As I get to grips with baby-led weaning, I'm finding that some meals are easier than others to share with a baby. For example, the chicken goujons and sweet potato chips in my last recipe are pretty easy to give to Darling Daughter in a way that she can grasp them and self-feed; however, if I were to try this with a plate of spaghetti bolognese, it would likely result in a lot of mess and a frustrated baby.
Often, however, a little creativity is all that's needed to provide Darling Daughter with food that she can manage, that is not too dissimilar from what the rest of us are eating, and that takes little to no extra effort to prepare. For example, penne or fusilli pasta shapes are easy for a six-month-old to hold, soft enough for her to eat with her toothless gums, and can easily be chucked in with the pan of spaghetti to cook at the same time. (I use wholemeal spaghetti and pasta for improved nutritional value.)
Many pasta sauces are quite high in salt and sugar, and even my homemade bolognese sauce contains salty stock cubes and a little sugar - it's what gives us the flavour my family likes, and the quantities of sugar and salt are not excessive for adults and older children, but might be a little high for a just-weaning baby. Plus, can you imagine the mess as a baby tries to self-feed it!
My solution at this early stage of weaning is what I like to call "deconstructed macaroni cheese": a couple of pasta shapes, a couple of pieces of cheddar and a couple of cucumber sticks. Simple, easy to eat and a good mixture of foods for Darling Daughter to try.