Baby Led Weaning

The views expressed in this post, (and all of my posts), are strictly my own and come from my personal experiences.  Please consult your pediatrician before experimenting with baby led weaning.  

With baby number two, we pretty much skipped over the pureed baby food phase.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it!  I made a ton of it for my daughter.  I had a lot of fun trying new things and giving her new flavors and seeing her reactions.

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Once it was time to start giving her “real” food, I was pretty freaked out.  But, as my friend told me, they have a really good gag reflex, so if they start to choke, they cough it up.  And they will choke.  It’s part of the learning how to eat experience.

And this is why you don’t leave baby alone with food.  Don’t. Ever!

With baby led weaning, they get to play with it, and have fun with it, but you always want to be right there in case you’re needed.  I’ve had a few moments with both kids where I was needed.  Just a quick swipe of the finger through their mouth is all it took, but even so, when your little one is gagging on something, it freaks a mama out!

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When our oldest was about eleven months old, I finally started giving her whole foods.

With my youngest, as soon as I got the “ok” from the doctor (at about 5 months), he started eating everything we ate.

The trick is to give them something that is way too big to fit in their mouth.  That way, they can hold it and gnaw on it, suck on it, whatever and they’re getting (some) nutrients along the way.  But mostly, they’re experiencing new flavors and textures.

Be careful with the soft fruits.  One of his favorites, is strawberries.  It is so much fun giving him a gigantic strawberry and have him go at it.  But they are soft, and eventually baby breaks them down.  When he can put most of it in his mouth, I take it from him and cut it into really small pieces so he can finish it up.

Then there are the naturally small foods.  As long as baby can easily swallow it whole, there’s no reason you can’t toss a handful of it on their high chair and let them have some fun.  My favorites are black beans, frozen peas/corn/blueberries (great for a teething baby!  And make sure the blueberries are small enough, sometimes to be safe, I cut them in half or even fourths.)  My kiddos also love shredded cheese.  Although, we’re trying to minimize their dairy intake lately.  And we keep sugar completely away from the baby.

Again, check with your child’s doctor.  Be aware of any reactions to foods they may have.  Baby also needs to be able to sit up unassisted.

My favorite part about baby led weaning is it’s so easy!  They are literally eating what you are eating.  No extra prep.  Nothing from a jar.  Your little one gets to experience food in it’s original state, not as mush.

I’m not saying this is the way to feed your baby.  As I said earlier, I loved giving my daughter baby food.  But for me, it’s more convenient and frankly more fun, to give my son whole foods.

How do you like to feed your baby?  Baby food, baby led weaning-or do you do both?

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