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My new and amazing diet – Baby-Led-Weaning (BLW)
19 Feb 2014
by Rhea Alton

There is no new mum who will wander into the kitchen, babe in arms, wearing PJs despite the fact it is 2pm, covered in suspicious stains and think ‘right, I’ll just whip myself together a prawn and avocado salad and a fresh fruit smoothie and I will be fit, healthy and back to my old self (or a new yummy mummy self) in no time’.

Well, I suppose that new mum may exist somewhere, but not in my house, or in the homes of any of my fellow mums…especially those of us who also have a toddler driving cars up our legs 24/7.

Dreams of a healthy diet to ensure my breastfed child is getting the best they can possibly receive, milk flavoured with all of the right food groups, five-a-day, still water or smoothies…..it’s not happening – if the baby falls asleep I’m going to have a wee, not knock myself up a healthy spot of lunch.

And I had accepted the fact that my aim of being fit and healthy (if only to be able to cope with two children under 3) may have been a little too ambitious.

But then something amazing happened. Weaning. I had done baby-led weaning (BLW) with my first baby and he had been good at it but number two LOVES his food and is making BLW a dream. And with BLW comes the necessity to provide healthy meals that you and your baby enjoy together……so, without even planning it I have one of the healthiest diets I have ever had – and it has happened overnight!

BLW means no purees and no packets as the baby simply eats what you eat, which means nothing for breakfast, a bag of crisps for lunch and a chinese take-away at 10pm doesn’t work.

Breakfast can be challenging if you don’t want to be finding dried weetabix over your kitchen walls for the next 10 years so you have to get creative – last week alone we had melon slices, porridge fingers, eggy bread, fruit bowls and yoghurt.

Lunch is traditionally a sandwich but bread sticks to the roof of babies mouths so we have had toasted pitta with grated apple and carrot, parsnip and carrot chips with chicken and broccoli and a whole new world of other lovely foods.

And the evening meal gets even better – orange fish with mash…fish poached in orange juice with mashed potato and a hint of mustard (lovely). And the fish recipe came from a recipe book of purees – I just missed off the final instruction to puree it, which means the diet works for all…anyone who puree feeds can cook for everyone and then just puree the baby bit – queue healthy eating-r-us!

Now don’t get me wrong, the adult BLW healthy-eating diet fails if you eat cakes and biscuits all evening after the children are in bed – it is a great way to get healthy but it cannot work miracles. But once you start it you actually get into the habit of eating healthily and you start to enjoy it – those who are naturally healthy people already know this, I am talking to my fellow ‘want the children to be healthy so I ate four of their Easter eggs to remove them from the home’ mums.

photo (7)The mums who look at this and think…..hmmmm, not sure I can be bothered to work hard to create that….

But if you just give it a go….then add a few fresh noodles….photo (6) and you have created a spot of lunch (actually very quick and easy) that both the baby and you can eat.

photo (5)photo (4)

This particular recipe was from the Usborne 30 Healthy things to cook and eat but I have a range of wonderful cookbooks and cards that create amazing meals. One of my favourites is the Red Ella’s Kitchen Cookbook and Rachel Allen’s Favourite Food at Home.

And the most important person loves them all!

photo (3)photo (2)photo (8)

So, do you have any recipes I can try – that I can fit into the busy day and that will bring a smile to these chubby cheeks? I am always excited about new things to try…