We have been using the Baby Led Weaning method for nearly 6 months, and everyday I feel like one of us learns something new. When I first started hearing about BLW I was skeptical. I had so many questions: “How can they chew on pieces that are that big!?” “Will they be able to do BLW if they do not have teeth yet?” After a lot of research about it, and an amazing Facebook group, all of my questions were answered.
I felt really confident about starting BLW. My husband, however; did not. His biggest concern, like most, was choking. When I explained to him that they can choke on pureed food as well, and explained all of the benefits, I was able to convince him otherwise and we started baby led weaning at about 6.5 months old, the twins still did not have teeth. This is when the babies met all of the requirements to begin baby led weaning. (Showing interest in food, and sitting unassisted)
So you might be confused, or not really sure where to begin, just like I was, so I am hoping to cover everything you need to know to get started, but must importantly feel comfortable, and confident beginning this journey.
-Encourages your baby to become confident and happy at mealtimes.
-Makes mealtime more enjoyable for the whole family.
-No need for “baby food”
-It’s more natural for the baby to explore their food.
-They learn about different textures, and flavors rather than the tastes being puréed into one.
-All of their senses are involved, so they are able to get a better understanding.
-They will rarely show suspicions of foods- like some toddlers. Resulting in trying new foods, and being less picky.
-No need to trick your baby into eating, no “baby airplane,” and no need to persuade at mealtime.
-Respects babies decisions about what to eat, and when to stop eating.
-Works on hand-eye coordination
For the first few weeks of baby led weaning I gave them foods that could easily be cut into the size and shape of about an index finger. I started with steamed sweet potatoes, because they aren’t slimy in texture, they are easy to pick up, and hold on to, and they still taste good! I also did steamed broccoli florets, and avocados dipped in Italian bread crumbs because they are much easier to hold on to. Around 9 months I started giving them larger, whole pieces except for obvious choking hazards, like grapes and blueberries.
Harlow and Myles both grasped the concept at very different rates. Like most things they are very opposite of each other. Harlow took to it right away, and was eating several different foods within a few weeks. Myles, however, was extremely picky to the different textures. It took us about a month to get into a rhythm of likes and dislikes, and by 8 months they really got the hang of it.
Just remember that food before one is just for fun! You always want to feed your baby at least 30 minutes before hand so that breastmilk/formula is still their main source of nutrition, until they are 12 months of age.
(Oh yeah, and once you start your babies will try and eat everything!!!!)
One of the biggest, and it seems like the only con to baby led weaning is the mess. It is WAY messier then spoon feeding, in the beginning, because it is not as controlled, but I also know that every baby is different. Harlow is a more delicate eater, but still makes a mess, whereas Myles rarely finishes a meal without having a portion of it half way across the room. To me the mess is worth it. I would rather have them feeding themselves right away then having to spoon feed them, and having to teach them how to feed themselves later on, because either way you’re going to end up with the mess. Now that they have been feeding themselves well for the last couple of months the mess is not as scattered, unless its spaghetti night. 😉
I have also found that if I put less on their tray, or just give them one food at a time they’re less likely to make a mess. However, that was not the case early on. I suggest if they are fussy while eating to offer a variety, to help keep their interest, but the fussiness will subside as they grasp the concept.
Here are some great products that have really helped me keep the mess under control. I also have recently discovered the BISSELL CrossWave Floor and Carpet Cleaner with Wet-Dry Vacuum, 1785A“>Bissell Crosswave, and let me tell you: game changer! I wish I would have had that from the beginning!
Ikea highchairs: These highchairs are fantastic for baby led weaning. they are fabric free, making them super easy to wipe down. A few times my husband has taken them to the shop, and just pressure washed them! It makes for a super easy clean up
Bibs: We love these bibs from Solby baby. They are really easy to wipe off, and my favorite part is that they cover their entire outfit, so I don’t have to worry about multiple changes throughout the day. We started with bibs from Bapron Baby, but after a couple of washes they started getting a horrible odor. We use silicon bibs as well, but they quickly learned how to take those off, so we needed something that tied in the back.
Nuby mat:I have had, so many messages about this mat. It has made such a difference in our clean up! Especially when they are eating juicy, or slimy foods the wetness doesn’t sit on our hardwood.
Sippy Cups:This company also makes a soft, nipple top sippy cup, but we transitioned right to straw cups, so we could skip that stage.
Plates: I have heard these are great for containing messes, but they only lasted half a meal for us, and all I kept doing was putting it back on the tray.
Utensils:We have not introduce them to utensils yet, but when we do it will be these! I have heard great things about them.
I hope this post helps you in understanding the BLW process! Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!!! Just drop them in the comment section below, or message me. I can’t wait to hear about your journey! ☺️