weeks doing special puree-with-lumps-in to get the infant used to textures, you simply bypass the whole process and give the baby things it can hold in its hands and put into its mouth. Anything it can't chew off with its gums, it can't eat. Simple, huh?

I found an excellent website with loads of info -- and wittily written too, which was nice. We started straight away. Banana would be the perfect food if only it didn't somehow spread itself over a baby from top of head to ankle (including the insides of ears, backs of knees and so on) and then set like concrete. I couldn't believe the first two bibs I pulled out of the washing machine still caked with the stuff. We've now dispensed with dainty little bibs and use old tea-towels fastened with a clothes peg at the back of the neck, and Sash still manages to get banana on any bit of ankle that might peep through.

It does wonders for their hand-eye co-ordination, too. And it is *such* fun to watch. Sash eating a banana is part porn, part slapstick, part gross-out. And it's great fun giving them new things: the first taste always prompts a huge pantomime-strength grimace, then by the third suck they've decided they love it. We've tried pineapple, mangetout, buttered toast, French beans, strawberries, Weetabix, unsalted bread sticks -- anything you can nibble a chunk of, really.

[Footnote - I wrote a huge article about it for Cambridge NCT magazine, if you'd like a copy.]

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