by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
Helping your baby to love good food.
New, Paperback, 256pp
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About the book
Baby-Led Weaning explodes the myth that babies need to be spoon-fed and shows why self-feeding from the start of the weaning process is the healthiest way for your child to develop.
Baby-Led Weaning is a common sense, easy and enjoyable approach to feeding you child, and it:
- Helps to develop you baby's natural abilities, including hand-eye coordination and chewing
- Allows yor baby to join in with family meals right from the start of the weaning process
- Encourages independence by allowing your baby to experiment with foods at his own pace
- Makes mealtimes more enjoyable and battles less likely
Baby-Led Weaning is a practical and authoritative guide to introducing solid food, enabling your child to grow up a happy and confident eater.
About Gill Rapley
I qualified as a health visitor at the tender age of 22. I was lucky enough to have tutors who taught me to question accepted wisdom and what mothers told me about their struggles to introduce their babies to solid foods made me sceptical about the conventional method of weaning from very early in my career.
When my first baby reached four months I went through the motions of pureeing delicious meals, freezing individual cubes in an ice cube tray and lovingly warming them up to feed to him. But my heart wasn't really in it and I was delighted when he made it clear he wasn't really ready. When he hit six months he just started feeding himself with food from our plates.
With my second son, I did much the same thing but in an even more laid-back way, taking my cue from him. It wasn't until I had my third child (a girl), and simply didn't have time for all that messing about, that I discovered what so many mothers had found before me: that babies are quite capable of deciding when to start solids all by themselves - provided they are given the opportunity.
When I went back to health visiting (following a brief stint as a midwife), it really struck me how much easier weaning was when the control was handed over to the baby. Parents who were struggling with getting their baby to accept a range of foods or whose baby had difficulty coping with lumpy food all seemed to find that listening to their child and letting him feed himself provided the answer. And I started to suggest to the new parents I met that they might want to wait until their baby was nearer six months before bothering with solid foods. Since the recommendation at that time was to start between four and six months, this wasn't a huge leap. But it seemed to make all the difference to how easy the process was.
Doing a Master's degree gave me the chance to look at whether babies would move on to solid foods spontaneously, if they were given the chance. The answer was not just that they would but that it became an easy and pleasant experience for the parents too. The theory of baby-led weaning was born, and the change, in 2002/3 to a minimum official recommended age of six months made it a piece of parenting wisdom whose moment had arrived.
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