If you’re anything like me, you will do a LOT of research before going the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) route. When I first heard what it was, i was quite skeptical. My mom and I dedicated hours of research before deciding to take the plunge. There were many times I wanted to give up, but then I’d fight with my 4 year old to get her to eat , or I’d be cooking her yet another quesadilla for dinner instead of having what we’re having, and I would take a deep breath and persevere.
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When my 9 month old gobbled up some Salmon Benedict, I knew we had made the right decision. The fact that we can now put anything in front of him, and he’ll eat it without question, is kind of life changing. I cannot emphasize how much I wish I had done this with our first.
It can seem overwhelming when first starting, but here are the 5 things main things to remember when going the BLW route:
#1 Make sure baby is at least 6 months old, can sit up on their own, and can grab objects. I get ants in my pants right around 4 months to start solids, but you really do want to wait until their bodies are physically ready.
#2 Start with strips of food easy for baby to gnaw on, then move to smaller pieces once the pincer grip is developed. The picture above he is eating steak. Yes, steak. And he loved it. Strips of protein like that were perfect because they weren’t SO soft that he could bite big chunks off.
#3 Don’t freak out when baby gags a bit, there is a difference between gagging and choking. This can definitely be the most disconcerting part. The best article I found was from the Baby Led Weaning website. I had to keep going back to this part: Gagging, as opposed to choking, is actually a safety response to food travelling too far back into the mouth so when we see our babies gagging they are actually handling the problem and it’s best just to keep calm (or at least look calm) and wait until it passes. It’s totally normal, but I still recommend being familiar with baby CPR… Peace of mind!
#4 Resist the urge to introduce purees. I know it’s tempting, but I promise it’s not necessary. Every time I wanted to whip out a pouch of puree in the beginning, I just reminded myself of my daughter’s eating habits (or lack thereof). I’m sure each baby reacts differently, but I didn’t want to risk getting him hooked on the smooth texture and ruin all the hard work.
#5 Don’t give up if baby doesn’t get it right away. It can be stressful. I wanted to give up a million times, but I am so incredibly glad I stuck with it. It really ended up taking a few months for him to get the hang of it. Just remember the saying “food before one is just for fun”.
Bonus thing to take note of… it’s messy, just accept that before you start.
If you’re considering BLW, just a teeny bit, I highly recommend this book. It answered all my questions and truly helped me get through it:
Please remember, I am not a medical professional. Even though these are my takeaways from going the BLW route, you should check with someone else to make sure your baby is ready for solids.