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Our Experience With Baby Led Weaning

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This post is far overdue considering Aiden is now 11+ months and we started solids at 6 months.  I actually wanted to wait to do this post for a couple of months so that I could fully see the evolution of eating solids.

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What is Baby Led Weaning?

From the Baby Led Weaning website:

Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.

No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.

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Advantages of Baby Led Weaning

  • You don’t have to be a short order cook because your baby will be eating what you’re eating (even if slightly modified).
  • You don’t have to miss out on eating due to spoon feeding a baby.
  • Your child will have improved hand-eye coordination due to developing the pincher grasp to feed themselves.
  • Your child may be a more adventurous eater because they are in charge of their consumption and think of it as fun and exciting.
  • You don’t have to spend time pureeing baby food or spend money buying jarred baby food.
  • Your baby will learn to chew food from the get go instead of having to learn later because they were fed purees at the beginning.

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 Disadvantages of Baby Led Weaning

  • Choking.  I attended two baby led weaning classes, talked to several moms and scoured the internet about this and everyone said that babies have such a strong gag reflex that they won’t.  This was my biggest struggle to overcome with baby led weaning.
  • Getting proper nutrition.  I didn’t think at 6 months old he could actually get enough in his mouth and swallow it to be adequate.  You also won’t know exactly how much your baby is getting.
  • It’s REALLY messy!

Our Experience With Baby Led Weaning

Ever since Aiden was a newborn, I thought that I wanted to do baby led weaning with him. It seemed to have a good following and I liked the advantages of it.  I took a baby led weaning class at The Mamahood to learn exactly how to do it and get reassurance about the choking aspect as well as what foods I should avoid.  I loved the class and was excited, yet nervous to try this at home.

The first food we gave him was a hunk of banana.  I sat at the table while Aiden smashed it in his hands and examined what it was first.  Then all of a sudden, he shoved the entire thing up to his mouth and tasted it.  I had no idea how much was in there and I started panicking.  Choking is such a huge safety concern for babies, so it was hard to turn that off even though I had been reassured this was fine.  The teacher at the class told us that they would gag and cough but that wasn’t choking.  After a few more seconds with the banana in his mouth, he started gagging.  I rushed over there and took the piece out of his mouth and realized that I couldn’t do baby led weaning.

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I didn’t feel comfortable feeding my child alone.  I needed David there reassuring me that Aiden wasn’t choking and was fine.  I couldn’t go through this every time he ate.

I know lots of people that have done baby led weaning and had great success with it.  I don’t think there is a right method to feeding your baby as long as it’s done healthfully.  I’ve read on a few baby led weaning websites that feeding them purees is like “force feeding a baby in an unnatural way.”  Aiden did well with a spoon and I watched for his cues to stop feeding him when he was finished.  I never force fed him at all.  As adults, we eat plenty of foods with spoons and use purees too such as smoothies, yogurt, and soups.

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I started making him food when he was 6 months old and we’ve gradually incorporated more solids along the way.  I got more adventurous at about 9 months and now he does eat similar to what David and I eat, just cut in smaller pieces.  He’s always been a pretty good eater.  He’s not very picky about what he eats and we’ve fed him a large variety of fruits, veggies, meats and a few grains (but we delayed the introduction of grains).

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I’m going to have a post next week that will further detail Aiden’s adventure into starting solids!

Questions:

Did you do baby led weaning?

How old was your baby when you started feeding them?

What was your baby’s first food?

 

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10 Responses to Our Experience With Baby Led Weaning

  1. Courtney says:

    Aria did BLW. For two months I had daily heart attacks because of the gagging sounds. It is not for the faint of heart, ohmygosh. She never choked though. And, she was just fine getting food back out if she needed to. Still it was terrible. If Chris wasn’t there being all calm I probably would have called it quits. As it is I still gave her some soups and applesauce so I could have a break from the gag sounds.

    It was amazing the progress with grabbing and hand eye coordination and pincher grasp etc though. Her first food was cheese she grabbed out of my hand, and then a piece of dad’s steak that night since I didn’t have anything else to let her try. And, we started right at 6 months.

  2. I’m a huge fan over baby led weaning, as it worked awesome with Hailey. She gagged a few times, too, but quickly got past it.

    I am glad you found what worked for you, though, because above all, I’m an advocate of doing what works best. Sounds like Aiden is a great eater! To each their own! :)

    I plan to do baby led weaning with baby #2 and am excited/anxious to see how it goes. Only time will tell!

    • Ali Damron says:

      I definitely am going to try it with baby #2 when that day comes too. I really like the principles of it, I just had a hard time trusting that Aiden wouldn’t choke and that he could get food out. I think I’m much more comfortable with that now!

  3. Becky says:

    I honestly think spoon feeding my babes are some if my favorite face to face memories, and as they got bigger, I made sure to enjoy and photograph their first spaghetti and other huge messy faces and high chairs. Their motor skills turned out just fine too. :)
    I’m still scraping food off the walls and floor regularly! Now we’re working on table manners. Enjoy every stage and don’t stress too much about the perfect methods.

  4. Alyssa says:

    We are trying BLW right now. My son is almost 8 months and he is finally starting to have some interest in food. I know exactly what you mean about being scared of choking. I am sitting at the edge of my chair each time he is eating. My son did the same thing with banana last time. I was just talking with my husband about whether or not we should start to spoon feed. I love the BLWing concept but i think i have already aged twenty years lol.

    • Ali Damron says:

      Exactly! I wish you luck in whichever way you choose. I started incorporating some foods like stir fry that I food processed finer and some soups to reassure myself that he could handle big chunks of food. Just ease into it:)

  5. […] week, you might remember that I wrote this post about our experience with baby led weaning.  For a short summary, I wanted to do baby led weaning […]

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My name is Ali Damron & this is my home for sharing my chaotic motherhood lifestyle, attempts at newfound recipes, & how I stay fit out here in Denver, Colorado. Thanks for stopping by!



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