Wow, what an exciting time. Your baby has been cleared to start solids. I am sure, so many questions are running through your brain.
What will I feed her? Is he ready? Am I ready? Chances are if you are reading this post someone has mentioned Baby Led Weaning (BLW) to you and you are curious. The first time I heard of BLW was in our initial meeting with our daughter’s daycare provider. We were new parents and had loads of questions. She was a mother of four and had been caring for small babies for years. Somehow BLW came up in our conversation, and she urged us to do our research. We promptly purchased a few books and scoured the internet for as much information as we could gather. It did not take us long to realize BLW was for us!
So let’s start with some basics, shall we?
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Simply put, BLW is teaching your baby to feed themselves from the very beginning. No purees, no ice trays of mush, and no playing airplane with a spoon of liquid vegetables. To be totally honest, I was sort of looking forward to playing airplane.
With BLW you forgo the mushy purees and instead offer whole foods that are easily gummed by your the baby. Fun fact: A tiny baby’s gums can chew through leather. Okay, that’s not true, but you would be surprised at what a baby can gum down to nothing before they swallow.
We started letting our girl play with food around six months. She was showing signs so we thought we would give it a try. It turns out she wasn’t quite ready. Allow me to save you from some frustration. Here are the signs you can look for when deciding the right time to give BLW a go.
What’s the Meaning of Weaning in Baby Led Weaning?
Something to note is that the word “wean” uses the UK definition which is to add complimentary food and not the American version which means to give up breast milk/formula. With BLW, your baby will still be getting his/her nutrition from breastmilk or formula.
Think of it this way, food before one is just for fun.
That sounds great and all, but my baby has zero teeth. Like not even those two cute ones on the bottom that poke out when she grins. No teeth, no problem. When you begin BLW, you start with small morsels of goodness like bananas and avocados. By introducing solids to them in this manner, your baby will quickly learn to chew (gum) and then swallow.
BUT THEY WILL CHOKE!!! Ok first, let’s calm down Your baby is going to be fine.
Here are some tips to help baby gum that food.
First, never leave your baby alone while they are eating. DUH, right? You would be surprised. Just don’t do it. Second, start with small bites. Small as in the size of your pinky fingernail. Offer foods that are easily mushed and can be grabbed by your baby. Think bananas, avocados, rice, noodles, etc. Your baby MAY gag. This is OKAY. It is all apart of learning. Stay close and help them through it. I would highly encourage you to watch some videos on YouTube. There are a ton on BLW and they will really help you to see the difference in gagging and choking.
Alright, I am convinced. What do I need to get the BLW party started? Nothing, you need nothing but the wholesome food you have prepared for yourself. But, if you are into reading, we found this book to be super helpful.
When you start BLW, you will want to introduce one food at a time. You want to make sure that your baby isn’t allergic and if you give them multiple types of food, you won’t be able to tell. We started with avocados because every true Texas baby must begin with this food. We went on to bananas, then oranges (in a little pouch), and then honestly I don’t remember. Give your baby a new food 2-3 times before moving on to a new food.
So that’s it. Messy? YUP! Complicated? Nope!
Happy eating and make sure to snap lots of pictures!
** When it comes to all things babies, please always do your research, consult your pediatrician, and follow your heart/gut.**