Baby-led weaning can be defined as "letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning... You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t.... No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos... just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family." 
This is something we are doing with Julia since 27 June (2015) when she was roughly six months of age, that is, when she can sit up and grab things and bring them to her mouth (reach for food alone).
We are preparing time lapses recording her eating a couple of times a week to see the evolution through the months. Something like these people but for longer durations.
Without added sugar or salt:
Bizcocho de copos de avena: http://www.mytaste.es/r/bizcocho-con-copos-de-avena-123112613.html
That I want to try:
- 60g Stoned dates, chopped
- 240g Sultanas
- 250ml Water
- 70g grated carrot
- 2 small apples, grated (including the skin but discard the core)
- 260g Self Raising flour (I used 3/4 white self raising to 1/4 wholemeal but you could use all white)
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100ml mild flavoured vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
Put the dates, sultanas and water into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for approx 5 mins. In the meantime grate the carrots and apples, add to the sultana mix and allow to cool until at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180oC, 350F. Line a 7 inch, 18 cm cake tin with non stick baking parchment.
Put the flours, nutmeg and baking powder into a bowl.
Add the oil and eggs to the cooled sultana mix. Add the flour to the wet mix and mix it all together.
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 mins or until a knife comes out mostly clean. Just be wary with this much fruit and vegetables in a cake, even when cooked the knife won't be spotless.
Tried it on 02/11/2015 and they tasted great, even without any cinnamon or spice. They are quite soft and rich.
- 1 apple, (don't peel it), coarsely grated back to the core, should be about 100g
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 150g SR flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- Preheat the oven to 200 - 220 degrees centigrade.
- Oil a cupcake or mini muffin tin.
- Mix the egg, apple, milk and oil.
- Put the flour and spices in a bowl then add the wet mixture mixing (don't overmix).
- Put a generous dsp into the trays and bake for 15-17 minutes or until cooked (check to see if they spring back when pressed on the top.)
- 27/06/2015: Half banana, with a bit of skin for a better grip. She made lots of disgust faces but chewed on it for 15 min or so. We removed the skin to avoid the bitter taste but then it was too slippery. She bit a few chunks and immediately expelled them from the mouth. Overall a funny experience although she was not thrilled...
- 28/06/2015: Boiled carrot, she bit some pieces and pull them out although we think this time she swallowed something... She enjoyed a bit more although there was plenty of gagging and weird faces still.
- 30/06/2015: Boiled broccoli, she had a hard time with gagging this time and threw up a lot of milk (since she had just eaten). She liked it and repeatedly took it in her hands and bit pieces. Something went in! She also had some carrot again. This time la abuela Inma was present.
- 01/07/2015: Melon (a piece with the skin), at the UAM, she liked it and did not gag as much. She basically sucked it and licked it.
- 02/07/2015: She tried some water from the glass.
- 03/07/2015: York ham, a sliced rolled up. It was at a hotel in Chulilla. She bit some pieces and expelled them right away. She seemed to enjoy sucking it as well. The piece ended up completely destroyed.
- 05/07/2015: Frozen banana which she did not like a lot so it was a brief weaning experience :)
- 06/07/2015: Pear and apple, two finger pieces. She liked it a lot and managed to carve some!
- 07/07/2015: Watermelon, she liked it a lot and chewed on the whole piece. She did not swallow big pieces but did most of the juice.
- 08/07/2015: Piece of bread, she enjoyed it greatly at the UAM canteen, scratching it with the little teeth first, then softening it with sucking. She could even break it into pieces and seemed to swallow something.
- 09/07/2015: carrot again but it was not very successful. It was less cooked and she could not get as much from it.
- 10/07/2015: piece of melon & Saracen flour bread, she loves both! She managed to completely destroyed the bread and make it puree. Actually ate a lot of it!
- 11/07/2015: melon, she enjoyed for a while but did not last long.
- 12/07/2015: (travelling to Moscow)
- 13/07/2015: Saracen flour bread for breakfast with everybody. Did not take the most out of it but played for a while.
- 14/07/2015: nectarine and fried dark bread. She loved both although she vomited with the second due to gagging. She could carve the nectarine with the two teeth and got some substance. She liked the bread a lot and put it everywhere. It was a bit hard and that seemed to work for her.
- 15/07/2015: dark Russian bread, some went in in a pureed state.
- 16/07/2015: boiled turkey in vegetable sauce, she liked it a lot, sucked it and destroyed it completely. She almost not gag with this one even though plenty of little pieces went in!
- 19/07/2015: Sparkling water, she put very funny faces and eructed a monumental burp.
- 20/07/2015: (These days we went to St Petersburg and stopped the weaning for a while)
- 25/07/2015: Saracen bread, since we were still in Moscow.
- 26/07/2015: Watermelon and white bread, also a bit of her Saracen bread. She ate some pieces, had a nice time.
- 27/07/2015: a bit of melon at the UAM.
- 28/07/2015: white bread, paraguaya and peach, she sucked on the fruit.
- 29/07/2015: pieces of lacón for lunch at the UAM, she chewed them quite a lot although they were not very big and slippery (seemed to like the flavour), not much gagging. For dinner, she took the whole menu for the first time, the same we were having: three grilled asparagus, spinach pasta, melon for dessert. She enjoyed everything and spent a long time with each item, putting it into the mouth with the whole hands, holding to every piece until it fell on the floor. The asparagus was a good choice despite being very soft and long. She was bending it to fit her little mouth. The pasta was fun because it was quickly broken into little pieces that we wanted to taste. She likes melon a lot, maybe because it is already familiar.
- 30/07/2015: a round piece of squid and some watermelon, at the UAM. The squid was fried and we removed the oily cover. She liked it a lot and after licking and carving, eventually broke it into pieces.
- 31/07/2015: many things: a bit of vegetables puree, grilled turkey, apple & pear. She liked the pureed a lot, which she sucked from a spoon that she held herself. The turkey was also a success although she got a bit nervous trying to tear it into pieces. Fruit is always a win. She loves it!
- 01/08/2015: roasted eggplant and leek with some nectarine and paraguaya for dessert. The eggplant had some skin that she could grasp and leak, she actually swallowed some pieces that appeared in her poo. She liked it a lot and did not stopped until it was all destroyed and maybe some inside her. The leak was less successful, it was a stick but quite slippery. Could not hold it well. Fruit is always good but she was a bit tired already and only carved and ate a bit of flesh.
- 02/08/2015: raw cucumber in finger shape. She liked it a lot, sucked on it for a long time, seemed to swallow some tender parts, bit off some pieces that she expelled immediately and greatly enjoyed it overall. For dinner, a finger-shaped piece of emmental cheese. She bit a few pieces and chewed on small ones, probably swallowed them.
- 03/08/2015: Mushroom soup with crème fraîche and a couple of squid rings. She made a complete mess with the soup but swallowed quite a lot from the spoon once filled. She also played with her fingers. Got it all over the face and body. The squid was not a big success, only broke it into pieces with her teeth. A big piece went through to my surprise, after a bit of gagging.
- 04/08/2015: a piece of apple and some Saracen bread. Broccoli for dinner. She enjoyed the apple most of all, leaving it in a funny destroyed state.
- 05/08/2015: A bit of sepia (squid) at the UAM then, some chicken (the whole leg) and mango. She was interested in the chicken only to break it into pieces and to see which side she could suck on. It was funny how she understood where the eatable part is and carved it a bit. She absolutely loved the mango, removing all the meat with her little 4 teeth. She actually ate quite a lot. We presented it with skin so that she could grasp it better. She knew which side was good to eat.
- 11/08/2015: Some cheese, white bread and peach during an excursion in the Pirineos (valle del Hecho). She liked the cheese a lot, biting pieces and melting it in the mouth.
- 12/08/2015: Nectarine and bread.
- 14/08/2015: Orange!
- 15/08/2015: A thin slice of salchichón and cheese. She bit half of the slice and finally swallowed it!
- 16/08/2015: Some bread (travelling to Bilbao).
- 17/08/2015: Upper teeth (4) started to appear!
- 18/08/2015: Beef steak and bread at a restaurant in playa Verdicio, Asturias. She enjoyed the meat a lot, sucking it and trying to break it with the newly grown teeth.
- 19/08/2015: Pincho moruno and sausage (pork), goat cheese and grapes (cut in two and without seeds). She sucked both the pincho and the sausage a lot. She loved the grapes, sucked the whole meat and juice, leaving the skin almost dry!
- 22/08/2015: Bread, watermelon and apple.
- 23/08/2015: Cutlet, ham, watermelon and a whole paragüaya. She liked the meat a lot, sucking all the juice. She loves paragüaya, ate the whole piece since it was quite ripe.
- 24/08/2015: Ham roll, cheese and paragüaya.
- 25/08/2015: Sepia piece from the paella and bread. She liked it a lot, probably because it had all the paella flavour.
- 26/08/2015: Paella (with peas, beans, other vegetables and meat), cured cheese and paragüaya. She played a lot with the rice, spread it on the table, smashed it on her face and overall had a great time. Quite a lot went in. She made a paste with the cheese which she loved even though it was quite strong. She also spent some time over breakfast with a piece of apple.
- 27/08/2015: Chicken breast and courgette for breakfast! Chicken was a success, sucking all the juice. Plain omelette (with free range Asturian eggs) for dinner!
- 28/08/2015: Fro breakfast, some remainings of the omelette and avocado. The omelette was too soft and she only played with it. Avocado is a promising one although she did not spend much time on it. For lunch, we had a picnic at the Ruta del Alba so a full paragüaya and some bread. At dinner, she had a raw tomato slice which she loved and left only the skin.
- 29/08/2015: A piece of bread soaked in the yellow of the egg. She only licked it shyly but seemed to like the flavour.
- 30/08/2015: tomato slices.
- 31/08/2015: Spaghetti with olive oil and some orange for lunch. Boiled shrimps and fig for dinner. She played, bit and swallowed plenty of little spaghetti pieces. She sucked the shrimps quite hard although did not bite much meat. Fruit is an all time favourite.
- 01/09/2015: Some grapes for breakfast. Ham and filled pasta (with Ricotta and pesto) and 3 grapes for lunch. Bread and mandarine in the afternoon. She likes the filled pasta a lot, breaking it and eating separately the pasta and the filling, destroying the piece completely. Mandarine was great since she could suck all the juice and leave the skin. Ham, goat cheese and melon for dinner. She was a bit tired so more playing and throwing than eating. Actually, since she learnt that she can throw things to the floor and we pick them up, she is having a lot of fun...
- 02/09/2015: Mandarine and flower bread for breakfast. Ham, avocado and melon for lunch. Chicken for dinner.
- 03/09/2015: A bit of tomato, melon and bread since we spent the day out.
- 04/09/2015: Grapes and paraguaya for breakfast. Banana (still not crazy about it) at lunch time at the UAM.
- 05/09/2015: salad, pasta, avocado for lunch. She drank water by herself from her new plastic glass making a bit of a mess but very proudly!
- 06/09/2015: Queso manchego, grapes, paraguaya, mandarine for breakfast. Grapes and paraguaya are absolute favourites so she always chooses them. Pasta with aubergine, leek puree and cheese for lunch. Ham, paraguaya and kiwi for dinner. She liked kiwi so much that she fully ate the whole piece and half of a second.
- 07/09/2015: Mandarine and grapes (plus a bit of bread) for breakfast. This time she ate the whole mandarine piece. As soon as she detected the grapes went nuts and only wanted that. Tomato (cherry and normal), carrot, for lunch . In the afternoon she ate a lot of mandarine (3 pieces) sucking all the juice and leaving the skin as usual. For dinner, roasted aubergine, kiwi, carrot. She ate a lot of kiwi, whole pieces.
- 08/09/2015: Some mandarine for breakfast. A bit of tomato and bread for lunch at the UAM. Dinner was very successful, some carrot, broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil and herbs. Some egg with bread. Then, the welcome kiwi!!
- 09/09/2015: There were lots of grapes for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, steak, courgette and melon. She loved the steak, biting it and destroying it with her little teeth. Melon of course as well.
- 10/09/2015: Some grapes for breakfast. For lunch, a big piece of parmesan cheese that she enjoyed a lot. Ate half of it. Then, some spinach pasta cooked with vegetables (carrot, cauliflower and broccoli), egg, a bit of creme fraiche and Parmesan. She played a lot, took some pieces in. In the afternoon, she had some fig and peach which she ate happily. For dinner, some grounded meat (that she loved), tomato and fig. She likes meat a lot and eats it with desperation. She must know that iron is good for her!
- 11/09/2015: Grapes for breakfast. Some parmesan cheese, tomato and carrot, with fig as dessert, for lunch. Some fig and grapes for the afternoon.
- 12 to 23 /09/2015: We were on a trip in Sicily. The things she ate at restaurants, hotel, etc, are: tomato, ham, cheese (mozzarella and many other Italian types), grapes (she ate a lot of them, putting them whole in the mouth, extracting the juice, then the pulp, then swallowing the full fruit), pineapple (this was a great discovery because she loved it and ate full big chunks), melon, watermelon, anchovies (she liked it a lot marinated), squids (an all time favourite), meat (not much, only a few pieces here and there), kiwi (she could eat a lot of this, expelling nothing), octopus, bread, pizza bread, eggplant, cucumber, pear, nectarine, shrimp (she likes it a lot and it is easy to grab), pasta (without sauce), ice-cream cone biscuit (this was a gift from a waiter, she devoured it completely...).
- 24/09/2015: For dinner, Lamb chops, shrimp...
- 25/09/2015: Grapes, apple and other fruits.
- 26/09/2015: Half kiwi at lunch time. Some lamb leg meat, baked potato, fig, paraguaya, cheese for dinner. She loves meat since she can tear it apart with all the power of her 8 teeth.
- 27/09/2015: cheese, pear and plum for breakfast. She also tried some greek sugarless yogurt, using the pear to dip in it. She tasted it but was a bit tired already to want it badly. We will insist later. She had navajas for lunch, with some tomato. It was funny because it is so elastic that she could not bite a bit from it, only stretch it. For dinner, some filled pasta with broccoli and creme fraiche. Then, a piece of coconut that she offered to her dad and shared with him (see pictures below).
- 28/09/2015: Cheese, pineapple.
- 29/09/2015: Filled pasta, smoked salmon, fig, paraguaya.
- 30/09/2015: Grapes for breakfast since we were in a hurry... Some cheese and bread for lunch. Fro dinner, chicken breast steak, tomato and grapes.
- 01/10/2015: Tomato and chicken for breakfast. Some ham, cheese, bread, grapes, and melon for lunch. For dinner, some pasta and cauliflower for dinner although only ate pasta and some pita bread.
- 02/10/2015: pasta with cauliflower for dinner with some grapes.
- 03/10/2015: pear, kiwi for breakfast. Some roast beef with rice, vegetables and melon for lunch. Some more for dinner with courgette.
from the web and book:
- Forget ‘baby food’. Food’s food, as long as you’re not adding salt. To start off with, think chip-sized because it’s an easy shape for little 6-month-olds to grip, but you’ll soon move on to smaller pieces as it’s more interesting for a child developing a pincer grip.
- As a first food most people steam carrots (to about the degree that they can be smushed ‘twixt your thumb and finger), cut up cucumbers, make toast fingers or crinkle cut bits of mango, that sort of thing, but remember if there’s no reason whatsoever why your baby can’t have a pile of Spaghetti Bolognese or mashed potato to dig into if that’s what the rest of the family is having.
- No bowls, they’re just asking to be flung heavenwards. Put the food on the highchair tray or table and remember, it’s all a learning experience for the baby at this point. They really don’t care whether the experience is ‘oooooh, mango is in my mouth’ or ‘ooooooh, a bowl is flying across the room’.
- An easy-to-clean highchair is a must. If you are weaning in summer don’t be afraid to eat outside or semi-naked and for winter Ikea and Tommee Tippee make great cover-all and pelican bibs. Putting a wipe-clean tablecloth under the highchair is a good idea if you have carpets and some people find that a crinkle cutter is handy to make food extra-grippable.
- Give them what you’re having. If they hate it, fine, they’re getting their calories from milk anyway.
- Don’t put too much on the highchair tray at the one time, just a couple of pieces of food will stop them feeling overwhelmed.
- Timing ‘meals’ to between milk feeds seems to be best, and because it’s just finger food you aren’t limited to staying in. There’s no reason why you can’t pack a wee Tupperware with some carrot or cucumber, buy a banana when you’re out or just pull some bits out of an undressed salad.
- Never put food into a child’s mouth, let them put it in by themselves so that they can control it as it moves backwards. If the baby gags, remember that it’s their way of moving food around in the mouth and don’t panic. Some parents have found that making exaggerated chewing faces and noises reminds the child to get back on track.
Other interesting links:
- article Baby knows best? The impact of weaning style on food preferences and body mass index in early childhood.
Este pediatra es muy entretenido de escuhar sobre el tema: La alimentacion libre de papillas (TED), Alimentacion infantil. Aquí van algunos de sus consejos recogidos en su libro sobre el tema "Mi niño no me come":
Las recomendaciones principales de la OMS y UNICEF:
- Dar EXCLUSIVAMENTE leche materna hasta los 6 meses, a partir de entonces ofrecer otros alimentos complementarios
- Seguir dando el pecho, junto con otros alimentos, hasta los 2 años o más.
- Dar alimentos variados.
- Hasta los 12 meses, dar el pecho ANTES de los otros alimentos.
- Los menores de 3 años deberían comer 5-6 veces al día (al menos).
- Dar preferencia a alimentos ricos en calorías, en hierro y vitamina A. Si es preciso, añadir un poco de aceite de oliva a las verduras, para que tengan más calorías.
Más consejos de Carlos González:
- No obligar NUNCA a comer a un niño
- Al principio no dar muchos alimentos nuevos juntos y empezar con pequeñas cantidades.
- Dar el gluten (trigo, avena, centeno o cebada) con precaución.
- Escurrir los alimentos, no llenarle la barriga con el agua de cocción.
- No corre prisa introducir los alimentos que suelen dar alergia (leche de vaca y derivados, huevos, pescado, soja, cacahuetes), sobre todo si hay antecedentes en la familia.
- No añadir azúcar o sal a lo alimentos.
- No importa por qué alimentos empezar aunque es deseable que sean ricos en hierro: pollo o carne.
- No tomar la fruta separada de otros alimentos sino, como nosotros, de postre. Así la vitamina C de la fruta ayuda a que se absorba el hierro de las verduras, legumbres y cereales.
- No hace falta triturar los alimentos.
- La fruta es muy sana pero los zumos no.... El problema es que en un vaso de zumo caben 2 o 3 naranjas... A los niños pequeños se les llena el estómago de zumo y luego no comen otras cosas... A cualquier edad el exceso de azúcar natural de la fruta puede producir diarrea crónica. La Academia Americana de Pediatría recomienda no dar nunca zumos antes de los 6 meses. Entre el año y los 6 años, el consumo máximo diario es de medio a un vaso no muy lleno y entre los 7 y 18 años, el doble.
- El llamado corte de digestión no existe. No pasa absolutamente nada por mojarse después de comer. Puede usted bañar a su hijo inmediatamente después de comer.
Una conducta alimentaria sana se guía por claves internas (hambre y saciedad), y no por claves externas (presiones, promesas, castigos, publicidad...). los expertos creen que muchos problemas de la adolescencia y la vida adulta, como el hacer dieta de forma obsesiva o el comer compulsivamente, provienen de haber aprendido en la primera infancia, a comer según claves externas. Hágale a su hijo un regalo para toda la vida: permita que aprenda a comer según sus propias necesidades y no según una tabla de calorías.
Otros links interesantes: