The Baby Led Weaning Police

***First off i just want to clarify that this is not a post to bash all people who BLW – just some of them ;)***

Lets cut to the chase, being the lazy mama that i am, i was dreading weaning the second time around. When baby S hit 6 months we were eager to make things as easy as possible so i looked into BLW as a means to save all the time spent chopping, blending and shoveling.

As it turned out i was far too highly strung to do pure BLW. I found myself hovering around his highchair depositing bits of food into his mouth and feeling a bit wound up by all the mess and waste.

However, back to the point in question, when i was doing research into BLW and what foods were best to give babies at what stages i found it really hard to find a decent blog article or book that didn’t start off with a massive spoon feeding bashing session.

Here are a few exerts i have found (not naming any names):-

  • Spoon feeding is a passive experience, incredibly boring for the baby. No it’s not, my baby does not sit there like a robot whilst i shovel food in his mouth. He is happy and excited when i sit him in his highchair, ready for his meal.
  • With spoon feeding you dictate the portion size and how much the baby has. How is it for you to say how hungry they are? No you don’t, my baby will turn his head away when he is finished eating. If he still seems hungry when he has finished then i will simply give him more food, just as you would if you were BLW.
  • Would you really like to be fed liquidised meals? No but i don’t fancy downing 7oz bottles of milk every few hours either. Things change.
  • BLW means you can eat the same foods together at the same time. But i also eat food off spoons so, um, what?
  • It’s easy to tell which children were BLW’d from the ones who were puree fed – they tend to be much less fussy. I can’t really comments on this as i don’t really go around noting other peoples children’s eating habits, inquiring as to how they were weaned and then passing ridiculous sweeping statements.

I don’t understand. If you are completely happy and satisfied with your choice to BLW why do you feel it necessary to constantly justify your reasons for doing so by bashing other methods?

I have also had the enjoyable experience of interacting with real life BLW’s – or shall we call them the BLW police, soon as i often feel like i have been charged with an offense upon the close of our conversation. It goes a little something like this……

Me: For flexibility we do one meal finger food and one meal via a spoon – so half BLW and half traditional.

BLW police: BLW is for purists only. if you do any spoon feeding at all you may not use the term BLW!

Me : Ok sorry. But what if my baby wants to eat some weetabix or cottage pie?

BLW Police: It such situations you are permitted to use a spoon. You must load the spoon with food and then pass it to the baby to administer into it’s chosen orifice.

Me: But my baby kinda likes it in his mouth.

BLW Police: Them’s the rules!

Me: Who makes all the rules? The babies?

BLW Police: Um.Spoon feeding is evil, be gone with you!

To be completely honest, as with most things in life, i couldn’t actually give a flying foo foo how other people choose to feed their children. Why do we have to have labels at all?

I just feed my baby ‘food’, nuff said.

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P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


75 thoughts on “The Baby Led Weaning Police

  1. Julia smith

    I did both depending upon food they were eating. Both my children eat a wide variety of foods and are currently eating me out of house and home. So I guess as with most aspects of parenting doing what works for you and your child is the best way to go. Rather than rigidly adhering to a rule made by someone who hasn’t met you or your child

    1. Thao

      This made a laugh, although I get your frustration. We did half and half. The way I see it, parenting is a looong journey & expending one’s energy (admittedly on the important early years but even so…) going on about how great your parenting skills & choices are (& how deluded/crap everyone else is) can’t be sustained, can it?! Save some of the smugness for when the kids have minds of their own. Wonder if these smugsters will be harping on about what great parents they are to the hormonal craziness that is a 16 yr old!

      1. hurrahforgin

        Ha no I bet they won’t – I remember the horror I was, not looking forward to that bit although I think girls are worse!

        Thanks for you FB message btw – I have read but not had time to reply, out all day today so hopefully will tomo xx

  2. Shannon

    Great post! It’s like you read my mind with some of your comments. I just started feeding my twins solid foods a couple months ago and read about BLW, which was as popular when I was weaning my son. At the end of the day, you just have to do what works for you (and your children).

  3. jojoka1963

    Bravo, well said.
    BLW was probably around a million years ago when my other two were babies (but wasn’t labelled as anything, or anything to get on your high horse about!). I am a spoon fiend and anything that warrants eating with your fingers is ok by me too.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Thanks Josanne – i hate all that preachy crap. To be fair it just totally put me off BLW full stop, silly really but I just don’t want to be associated with if if its some sort of exclusive club x

  4. ourlifebusymakingmemories

    Hahaha! Oh I do love your ranty posts! Never fail to put a smile on my face! We are BLW-ers… Mainly because I am far too lazy to feed my children and would rather be taking funny pictures of them covered in spag bol or gossiping and eating cake!

  5. mylittledreamworld1

    I loved this post. My baby is 6 months, I use a spoon, but if she looks interested give her a runner bean, or toast soldier. I don’t see this as a big deal. All babies learn to eat in the end, and my older girl isn’t fussy. As long as babies eat, I think they’re fine :) xxx

  6. the mmmmm family

    Love this! My youngest won’t pick up most food (unless it’s bread!) so I couldn’t even get her to BLW even if I wanted to! I agree totally with this post, it’s very funny too made me laugh.

  7. Jess @ Along Came Cherry

    I LOVE this post! I was going to do BLW this time round as J was refusing to eat off a spoon to start with but there were certain things I couldn’t deal with like the mess and like you said the waste! I cannot afford for him to chuck an entire avocado / mango / any type of fruit on the floor after holding it for one second just in the hope it will ‘teach him about food’. Luckily he has picked up eating off spoons now, fed to him BY ME! Maybe long term BLW leads to better eaters but all of the toddlers I know are fussy regardless or whether they were spoon or baby led weaned so who knows. And you are so right, it is not like you can overfeed them, it’s quite obvious when they don’t want anymore! It’s great that there is more options for people now but it’s such a shame that like with everything it comes down to people judging about what way is best x

  8. mummybarrow

    If I ever make it to being Prime Minister I will ban all advice given to parents unless from somebody the parent trusts, has known since birth and has specifically approached and said “Don’t suppose you have any ideas about this do you?”.

    Anybody who says “You must do this” / “what you are doing is wrong” will be taken to a field, covered in jam, tied to a tree and left to the bumble bees.

  9. Crystal Jigsaw

    Bloody well said! I am so sick of seeing posts and rubbish articles about how to look after our own children. IT’S NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS. END OF!!!

    A message to the BLW Police, the Breast Feeding Police, all those people who think they have a divine right to dictate how a mother feeds and nurtures her baby – GO AWAY, YOU ANNOYING, INFURIATING LITTLE TWATS.

    These posts about “how to do it right” smack of insecurities. They’re just trying to justify their own methods and if you notice, the minute someone comes along and bashes their methods, they get all defensive. They’re what are known as the “Everyone MUST agree with me because I’m always right” brigade. In other words, they’re arrogant and pathetic and need to find something else to do with their lives instead of sticking their noses in everyone else’s business.

    CJ x

  10. mummydaddyme

    I really love this post. I have mainly spoon fed both my girls, with finger foods and the occasional meal they can nibble on themselves. LL has sandwiches and picky bits for lunch and I give her porridge and a spoon fed meal for dinner. It’s the same as people who go around bashing breastfeeding mothers, or bottle feeding mothers- unfortunately some people aren’t happy unless they are making other people feel bad for their choices. We Mum’s should stick together but a minority don’t. x

  11. motherofmadcatsandbabies

    Lol, sounds like just about every parenting thing. You are either doing it the “right” way, according to that sanctimummy crowd, or you aren’t doing it properly. What ever happened to “doing things that work for your child and family because you know them best” ?
    I loved BLW, my kids had reflux and point blankly refused to be fed food by me, (quite common, apparently) so it worked for us but I’ve purée fed many babies in my time as a nanny and nurse, and that works too. At least we’re feeding our babies, and trying to ensure they get adequate nutrition, the “parenting police” need to bog off!
    Popped over from Ranty Friday!

  12. Pingback: Good Reads: The BLW Police | Tots 100

  13. Debra

    Haha, this is just like the breast/bottle argument!! I did BLW with my son and it worked really well for us but I had made the choice when I was pregnant so I was completely set on the idea. Different things suit different families, we should really start respecting personal choice shouldn’t we.

    I loved doing the BLW and if he had something which needed a spoon he was given a spoon to use or not ;-). I think it just depends what you want your baby to get out of the food, for us food was about practise and play and exploring and milk was his meals until eventually his milk feeds went down and his food intake went up. I do think there should be more information on BLW but you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing it, if your not comfortable with it, it will just stress you out which defeats the whole point of it.

    1. Debra

      PS I’m currently waiting on the potty training police to come and tell me that my nearly 3 year old should have been out of pull-ups about a year ago! Does it ever stop?????????

  14. freefallinginto40

    Sorry, has this really happened. How annoying!! I come from the “do anything that works for you as long as no one suffers” brigade and I’ve done lots of things that others may find odd perhaps (I’m a big advocate of reusable nappies). However anybody that says their way is the only way is an idiot. I would have happily done BLW if it had worked for my children, but they had no interest whatsoever, so I didn’t do it. Having seen a few friends go down this route, add an extra 30 min to clean up time and then spend the rest of the day fretting their children haven’t eaten enough, I’m kind of glad it worked out that way. Each to their own.

  15. and1makes4

    I’m not at tge stage of weaning yet but I just assumed a mix of both was a pretty sensible option? I thought that meant baby would get used to all tastes and textures but maybe I’m really missing the point of BLW! I’m dubious about ygr fussy argument, isn’t it going to come down to the taste and textures they are ecoosed to?

    Oh I dont know, it just seems to be yet another area where mums can’t do right!

  16. Becca Masters

    The dialogue at the end made me LOL. Yes, actually LOL.
    Reminds me of conversations on my birth board, which I had to leave because of nonsensical stuff like that.
    “OMG, you gave your child a rusk!?! You’ll ruin her!” Puh-lease.
    We (my daughter mainly) are on to solids now. I cannot abide the mess, but I put up with it (and it’s squishy dribble clean up) because I love to watch her eat. But she is occassionally too lazy to sit and feed herself, so I end up picking up the pieces of food and feeding her.
    Now we use Ella’s Kitchen, and she loves it, with her SPOON!
    Popped over from MummyBarrows site :)

  17. David

    I like this post. BLW is a bit like breast feeding. Many who do it feel they are doing the one an only right thing and this can criticise those who make different choices. We formula fed and spoon fed. We are terrible parents :-)

    From my experience though, BLW babies are far fussier eaters than spoon fed ones. My toddler will eat anything except butter nut squash. That’s it. Everything else will be devoured and enjoyed. I am very proud of the way my daughter eats. But I would never criticise anyone else for how theirs eats.

  18. Bex @ The Mummy Adventure

    I really think parenting can bring out the worst in people and some mums seem to forget that we are all able to make informed decisions about our own children. I do a mix of spoons and blw depending on what mood am I / how much I want a dirty take away that the baby can’t have! x

  19. Cathy

    God, I love this post. I actually think the problem is that when you read books on, say, BLW, there’s a lot of bashing of the alternative as the book is ultimately trying to sell a concept, so the editor in question will have gone back to the author and said ‘can we just talk a bit more here about why BLW is better than the alternative….?’

    So ‘that’ BLW book that everybody reads is pretty much 50% devoted to slagging off spoon feeding to hammer home the case. Ditto books on elimination communication devote at least half the word-count to making nappies and conventional potty-training sound akin to waterboarding. And books that advocate ‘gentle’ or ‘attachment’ parenting (as opposed to what, rough parenting? Detached parenting) devote at least 50% of the word count to warning you how your child will grow up unbearably psychologically damaged if he or she so much as sheds a tear or is ever put down for the first year of its life.

    But that’s a publishing and therefore ultimately a marketing technique. The problem comes when people swallow it hook, line, sinker and copy of Angling Times. Claims that method X might lead to outcome Y become gospel and this leads to outrageous bullshit claims such as ‘my child is independent because I breastfed on demand!’ No, love. Your child is independent because they are predisposed to be independent. My child was breastfed on demand and shrieked bloody murder if I left the room until she was 16 months, my niece was formula fed from six weeks to a schedule and she’s the most independent and gregarious child you could meet. Breastfeeding has undisputed health benefits, we can all concur, but you can’t attribute an entire personality characteristic to the method by which you have dispensed nutrition. Or more accurately you can, but you’re spreading misinformation.

    I could go on for hours, I really could. I actually did BLW and loved it, I was fortunate in that my little one wasn’t a choker. My toddler is a good eater, she’s not brilliant, she’s not perfect – that’s because she’s A TODDLER. And I’ll do BLW with my baby too unless she’s a choker, in which case I’ll spoon-feed, because I don’t care what ‘the book says’ if she’s gagging on a chunk of avocado, BLW isn’t for her.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Hi cathy – great comments thanks. I hadn’t really thought about if like that but you are very right of course that its mainly people just swallowing and spouting off what they have read.

      I totally agree what works and doesn’t is totally down to the individual child – often it’s just luck if you stumble across the right thing! X

  20. Kara

    As someone who is about to wean my 6th child, I will do what works for us. If he wants mushed puree I will give him that, but if he prefers chomping on a carrot stick I will try that to.
    The best way is trial and error and doing what is best for you all!

  21. greatbritishfamily

    I started weaning my baby last weekend. On Monday I blogged something similar to this. I’m doing a combination too, So far I have mainly stuck to spoon feeding which is going well. Best of both worlds I think. I know she is getting some food and she gets some practice with finger food. So far she seems to prefer the spoon, I’ve tried handing her the spoon but she is not interested but when the spoon is in my hand she opens her mouth and moves towards the spoon! She is clearly hungry and I do not believe she would be able to feed herself sufficiently on just finger foods.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Yes same here! I think on some respects you need to be more if a chilled out parent to do BLW, I worry about the quantities and mess too much! Will pop over and check out your blog cx

  22. 3yearsandhome

    This really pees me off too. I’m hugely in favour of purees because I’m extremely lazy and am not inclined to spend hours picking up food off the floor and washing my children. It’s spoons all the way in this house. However, the toddler eats everything that we eat and has done since he was one and the baby, at 9 months, is also joining in with a lot of the meals I prepare for the family (mashed with a fork, though). This means they’re exposed to food from every nationality and are not afraid of flavours or species. We eat out quite a lot too and they eat small portions from the adult menu. Result! I’m not against BLW but it’s not for me … and it’s not the only way of getting your kids to eat well. Great post.

  23. cariemay

    I think perhaps they’re a subset of the police that award me brownie points for breast feeding and take them away again because I put my children in nursery while I go to work, let me have extra credit for having given them home cooked food, and minus marks for letting the baby have a spoon or two of apple crumble. And don’t get me started on the irreparable damage I must have done to my eldest daughter by having not only an induction but also an epidural thus depriving her of a perfect birth experience.

    Well I gave up long ago – before Kitty was born when H made me put my pregnancy book in the bottom of the laundry basket for the duration because it stressed me out!

    And for the record I do do BLW – because it works for us.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Ha ha Carie! You can’t win em all can you. I have nothing against BLW at all in principle, it’s a shame so many people have to be so judgmental about it as it just really put me off!

  24. lemonadebudget1

    This made me laugh. My baby hasn’t even been born yet, but we’ve already had someone extolling the virtues of baby led weaning to us. Apparently if we spoon feed our baby will ‘cry all the time and behave like a little s*** in public’ *rolls eyes*.

  25. Actually Mummy

    All I can add here from my own experience is that neither of my children were BLW. One of them went through a fussy stage, but is a good eater now, although she throws up if she looks at a tomato. The other one’s favourite food is chilli squid.

  26. Louise

    Couldn’t agree more!! I had to start solids for L recently at 16 weeks, he’s a very hungry baby but of course he’s still too young to feed himself so he’s fed from a spoon, he loves it, gobbles up all of his baby porridge, carrots, sweet potato etc I have no doubt that he will want to attempt this by himself as soon as he can but it’s whatever works best for us at the time, no wrong or right way! The older he gets the more I’m realising there are so many debates out there relating to bringing up children the “right” or “wrong” way!!

  27. Liz at Human Nature

    I’m a little late to the discussion here… But my (only) child is 10, and BLW didn’t actually exist as a ‘thing’ when he started weaning. It was just called ‘eating’. When he was hungry, I gave him ‘food’. Sometimes it was puréed and on a spoon, and sometimes it was finger food. Mostly he ate it, and sometimes there were things he didn’t want or like. When he stopped feeling hungry, he stopped eating. As soon as he could manage with lumpy wet food or whatever we were eating, that was what he got, because that was easier for me. He seemed to turn out ok. At 10 he is not that fussy, at least no fussier than I was at 10, and I eat almost anything now. To be honest I just get annoyed at any sort of babycare police. The advice changes as often as the wind, as far as I can tell.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Its the labels that are the problem isn’t it! Why do people feel the need to put themselves into particular camps – flexibility is always the easiest option. Thanks for your comment Liz x

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  29. Lucy

    I am a committed BLW parent. I completely understand what you say about parents judging one another. I feel judged sometimes for my choice to BLW, it’s as if people are thinking “You’re voluntarily putting your child at risk of choking AND making a horrendous mess in the process.” My problem with this is that these people clearly haven’t researched BLW and therefore aren’t really qualified to judge. When making choices for your children I think it’s important to fully research all the options open to you. Many dismiss BLW without a true understanding of it. Fine if it doesn’t work for you, but don’t dismiss out if ignorance.

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  31. Grace @ Eats Amazing

    We are a month into BLW (because I’m lazy too, and thought it would be easier than purees!), and I’m not completely convinced Small Baby is getting any food down him yet! My first was fed on purees, he’s a fab eater these days (aged 5). I’m thinking about breaking out the purees *gasp* in an attempt to get Small Baby full enough to stay sleep for more than 2 hours at a time, so I guess I’m going off the pure BLW track. I was rather taken aback when a friend asked me what I was doing feeding-wise, and when I said I was trying BLW, she said ‘Oh good, I’m so glad!!’. Quite how me feeding Small Baby food in a certain way has any impact on her happiness I’m not sure! As with every other area of parenting, we should concentrate on our own and mind our own business when it comes to other people’s children! Great post!

  32. Laura

    Oh I can’t say how much I agree with this! We tried pure BLW with Little T and it didn’t work at all so we ended up doing a combination of the both and didn’t put a label on it, we just called it “dinner time!” As long as they’re eating, why does it matter what method you’re using?!

  33. Pingback: Baby-led weaning | Emotionally Aware Feeding

  34. Shambles

    We have done blw with both of our babies and have also been a bit taken aback by the way some blw’ers can be with non-blw’ers! When all’s said and done we’re all just feeding our children, what business is it of anyone else how we choose to do it? But then, perhaps I haven’t done it entirely ‘purely’ as, when offering foods which require a spoon I have taken ‘baby led’ to mean that if i pre-load a spoon with yogurt and go to hand it to the baby, and the baby opens his/her mouth wide and clearly has no inclination to hold the spoon, i take the baby’s lead and spoon said yogurt into said gaping mouth! Most of the time, though, they take the spoon – otherwise how would they fling yogurt all over themselves / me / the wall?!?!

    1. hurrahforgin

      lol all part of the fun right?! I have absolutely no problem with the way anyone chooses to feed their baby – i just think its mental that people get all high and mighty about something so irrelevant to anyone except themselves. Very strange x

  35. Shannon

    I did BLW with my son because he physically refused me putting a spoon in his mouth, and he’s the fussiest little munchkin you can imagine! I can count the foods he eats with 2 hands.

    Oh and when I mentioned cottage pie and the like, I was told he must use his hands, no cuttlery was acceptable at this stage. Yeah ok…

    The ‘problem’ apparently with me was more that I did BLW when I (shock horror) didn’t succeed with breastfeeding.

    Well done on feeding your baby food by the way ;) xx

  36. Gill Rapley

    Thanks for this blog. Funny (and sad) how an attempt to present an alternative to spoon feeding – which some babies really DO seem to object to, but which many parents felt they had to follow because there was no other acceptable option – and to give it a name so it could be shared and discussed, and so that everyone could find what suited them and their baby, has led to polarised views and ‘policing’. Not my intention. Just for the record.

    1. hurrahforgin

      You are right it is sad. As I say I was looking into doing it myself, it’s a shame all methods can’t exist happily side by side. It’s not unique to feeding though – it’s just parenting in general, too many people think they knew best and enjoy ramming it down your throat.

  37. ctra

    Gill Rapley wrote the book on BLW and she says some spoon feeding is ok! (Just advises against doing it at every meal I believe). So no need for anyone to get on their high horse! We are starting BLW but we will just see what works for her.

  38. A-M

    Haha thanks for this. I liked the idea of BLW in theory but it never, ever worked for us.

    But then again I bottle fed him breast milk, and weeks later formula, from the very start (he never ever took to the breast even with about 15 different midwives having a go, it was dream start to motherhood) so I’ve probably already turned him into a monster. Oh well.

  39. Emma

    I did “pure” BLW with both my 2 who are now 6 & 4 yo. I never spoon fed them and mostly they attempted the spoon themselves around 9 months. I choose it through pure laziness for not having to purée etc plus the selfishness of being able to eat myself at the same time ;) Now at 6 & 4 having weaned them both the same way I have one who eats everything and anything in sight and one who is fussy and eats very little. Xx

  40. Kelly

    Oh thank you thank you for this post!!! I’m just starting solids with my little girl now (first baby), and this post is still relevant today… in a big way. I like SOME of the ideas about BLW, but everything I’ve read has sounded soo pretentious and spoon-bashing that it really put me off. Like if you spoon feed you’re a bad Mum. Does that mean that my Mum and her mother before her were bad Mums? Seriously, we were spoon-fed purees and I’m pretty sure I turned out just fine (sure, there may be others who *strongly* disagree with that… including my own Mum :P haha). My girl now 6 months was totally ready for food by early 4 months and would reach for our food and get very cranky when we didn’t give it to her. She would even make chewing motions as soon as she saw us eating. So at 4 months I decided to start feeding her, and purees it was as there was no way I was giving her solid chunks of food at that age. And guess what, she absolutely LOVES eating purees and has not stuck her nose up at anything I have given her thus far. Reading all the “claimed’ benefits of BLW though, I decided now that she’s 6 months to try some BLW. Not sure if I’ll ever do it again. Sure she enjoyed it well enough, but I don’t think she swallowed a single thing, made such a huge mess, and then 99% of the meal at the end was thrown in the bin. I know I know, the BLWers claim that “food before 1 is just for fun”, but being a dietitian/nutritionist I simply do not agree with that at all. She’ll never grow and develop as much as she will right now, so damnit I want her to get all the nutrition she can get. Not to mention the fact that I was sh*t-scared of her choking through the entire process. Anyway, if Mums decide to BLW then all power to them, but if they decide to puree & spoon feed then hells yeah to them too. If baby is loved and cared for then flip-yeah that’s what it’s all about!

    Long story short: Awesome read, thank you, and I couldn’t agree more!


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