Ok so here it is! My most asked post. I’m sorry it took me so long to get it out there but now that Emrie is almost a year old and we are passed a lot of this stage I feel more confident and experienced in being able to write about it.
I do want to say before starting I know as moms we can sometimes compare a lot. Try to remember that every baby, mama, and schedule is different than the next and you are doing amazing! As a first time mom, you don’t know what to expect or what the next steps are… so we go off of our pediatrician and the people around us with kids. Always do what you believe is best for you, your baby, and your family.
We were recommended to start introducing foods to Emrie at about 4 to 5 months of age since she was doing well with sitting up unassisted. At around 5 months, we started her off with home made purees. I had heard so many things about BLW and happened to stubble on Feedinglittles Instagram page where they talk and educate so much on it. (which if you aren’t following them I highly recommend you do!) After intense research and talking to her pediatrician at around 6 months we started BLW.
So, what exactly is Baby-led weaning?
Baby-led is a new trend in infant feeding where babies pass the purees stage fairly quickly and self-feed real food from the start.
It helps with the baby learning to feed him/herself in a safe way that honors their developmental stage, preferences, sensory experiences, and physiology. If you would like to also include purees while doing BLW, there are ways to integrate both approaches. This is what we did in the beginning. We spoon feed Emrie purees/mashed foods as well as offered whole food for her to feed herself.
Advantages of BLW:
Everyone eats together, being exposed to more textures and flavors. It also helps develop hand-eye coordination, dexterity and eating skills.
Disadvantages of BLW:
Parents tend to worry about choking and how messy it can be. The older generation (AKA your parents may think your insane and may have constant heart attacks when watching you feed your little. So you may get tons of un asked opinions.)
So, how do you get started?
I would recommend waiting until your baby
1. Is sitting up well unsupported
2. Is interested in food
3. You have done your research and feel ready and confident to start.
What foods did Emrie start eating first?
We started with avocado, mashed banana, and then weaned into some options Feedinglittles had provided. It quickly went from mashed banana to toasted bread strips with peanut butter, eggs, pasta, steamed veggies, stripped chicken.
I am not going to lie, it was SO scary. It took every ounce of me to not grab every large piece that she bit off out of her mouth. I also am CPR certified thanks to my job at the time so that gave me some relief. (so I do recommend looking into that if you are someone that worries a lot about choking but I also think that its just a good skill to have.)
Has Emrie choked?
No, thank god!! But did you know that gagging looks a lot like choking? It’s scary. It’s very scary. I know! But once you get passed the fact that they are going to gag (and in fact, gagging is a good thing, Since the gag reflex is in the front of a babies mouth (vs back like ours) it helps protect them from choking.) you feel a lot better about the entire process. Now that she is 10 months she does so well with feeding her self and barely ever gags now.
How often is she eating solids during the day?
To start, it is recommended that the baby has one meal a day, then progress to two then to three at the age of 9 months. We have been doing three meals a day now since Emrie is 10 months: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What’s an example of the meals you make?
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with avocado toast fruit and water.
(now) Lunch: Fruit, peanut butter toast, shredded cheese and water.
Dinner: Salmon with broccoli, rice, fruit and water.
What are the 8 allergen foods and why do they recommend introducing them to your baby early on?
Eggs, Cow’s milk (yogurt for example), Peanuts, Tree nuts, Wheat/Gluten, Soybeans, Shellfish, Non-shellfish. Introducing the 8 allergens early on may help prevent food allergies.
So far Emrie has had all and we haven’t had any problems.
What should you NOT do while practicing BLW?
From what I have read:
– Never offer choking hazards like whole nuts, raw apples, uncut grapes/cherries/cherry tomatoes, popcorn, thick globs of nut butter, marshmallows, uncut hotdogs or chips. These are considered choking hazards until age 4!
– Avoid honey and don’t salt baby’s food.
– Never put food directly into baby’s mouth, as this can be a choking hazard if you bypass the gag reflex.
– Avoid stressing out about food in front of your baby – they will pick up on it and will sense that mealtime is an unpleasant experience! Be encouraging and stay calm.
Why is it suggested for the baby to drink water with their meal?
Helps to prevent gas and digestive issues.
I also suggest that this is a good time to practice straw drinking or open cup drinking. We did this with Emrie at every meal time and by 7 months she had the hang of the straw sippy cup and open cup.
Did Emrie take less milk since eating solids?
No. Even now she still nurses frequently and as needed for her age.
I hope that answered most of your questions about BLW and provided you with a little bit more knowledge on it. I promise it is not as scary as it sounds. If you guys have anymore questions please feel free to reach out! I highly suggest you follow the Feedinglittles Instagram page for more information as well. They helped me tremendously when starting with Emrie.