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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
I’m going to have a post next week that will further detail Aiden’s adventure into starting solids!
Did you do baby led weaning?
How old was your baby when you started feeding them?
What was your baby’s first food?