This is a post I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but I wanted to make sure I had A TON of new recipes and helpful links and what not to really help you other mamas, and myself out! :-)
When I had Audrey I had every intention of giving her baby food starting at 6 months. Of course, I was going to make it myself, but I ran across BLW while googling one day when she was a couple months old. After further reading, it made sense to me. Baby food is really made for when people started giving babies pureed food at around 3 and 4 months or earlier years ago. Of course, babies that young can't really handle chewing and digesting real food, but come 6 months, or when they show an interest in food, they can jump right in. Well, kind of...I mean don't give them a huge hunk of steak as a starter food, it's more like they can have banana, toast, or avacado, foods along those lines for starting off. Audrey showed an interest in food around 5 months, she actually grabbed the banana Carlo was eating for breakfast out of his hand and started "numming" on it! Since she had such an interest, I was careful to try and eat while she was napping because we wanted to wait a couple more weeks before giving her anything. Around 5.5 months we started giving her food occasionally, like a few toast fingers or a couple apple slices. Ever since Audrey turned 6 months we have gone full force in BLW. She seems to enjoy breakfast and lunch most, but is in bed early and so she doesn't eat dinner. I may give her a snack, this is a new thing, but that's really it. She eats what I eat for breakfast and lunch. For example, one day this week we had egg, strawberries, and toast for breakfast and lunch was New Mexican Stew. I let her have some of the broth off of my spoon and took the veggies and meat out and let her eat it herself (the stew had butternut squash, carrots, gold potatoes, and ground turkey) She also had a chicken tender, greek potatoes, and eggplant aubergine for lunch another day this week! (ya gotta love leftovers!) Just so you can get an idea how easy and awesome BLW really is I thought I would include information from Gill Rapley, the founder of BLW, along with a list of things Audrey eats or things we are going to try. Maybe it's stuff you already know or recipes that you already try with your little one, but maybe I'll give some of y'all a new idea!
There is no need to cut food into mouth-sized pieces. Indeed, this will make it difficult for a young baby to handle. A good guide to the size and shape needed is the size of the baby's fist, with one important extra factor to bear in mind: Young babies cannot open their fist on purpose to release things. This means that they do best with food that is chip-shaped or has a built-in 'handle' (like the stalk of a piece of broccoli). They can then chew the bit that is sticking out of their fist and drop the rest later – usually while reaching for the next interesting-looking piece. As their skills improve, less food will be dropped.
· DO offer your baby the chance to participate whenever anyone else in the family is eating. You can begin to do this as soon as he shows an interest in watching you, although he is unlikely to be ready to put food in his mouth until he is about six months.
· DO ensure that your baby is supported in an upright position while he is experimenting with food. In the early days you can sit him on your lap, facing the table. Once he is beginning to show skill at picking food up he will almost certainly be mature enough to sit, with minimal support, in a high chair.
· DO start by offering foods that are baby-fist-sized, preferably chip-shaped (i.e., with a 'handle'). As far as possible, and provided they are suitable, offer him the same foods that you are eating, so that he feels part of what is going on.
· DO offer a variety of foods. There is no need to limit your baby's experience with food any more than you do with toys.
· DON'T hurry your baby. Allow him to direct the pace of what he is doing. In particular, don't be tempted to 'help' him by putting things in his mouth for him.
· DON'T expect your baby to eat any food on the first few occasions. Once he has discovered that these new toys taste nice, he will begin to chew and, later, to swallow.
· DON'T expect a young baby to eat all of each piece of food at first – remember that he won't yet have developed the ability to get at food which is inside his fist.
· DO try rejected foods again later – babies often change their minds and later accept foods they originally turned down.
· DON'T leave your baby on his own with food.
· DON'T offer foods which present an obvious danger, such as peanuts.
· DON'T offer 'fast' foods, ready meals or foods that have added salt or sugar.
· DO offer water from a cup but don't worry if your baby shows no interest in it. A breastfed baby, in particular, is likely to continue for some time to get all the drinks he needs from the breast.
· DO be prepared for the mess! A clean plastic sheet on the floor under the high chair will protect your carpet and make clearing up easier. It will also enable you to give back foods that have been dropped, so that less is wasted. (You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your baby learns to eat with very little mess!)
· DO continue to allow your baby to breastfeed whenever he wants, for as long as he wants. Expect his breastfeedingfeeding pattern to change as he starts to eat more solid foods.
· If you have a family history of food intolerance, allergy or digestive problems, DO discuss this method of weaning with your health advisers before embarking on it.
· Finally, DO enjoy watching your baby learn about food – and develop his skills with his hands and mouth in the process!
Food that Audrey eats:
Oatmeal fingers (I wil attach the recipe below
GF Regular/RaisinToast (with butter and cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice)
Eggs ( I like to put garlic powder, thyme, oregano, or chili powder or combine a few and I make the egg like it’s going to be an omelet. Of course, you can also fry it as well)
Pancakes (sometimes, like Saturday mornings, Carlo makes banana pancakes, including several Audrey sized ones)
Fruit (apple sticks, banana, strawberry, cantaloupe, kiwi, orange…you name it!)
Scones (I use the recipe on the back of Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix, it’s a GF mix)
Sunbutter Muffins (of course I don’t use the sunbutter, I will attach the link below)
Sausage (you can make your own or be lazy, like me, and buy Applegate Farms link sausage! You don’t want this to be an everyday thing because of the salt content but it’s nice to enjoy occasionally)
I always find lunch tricky b/c I usually eat leftovers from dinner so that’s what Audrey has
Brown Rice Pasta (with a little tomato sauce, butter & cheese, with veggies like bell pepper and cherry tomatoes)
Veggies (cherry tomatoes, roast potato, green beans, red/green/yellow bell pepper, butternut squash, carrots) they are all usually cooked so they are soft for Audrey to chew
Burgers (yup we grill up a mini burger for Audrey, just make sure it’s cooked ALL the way through)
French Fries (I make them myself due to the high sodium content in pre-packaged ones; you can make sweet potato or regular) Greek potatos are a great alternative or Cajun fries.
Savory Pancakes (I have yet to try these but am anxious to try zucchini, spinach, broccoli, and butternut squash!)
Toast with Spread (you can put hummus, guacamole, or sun-dried tomato cream cheese spread, get creative with it!!)
Meatballs (the recipe we use is a Rachel Ray one and is SO…..easy, I will attach the link below)
Chicken (we just get the grass fed chicken tenders from Fresh Market and season them up)
Carrrot Sticks (so….we have yet to try these but it’s only because I just found the recipe myself!!)
Meatloaf (I think this idea of meatloaf in a cupcake form is perfect for a baby. Audrey can easily handle muffins, so maybe this would mean less mess?? recipe is attached below)
Honestly I think I have exhausted myself thinking of what we eat around here, but I have MORE stuff! I have some links with great ideas and tons of recipes so check them out and give them a try. Also, for you moms who do spoon feed, Weelicious has some really yummy looking purees.)
Carrot Sticks (off of Weelicious)
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzvArKPYYejYZGZjZjRiOGEtZmRhNS00MGQzLTkyNDItYjY2YzNjNTAwMjI5&hl=en&authkey=CNuvl04 (it doesn’t get much better than this link. This is 100 BLW recipes!!)
 Gill Rapley, “Guidelines for implementing a baby-led approach to the introduction
of solid foods” 2008, http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/blw_guidelines.pdf (accessed September 16, 2011).