Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baby-Led Weaning

The following information was given off of a website I visit often:

What is Baby Led Weaning?

So what exactly is Baby Led Weaning as relates to solid food introduction? In short, Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is skipping thin and runny purées and not feeding your baby with a spoon.

Baby Led Weaning means offering your baby (age appropriate) foods that are soft-cooked and cut or mashed into small easily manageable pieces. These foods are then given to your baby to eat. You do the cooking, the dicing or mashing and the offering of the foods and your baby does the rest. You may choose to offer your baby a large hunk of apple that she can easily hold and gnaw on or a bowl full of soft cooked mashed apples; the choice is yours. It is important to note that your baby should be in control of what he is eating and you should never put the foods into his mouth!

As with breastfeeding on demand, Baby Led Weaning is a method of introducing solid foods that leaves it up to your baby to decide what, when and how much to eat. While not necessarily a "hands off" approach, Baby Led Weaning does advocate allowing your baby to make all food choices for him or himself.

P-man first started showing signs he was ready for food right around the 4.5 month mark. I was so adamant about waiting until at least 7 months (at the time I really wanted to exclusively nurse until then). I finally gave in when he was 5.5 months and he tried his first bite of rice cereal. HATED IT! Here is a picture:

I skipped rice cereal and he tried some oatmeal...not as bad as the rice, but still wasn't too fond of it. During meal times, I would watch his two eyes track my every bite (I wish I had this on video). He would then salivate and munch on his tongue. On his 6 month birthday, I decided to purée some avocados. Avocados are a great first food, because it's loaded with all the necessary nutrients for a baby to thrive. He really liked it. I then followed with peas and green beans (hated it) and finally sweet potatoes (loved it). Around the same time as I'm introducing purées, I'm also allowing him to practice using his pincher grasp with cheerios. I was a little nervous, because the cheerios seemed to be harder for him to gum compared to the Gerber Puffs. I finally bought some puffs, and he went to town. After being on puffs for a few days and finally mastering his pincher grasp (hit this milestone at 7 months old), he slowly started to become less interested in the purées and was getting very irritated with me when the spoon neared his mouth. I started researching a tad bit and found and learned more about baby lead weaning. I thought we would give it a try.

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, I decided to boil some apples we got at the pumpkin patch and cut up some toast for P-man to try. I was a little worried about the texture, because I know some babies are sensitive to things with a weird texture... not P-man. He was picking up the apples (a bit tart) and the small bites of toast and just inhaling them piece by piece. He did a fabulous job gumming them and only gagged on an apple piece once, but then got it down. I know in most baby lead weaning cases, moms give them an entire pear or entire piece of bread and let the baby decided how big of a piece to put in their mouths...right now I'm not too comfortable with this yet. I'm hoping once we get better at mastering the small bites of food, we can move onto a banana (the Munchkin mesh feeders are prefect for this if you aren't ready to give them an entire banana). or graham cracker. Here is what the Munchkin mesh feeder is:

I can't wait to see what happens on our "table food" journey. I think tonight's menu will consist of some steamed carrots and black beans.


  1. Love baby led weaning! We did it with Melody and will definitely do it with the next. I was a little more free with her - at 6 months I gave her big chunks of (raw) apple (without skin) and let her sort of chew and mush and do what she wanted with it. Her first food was actually piece of chicken. It was easy for me, and she loved it.I didn't care for the Munchkin feeders, but that was mostly because they were nearly impossible to clean. We never had any problems with her choking - it's been said that babies are more likely to gag on purees because they have no control over how much is going into their mouths or when. Giving them the control might actually be a little safer, as long as you're using safe foods. Anyway, glad you've discovered it! I hope you guys enjoy it.

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