REVIEW: Baby-led weaning, Step by Step by Julie Clarke

Before we started weaning, I bought a few books to help us through it as I found all the information online a bit overwhelming! We wanted to try baby-led weaning so we bought a book by Gill Rapley as a lot of peers named her as a guru. In case this route didn’t work, we’d need to try purees so I bought a book by Annabel Karmel who is known as the queen of weaning through puree recipes!

Our books about weaning
Our books about weaning

While buying these, Amazon also recommended ‘Baby-led weaning, step-by-step’ by Julie Clarke, and this ended up being the most useful book of the lot!

I found Rapley’s book very theoretical – one big, long advert on why you should do baby-led weaning (the most useful bit being lots of quotes from parents who had gone through it). But I’d already decided we wanted to do weaning the baby-led way, so I wanted something more practical on what foods to try and when etc.

This is where Julie Clarke’s baby-led weaning book excels – it’s very practical – full of advice and tips including:

  • which highchair to buy
  • which yoghurts to buy that aren’t packed in sugar
  • what mix of food types you should try and give your baby
  • an example menu schedule
  • ideas on which first foods to try
  • how and when to drop milk feeds

The other big selling point for me is that there’s a real-life case study running all the way through the book – you get to follow baby Rosie’s weaning journey – it’s always useful to hear real-life stories e.g. how they initially missed a few meals due to nap times etc (something we’re trying to work our way around!)

The chapters are split by the age of the baby, but obviously not all babies are the same and they might not follow these months religiously! Like with everything, I tend to read and then do things my own way – so for example, the book recommends starting straight away on 3 meals a day, but we wanted to start with 1 meal a day initially (check out our first weaning update) – so I’d recommend you use this book as a guide to suit you, not a rule book! We’re also doing a bit of spoon-feeding (or guiding the spoon in the right direction) and initially tried a bit of baby-specific food like baby rice – the book recommends against this but isn’t judgemental about it – again, do what suits you!

That’s all I can really say about the book without giving away all the tips! The only thing I would have liked a bit more info on is gagging – it does mention it, but it would be good to know a bit more about what to expect when it happens, I’m not sure exactly what I was after but it was definitely the thing I was most nervous about when starting our weaning journey!

So overall I highly recommend the book, it’s already been really useful and I’m sure it will be over the next few months! It’s very easy-to-follow and understand, and very practical – to buy it, support your local bookstore or click on the Amazon link in the image…

Q&A with the author, Julie Clarke

Co-incidentally, I’ve ended up chatting to the author on Twitter and I will be interviewing her for the blog about all-things-baby-led-weaning! So if you have a question for Julie, please leave it in the comments section below by Dec 1st (2014!) and I’ll give you a mention when the interview goes live early December!

10 thoughts on “REVIEW: Baby-led weaning, Step by Step by Julie Clarke”

  1. Hello. Our little boy is 5 months at the beginning of December. We’re being recommended by the health visitor to keep breastfeeding up to six months and then start to wean. He’s starting to get upset at meal times because we all sit down to eat but he doesn’t get any but also if he’s on our laps rather than in his chair he tries to steal food from the plates (it’s happened once or twice on the last week or so).

    We bought a high chair last week and so now at meal times we put him in the high chair so he knows “now we eat” but actually it’s not his mealtime. I give him his weaning spoons to play with rather than toys to distinguish further than now is a meal time.

    When can we start and what should we start with as there seems to be mixed opinions.


  2. Thanks for sharing. That’s probably the only weaning book I didn’t buy (not anymore – I’ve just ordered it).

    I’d like to know when 3 meals a day should be fully established? Jasmine (nearly 8 months) still only has 2 meals a day but still isn’t overly fussed about food. We are BLW.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx


  3. Yay SO glad someone else loves this book! I swore by this when we first started and it’s the only book we had. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Julie and she’s lovely, I’m so thankful I met her at the baby show all those months ago xx


    1. Eeeek! That’s how I felt too – I was in no rush to do it but now I’m enjoying it – it’s good fun if you let them play with the food etc – you can see him trying to work things out – shapes, flavours, textures etc! xx


      1. She’s still exclusively breastfed. I’m mourning these days when her every nutritious need is met by my body! It’s going to be so weird. Still, I know it will be lots of fun! She’s sitting up and putting everything in her mouth so she’s so ready! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Please ask Julie for meal ideas for dairy and egg allergic children. Partic along lines of pancake and muffin type recipes. I’m at a real loss as to what to cook. Thanks


    1. I know, the cleaning is an endless task and we haven’t even started on proper messy food yet! I figure it’s worth it though – I’m enjoying watching him having so much fun exploring textures and flavours 🙂 thanks for calling by xxx


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