“Dadadada!” Baby M babbles excitedly. I pass her another quarter of a turkey meatball. She smiles wide as she pinches off pieces and puts them into her mouth.
I have never seen someone so fired up about a meatball. Baby-led weaning has led us to countless moments of captivation between Baby M and new foods.
Baby-led weaning is one of the most convenient and nutritious way to move to solids!
Always consult your pediatrician before beginning solids with your child.
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Baby-led weaning is the process of letting your baby eat and explore finger foods in their natural form, as opposed to purées. Not only can it enhance hand-eye coordination, speech skills, and finger dexterity, it can create a healthy relationship with food.
Every parent should look into baby-led weaning because of the many benefits it can offer your child.
Our Pediatrician’s Advice
I was told we could start giving Baby M tastes of solids starting at 4 months. I would give her a few bits of purées and moved onto BLW at 6 months.
I also waited until she could sit up on her own and was no longer pushing food out of her mouth with her tongue (the extrusion or tongue thrust reflex).
The hardest part about BLW is the anxiety around choking. I watched a lot of “choking vs. gagging” videos to prepare myself. I learned CPR and always have my phone on me in case of an emergency. I do have to say, nothing prepared me for the wave of panic that swept over me the first time my baby gagged.
As soon as I heard the gagging noise I picked her up and ran towards the bathroom where my husband was showering, to tell him to call 911. Of course, within those 10 seconds, Baby M had puked up whatever she was working on and was giggling.
Now, when she starts to gag I watch her closely and so far she’s been fine. By giving her the space to work it out calmly, she is able to cough up everything thus far.
Learning to cut food items the proper way as well as creating a safe feeding environment has been the most beneficial to me. I also don’t feed her foods that I’m not comfortable with yet, and definitely not ones that aren’t safe yet.
She started with huge wedges of food and has now learned to take small, controlled bites. It’s amazing to see her progress!
Watching my daughter explore and enjoy food has been one of the greatest joys of motherhood so far. Seeing her delight in her first piece of penne or savor a slice of avocado gives me pride. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders in the past, it’s important to that my daughter has a respectful relationship with food.
I let her decide how much she eats and how. Some days she eats like a linebacker, other days she just wants to eat off a pinch of her baby-sized omelette. She tells me what tastes good. She is in control. It’s amazing to see her choices.
Baby M abhorred broccoli the first time she tried it. But, we kept serving it alongside food she already loves, like it was no big deal. On maybe the sixth or seventh time she took the tiniest nibble. She was hooked. She wanted more, more, more.
I was so proud of her for trying something again and enjoying it.
These little moments of discovery are so precious and exciting.
Another great perk to BLW is making cute little animals out of food, of course.
Tools of the Trade
My favorite tool has been the Mini Spoon and Fork Set from Babeehive Goods. Their set spoon and fork have grips that make them perfect for little hands! They come in seven colors and are super affordable.
Kitchen shears (more efficient than a knife).
Thanks to Babeehive Goods for sponsoring this post, as always all opinions are my own!
There’s no one way to feed your baby. Baby-led weaning has worked for our baby and our family. I don’t hesitate to give Baby M a puréed pouch when we are on a road trip or pressed for time.
Have you tried baby-led weaning or do you prefer purées? Maybe a combination of both?
Let me know below.
References for Baby-Led Weaning: