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Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food Paperback – 6 Nov 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 421 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vermilion (6 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091923808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091923808
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (421 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"It sounds like common sense: after all, would you want to be strapped into a high chair and force-fed spoon after spoon of bland vegetables? It's surely much more exciting to be able to exercise a bit of control over your diet" (Guardian)

"could radically simplify infant feeding" (Daily Telegraph)

"[Baby-led weaning] makes life so much easier" (The Times)

"I see many happy children, who choose their own food independently and eat at their own pace" (Stefan Kleintjes, paediatric dietitian)

"the benefits are great" (Independent)

Book Description

Everything you need to know about baby-led weaning - the latest buzz in parenting circles - from leading health visitor Gill Rapley

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers a refreshing alternative to traditional weaning in "stages" with purees then lumps etc. Especially now the official advice is not to wean before 6 months, it is possible to introduce your baby to a range of solids from the start with all the associated benefits.
However, the book is very critical of other approaches and in my opinion tries to oversell the idea. Many traditionally weaned babies are not force fed spoonfuls of pureed vegetables and are offered plenty of finger foods. It also oversells the practicalities of your baby eating the same meals as the rest of the family. Avoiding too much salt means mostly cooking from scratch and so freshly cooking 2-3 meals a day for the family as well as for the baby is no small task and limits the choices for family meals. In addition, sensible times for the baby to eat are often not so sensible for the rest of the family - for example if the baby goes to bed at 7pm and dad gets home from work at 6:30, finding a slot to eat together isn't so easy.
In addition, the book repeats often how safe it is and how it is rare for a baby to choke if they can get food into their mouth themselves and is sitting up properly. However, there doesn't seem to be any scientific research to back up this theory, the book is based on a very small study.
Having said that, we have used many of the ideas from the book and have taken a kind of hybrid approach. We started on mostly soft finger foods rather than purees, such as roast sweet potato, well boiled veg and soft fruits. We eat together when we can and the Sunday roast is a great meal we have shared from very early on in weaning. When she has food that is best from a spoon, we preload the spoon and let her hold it - either on her own or with some support.
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Format: Paperback
This is the only baby book which I have read that I would whole-heartedly recommend to other mothers, for a number of reasons. Gill Rapley is qualified to give her opinions and has based this book on scientific research. Her written style is very readable. She does not dictate to parents what they 'must do'... this book is written to give parents information that may not be available from their Health Visitor or GP about an alternative method of weaning babies. Making your mind up about whether to follow it is up to you...

But here's why I like her ideas and intend to follow them with my baby. Gill stresses the current recommendation from the World Health Organisation not to start weaning your baby until he/she is 6 months old. Before this they need nothing but breast milk (or formula) whatever you may have heard to the contrary. By the time babies reach 6 months they are usually able to sit unaided and, what's more, are capable of picking up large pieces of food, getting them to their mouths and starting to chew on them. For these reasons it becomes unnecessary to puree or mash the food that baby is being offered.

In my opinion it is much nicer for baby to learn what actual broccoli is like instead of eating a green mush. When you are starting straight into baby being able to try 'normal' food from the family meal (Gill explains which foods are unsuitable due to salt content etc) it means meal times become a social occasion from the very beginning and that baby joins in with you.

Don't be scared that your baby will choke - babies' gag reflex is more easily triggered than that of an adult and that will stop them choking on any large pieces of food. Of course you should always be watching baby while he/she is eating.
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Format: Paperback
I came to this book with an open mind, as I am due to start weaning soon. However, the book has actually managed to put me off baby led weaning.

I felt it was full of spurious, unfounded evidence to sell the idea of BLW, was very anti spoon feeding, and also slightly anti formula feeders, suggesting that formula fed babies are at a disadvantage and slower to learn this way of feeding.

Some of the selling points of BLW are flimsy in the extreme. Apparently, it makes eating out much easier. Even though she points out elsewhere in the book that BLW is messy - somewhat antisocial one would have thought to have your baby flinging his food about a restaurant. She says that if you spoon feed your child then you have to feed them whilst your own food gets cold when eating out - when you can simply feed your baby whilst waiting for your own food! And it's really very little hassle to take a small jar of food and a spoon to a restaurant. I'd rather give my baby something I'd prepared myself at home, than order something from a restaurant for her, as Rapley suggests -another selling point of BLW apparently is being able to order food from the restaurant for them when you eat out.

Rapley totally oversells the idea, even hinting at one point that if you BLW your child is less likely to develop an eating disorder, or be overweight! She has no evidence to back up any of these claims. Also, if you BLW, your child will have better table manners. Again, this is based on 'anecdotal evidence' and no actual scientific research.

She glosses over the safety aspect of BLW, saying that in the unlikely event of your baby choking, you can just use standard first-aid - not detailed anywhere in the book.
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