Baby Led Weaning Basics
My husband and I have weaned and introduced foods to three little ones in our parenthood journey. With each one, we learned so very much, made mistakes, and made it through to the other side.
With our first son, we started purees right at six months. I spent SO MUCH TIME cooking and blending our own baby food. I left the lid off the blender more than once, and accidentally destroyed a silicone spatula in the blades. He stopped nursing on his own at 13 months.
With our second son, we did a mixture of baby led weaning and some purees. With two boys, I was buying the purees this time. This boy did not want solid food at all, and played with his food more than anything until he was about a year old. He nursed until 26 months.
With our third, we did exclusively baby led weaning (with a random veggie pouch thrown in here and there). With him watching four other people eating things off of their plates, he was gumming on foods a lot at seven months. He was a little over three years old when he started to self wean.
I highly recommend following the weaning approach that works best for your family and also following your pediatrician’s or family physician’s advice. But if you are interested in Baby Led Weaning, here are some basics to know!
Make Sure Your Little One Is Ready
Baby should be six months before considering BLW
Baby should be able to sit unsupported
Baby should be reaching for items and bring them to their mouth
Baby should seem interested in solid foods, and trying to grab yours
Keep things in baby-hand-size sticks or pieces
Soft fruits are great (bananas, strawberries, kiwi, etc)
Roast or steam veggies and slice into sticks
Smaller pieces can be used to encourage pincer grasp skills once they have mastered grasping the larger pieces
Fusili and rotini are easier to hold than long spaghetti noodles
Extra Advice and Tips
Offer bitter foods over sweet foods - We are naturally inclined to like sweet foods. Allow your little one to try things like broccoli, zucchini, avocado, cauliflower, and asparagus even more than you offer fruit and sweeter vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes
Adults still eat soft foods and purees - Yogurt, applesauce, rice, and oatmeal are great foods to offer your baby
Your baby is going to gag - Babies’ gag reflex is very sensitive, and it’s their way of protecting themselves and moving food around their mouths
Don’t be afraid of seasonings - Cumin, basil, thyme, garlic, cilantro… whatever herb or seasoning you use on your own food are good for your baby too. Stay away from too much salt
Don’t be afraid of the mess! - Eating before the age of one is a sensorial experience as much as nutritional. Your little one will most like be a mess, along with the floor, and possibly you as well
The most important thing to remember… you are the parent. You get to take in all of the advice out there from doctors, experts, and other parents, digest it, and apply it to your lives. You are the one who knows your family best. Listen to your gut. Lots of love, and I hope your week is amazing!