What is Baby Led Weaning?
"Baby-led weaning (often also referred to as BLW) is a method of adding complementary foods to a baby's diet of formula or breastmilk. A method of food progression, BLW facilitates the development of age appropriate oral motor control while maintain eating as a positive, interactive experience. Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by "self-feeding" from the very beginning of their experiences with food."
Basically, it is the practice of starting solids with your baby that do not include purees and mush! Many doctors will tell you that you can start solids with baby between 4-6 months. The problem with starting that either is that baby's gut is not ready for real food yet and doesn't digest well. I know you are eager to start taking pictures of baby eating in the high chair, but just WAIT. You will have plenty of opportunity. It is best to wait until 6 months- later if baby shows no interest. Piper wasn't really interested in food until closer to 7 months- and by interest I mean watching you eat, reaching for food, squealing when you take a bite, etc. Wait for these cues.
|For breakfast: a cutie (for play), a piece of rosemary lemon loaf, and teething tablets! I offered her coffee, but she didn't want the caffeine before nap time. Understandable.|
Back to BLW...I actually started doing this with Piper before I knew it was a "thing". We tried a few jars of baby food with little success and lots of money wasted. She just didn't like it or want it. Then one night I gave her a piece of mashed up sweet potato when she wouldn't stop staring and whining at me. She about died of satisfaction! She ate quite a few pieces that night, gumming the bites with a toothless grin on her face. Yes, my daughter ate solid REAL food for 2 whole months before she even had 1 tooth!
|Yes, that is pizza crust. One of her favorites.|
When baby is under a year old, solid foods are basically just for taste and exploration. Don't worry about them getting enough solids, because their main source of nourishment should still be breastmilk (or formula). Most of the food ends up smeared, on their lap, or on the floor. It's OK! That's what this is about. Experiencing food.
It also makes you more aware of what you are eating, because most meals we also feed to her. It forced me to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diet, which is a very good thing. And to this day, she prefers sauted green bell peppers and onions to PB&J. Weird.
Every time you sit down to dinner, sit baby down to eat with you. Let them eat real food. It does cut into your own eating time, but doesn't baby food-feeding do that too? You may want to take the peels off some foods (apples, peppers, potatoes) because without molars, baby can't tear those apart.
|This is a BBQ rib. I checked the meat to make sure it wouldn't tear easily, and handed it to her to gnaw away!|
|Dinner is served!|
|Sometimes we eat chips at Grandma's house like this...|
|And sometimes we eat pasta like this...|