Hello, everyone! Today, I thought I’d talk about why I chose to go the Baby Led Weaning route when giving Chicken her first solid foods. Let me just preface this with that there is nothing wrong with spoon feeding your baby pureed food. It just didn’t appeal to me that’s all, but it is not my intention to offend anyone’s parenting choice. Every has to do what works for them. If it works for you and your baby then it is the right choice.
Here goes. When I first thought about feeding Chicken solids, I was really turned off by spoon feeding her pureed mush. It had been my experience with my niece and nephews that spoon feeding was a constant battle of wills that goes something like this…
Adult: “Please let me put this food in your mouth!”
Baby: “No I will put the food in my own mouth and hold the spoon and wave it around the room while slinging food everywhere, and you’ll like it!”
Adult: “Maybe we can both hold a spoon?”
Baby: “Nope! I still want yours!”
On top of this battle of over who gets to hold the spoon, I have found that my niece and nephews never really enjoyed meal time as babies and have grown up to be fairly picky eaters. With that in mind, I began to wonder if I even had to puree Chicken’s food. I mean, they didn’t have food processors a hundred years ago. At some point, babies first food had to have been real foods and obviously, they survived without all choking to death, right?
Again, I took to Google! This is when I first read about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) which by the way is a stupid name, but I digress. It immediately sounded like what I was looking for, so I bought the book and started researching the topic fully.
After I’ve researched something into the ground, I like to bounce the ideas off my husband, mom, sister, and just about anyone who will listen. (Sorry, coworkers.) I told Andrew about BLW and like usual he responds with, “that sounds great if that’s what you want to do then do it.” In reality, I’m sure he’s thinking, “Dear God, here we go again.” I also told my mom about my idea and she said, “sounds like the third child method, nobody has time to spoon feed kid number three.” Thanks, mom. Love you too. Since nobody said I was crazy and some even thought it was pretty ingenious (my choice of phrasing, obviously), I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad we did! Chicken is an excellent eater. She hasn’t found a food she doesn’t like, and I owe it all to the BLW method.
If BLW is something you’d like to try, I highly recommend it. But if you’re still in the research stage here are 10 things that I have learned over the last 3 months of our BLW journey.
- They won’t get it on their first go. They won’t get it on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and or even 5th go, really. BLW takes time. In the beginning, it is about fun for them. They are exploring a whole new world of tastes, textures, and smells, and it can be a little overwhelming, so start out slow and don’t worry about your baby getting enough to eat that’s what breastmilk and formula are for. Here is a video of Chicken’s first meal.
2. They really can eat whatever you eat. You just need to watch excess salt and sweets. (We have been table salting our food since we started, instead of salting while I cook.) Oh, and no honey! That’s a no for all baby’s actually.
3. Read the BLW book. You don’t have to do this, but I found it cleared up a lot of questions. They also have a section that shows you how to cut up different foods which are a bit different than what you would normally do for a baby eating solid foods.
4. Join a BLW support group. There are lots of social media groups that offer support and helpful hints. I am a member of the Facebook group “Baby Led Weaning for Beginners”, and it has been great for quick advice like “how do I serve strawberries?”
5. Watch a million safe gagging videos on YouTube. Have your family watch them too! This really helped bring us all peace of mind and learned not to panic when she inevitably gagged a little in the beginning.
6. It’s messy! Less so, if you have two large dogs. Enid and Pep make great vacuum cleaners.
7. People in restaurants will either think it’s adorable, or they’ll look at you like your crazy. Always remember do what is right for you and your baby and don’t worry about anyone else.
8. Eat with your baby. By allowing your baby to feed themselves, you’ve freed up some time to eat without someone touching you, YAY! They also learn from watching you. Monkey see; monkey do!
9. Spinach and other leafy greens are the most gag-inducing. Chicken has a really hard time breaking these veggies down, and they often get caught in the back of her throat causing her to gag. I plan to reintroduce these when she has more teeth.
10. It’s way easy! She eats whatever I eat; she can eat anywhere; I never have to pack extra food for her; she already loves some great whole foods like, peaches, chicken curry, eggplant, corn-on-the-cobb, hummus, cucumbers, and so much more. Seriously, there is nothing she won’t eat.
Have you tried BLW? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you, even if it is something you’re just curious about.