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Baby Led Weaning. If you’re a mom of a baby you’ve heard of it at least once. For those of you who aren’t familiar here’s a very basic definition: Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is the process of introducing your child to solid foods by providing them with safe, developmentally appropriate soft foods for their experimentation and enjoyment.
I used this method with my daughter and was so pleased with our experience. She is a great eater, although she has her moments, and has always really enjoyed meal times.
When we first started with BLW I was so nervous! I had so many questions and was completely unsure of myself. I got some great advice from friends and online message boards, but I also learned a lot just by trusting my momma-gut and doing what I thought was best. So if you’re thinking you want to try BLW just go for it! I had a lot of support, but I also had a lot of critics. Do what’s best for you and your child and own it!
One of the biggest things I (and I think any parent) was scared of was choking. My daughter is now 20 months old and has never choked. Not once. Babies have an awesome gag reflex that is way more forward in their mouths than adults, so they’re going to gag a lot but that’s ok! The best advice I ever got about BLW was that if I thought my daughter was choking to count to 10. I never got past 5 before she had spit out whatever she was gagging on. By not “rescuing” her all the time she learned how to handle that situation and I also didn’t scare her when she was trying to learn to eat!Need some ideas for what baby can eat? http://goo.gl/gEDPEZ #babyledweaning #blw #baby Click To Tweet
What I really loved about Baby Led Weaning, though, was that it was really freeing for me- that I didn’t feel like I needed to worry about her eating everything in a baby food jar or pouch. If she ate, great! If she mashed it all over the table and her face, great! Either way she was still learning about food, the social aspects of eating a meal together, and her body.
The hardest thing for me about BLW was actually coming up with meal ideas for my daughter! For some reason, this was so difficult! Well I’m out of the woods now and I have some experience under my belt so I thought I would share with y’all what my daughter ate between 6 months and 12 months of age (in no particular order):
- Mandarin oranges (Dole has great packaged ones in 100% juice)
- Whole apples (she would scrape them with her teeth)
- Watermelon (large slices are easy to hold and good for biting practice)
- Cut up tomato slices
- Green beans (no salt added)
- Broccoli (This was her first food- she loved to gnaw on a huge stalk!)
- Black beans
- Corn (Cut off the cobb)
- Sweet potatoes (roasted or baked)
- Scrambled eggs
- Cut up chicken (very tender, very small pieces once she got to the stage where she wanted everything to be bite sized)
- Lunch meat (ham, turkey, sliced chicken torn up into little bits- I prefer Boar’s Head meats)
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Yogurt (plain, whole milk)
- Tilapia (check for bones
- Salmon (check for bones)
- Ground beef (meatballs, not spicy taco meat, cut up hamburger patty)
- Cottage cheese
- Rice (white and brown)
- Pasta with tomato sauce
- Roasted white potatoes
- Toast with hummus
- Gerber Puffs
- Rice cakes (plain)
- Ritz and Saltine crackers
- Applesauce (no added sugar or flavors- just apples and water!
- Oatmeal (100% organic and prepared with organic whole milk, I usually used less milk and added applesauce and a little cinnamon before serving)
I hope this list helps inspire you when creating fun and interesting meals for your baby! Remember that food is just for fun and exploration before their first birthday, so don’t worry if they’re eating it all as long as they’re still nursing/taking formula at regular intervals!
And finally, if you’re baby is starting to eat solid foods but you’d rather make your own pureed baby food or mash/blend up solids at the very beginning, you’ll need some equipment. Check out Baby’s Lounge for in-depth reviews on everything you’ll need like baby food grinders, mills, and blenders. Some mom’s like to do purees at the beginning and introduce finger foods after a couple weeks or months, some moms (like me!) jump into table food from the get go! If you trust your gut and do what’s right for you and your family then whatever method you choose will be an awesome, fun learning experience for everyone involved!
Do you have any other first foods you would add to this list? Put it in the comments below to share with other moms!
There are thousands of amazing, science-based websites that can teach you about baby led weaning. This isn’t one of them. I am sharing my personal experience with the baby led weaning method and it should not be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions about whether or not baby led weaning is right for you and your child.