Let me just say: I LOVE BABY LED WEANING! BLW is sooooo easy and makes life simpler.
Some important things to note:
- Make sure your baby is at least 6 months old, is able to grasp items, put them to their mouth, and can sit up unsupported.
- Go by the mantra of Food Before One Is Just For Fun.
- Make sure your milk feedings are still constant. BLW feedings should happen an hour or so after a milk feed, so as to not disrupt or fill their tummies in the beginning. Eventually, as they become a more proficient eater, you can start to vary milk feeds and solid feedings based upon your pediatricians recommendations.
- Also it is recommended to start out with one new food very few days so that you can gauge an allergic reaction, rather than introducing a bunch of new foods at once. (I’ll be honest, we didn’t do much of that, and he was fine. It kinda depends on the history of food allergies in your family.)
Now in full disclosure we have done a mix of BLW and purees. I really love the Happy Baby brand of purees, they are organic and seriously yummy! (I’ve tried all the ones we have ever given Xander) I like the purees because they are a great source of veggies and sometimes he just is in the mood for something he doesn’t have to work at (I blame the teething).
We started Xander on mashed bananas when he was 6 months old. Basically he would have solid food once a day in the beginning, usually at dinner. Most things would get mashed up to make sure he could gum it more easily.
Some of his favorite first foods were: Sweet Potatoes, Beans and Rice, Steamed Veggies, Bananas, Pickles (he would scrape off the tender “meat” of the pickle with his gums), Sweet Potato Fries, Garlic Naan Bread, Tortillas.
He eats such an assortment of things now. Usually he has some of whatever I’m eating, though I will get things or make things specifically for him. I’ll be honest, I eat out WAY more than I should, so I try and choose things that will be good for him. I love Chikfila because they have grilled nuggets and fruit cups! As far as fast food goes, they are the best when it comes to a healthy option for kids. Also the grilled nuggets are easy for him to grab and are easy to bite. We also love MOD Pizza, where you can choose your toppings (a la Subway style) and I load it with healthy and yummy things like tomatoes, spinach, chicken, mushrooms, olives that I can pick off and he’ll eat. I love being able to sit him down and let him eat on his own.
Baby Led Weaning is great at opening up their experience with different textures and flavors. It generally makes for less picky eaters. Though Xander has changed his fondness for veggies recently. *sad face* Xander has always preferred food with flavor. He HATED most of the pureed offerings by Gerber (I don’t blame him, they were nasty and bland as bland can be). He likes Tikka Masala, Spaghetti and meat sauce (there were LOTS of audible mmmmm’s with that meal), Fajitas, and so many more things that have a mixture of flavors and spices. You do want to be careful with salt and anything spicy and avoid un-necessary sauces and gravies because they tend to be have higher sodium and no real nutritional value.
Now you may be wondering about choking. I have only ever had him legitimately choke once, and ironically enough that was on a yogurt melt. You better believe I had him over my knee and pounding his back before you could blink. I always watch him while he eats. He rarely gags anymore, but when he does that food comes popping outta his mouth super quick and he is good to go.
The differences between gagging and choking: Gagging is noisy. They make sounds, and the food gets spit up and out pretty quickly. (The gag reflex is further forward in the mouth for an infant/baby and moves further back as they get older.) Choking is generally silent. If you are not paying attention you would more than likely not know something was wrong (hence why you ALWAYS watch your child when they are eating). Also they will have a look of fear and panic on their face.
According to Web MD:
If the baby can cough or make sounds, let him or her cough to try to get the object out. If you are worried about the baby’s breathing, call 911.
If a baby can’t breathe, cough, or make sounds, then:
- Put the baby facedown on your forearm so the baby’s head is lower than his or her chest.
- Support the baby’s head in your palm, against your thigh. Don’t cover the baby’s mouth or twist his or her neck.
- Use the heel of one hand to give up to 5 back slaps between the baby’s shoulder blades.
- If the object does not pop out, support the baby’s head and turn him or her faceup on your thigh. Keep the baby’s head lower than his or her body.
- Place 2 or 3 fingers just below the nipple line on the baby’s breastbone and give 5 quick chest thrusts (same position as chest compressions in CPR for a baby).
- Keep giving 5 back slaps and 5 chest thrusts until the object comes out or the baby faints.
- If the baby faints, call 911 (if you haven’t called already)
Ok now that the scary stuff is out of the way, here’s a humorous and cute thing I heard about the other day: I recently read about one lady who has a “Baby Tax” at dinner for all the family members. Meaning everyone has to give a small portion of their meal up for the baby to eat. I like that, because often I share my meal and wish my husband would pony up some of his food! Lol This of course works most when out to eat, because at home I generally have enough to give Xander his own portion. Yeah I think we will be instituting a “Xander Tax” in my house. Haha
I have enjoyed seeing Xander really dig into food and explore different textures, and flavors. Now that he eats more solids he does have stinkier poops (oh boy!) and it definitely has lit the desire to make sure we potty train sooner than later, because toddler poop is GROSS! Lol
So on that note, jump into Baby Led Weaning and see how it works for you. There is a book that I haven’t read but hear has great info all about BLW. I just read things I found on Pinterest and blogs about BLW. I think it just popped up in my Pinterest feed one day and I was like, “huh, what’s that?!”. Definitely checkout our Pinterest page btw!