Around the time Leyton was 4-5 months, I started hearing about baby led weaning, baby purees, baby puffs, and all the different ways you can feed your baby. I wasn’t sure what to think at first, so I started researching, asking friends, and reading. One of the first people, I really talked to about baby led weaning was my friend, Jennifer from Life in the Green House. She wrote about BLW here if you want to check it out.
I started out with Leyton’s first food being rice cereal as the doctor recommended (which he hated) and a pureed piece of sweet potato with a little bit of breast milk. He didn’t seem super into it, but I figured at least he could check it out and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do baby led weaning yet or not.
After that, I spent some time catching up with Jennifer over dinner and heard about how much she loved doing baby led weaning. She talked about how there was no pureeing, no stresses about spoon feeding your baby and how her son loved it. She also mentioned how her first child who wasn’t trained using BLW doesn’t eat as well as her younger baby who she started BLW with. And finally, I loved the thought of not having to puree, just giving Leyton what we were having, and not having to tote baby food with us everywhere.
Jennifer introduced me to the official book on it, Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I have to admit I haven’t finished reading the book but I’m fascinated by it. Typically, it’s recommended you start baby-led weaning around 6 months or when baby can sit upright on their own and they seem interested in your food.
Basically with BLW, you offer your baby whatever you are having to eat (minus anything with added salt) and they feed themselves. We offer Leyton food that is about the size of a potato chip so hopefully he can’t choke on it and watch him like a hawk. We started out with avocado, soup (which we dipped a piece of whole wheat bread into and gave to him), hamburgers, celery, broccoli, asparagus, chicken, and a host of other things! The great thing is you don’t have to stress about how much or little they eat because they get all their nutritional needs and calories from breast milk or formula still. So, while your friends are making air plane noises and trying to force feed their children, you can let your baby decide when and if he wants to eat.
The question we get asked the most of is “Aren’t you afraid he’ll choke?” Any baby could technically choke on their food as your probably well know. If done correctly, baby led weaning babies are no more likely to choke than those who are spoon fed according to the book. Babies were created with a gag reflex that is closer to the front of their mouth than adults, so if they bite off a bit of food that is too large for their little mouths to handle, they gag to keep the food from moving too far back in their mouth. The gag reflex moves back further as the baby continues to grow. Isn’t that fascinating?!
As always, I totally believe you have to do what’s right for you and your family. We do BLW when we can…we try to do it each night when we sit down to eat dinner, but if he’s at the baby sitter’s or with my family, we might just skip it or tell them they can give him a bit of oatmeal or part of a baby squeeze pouch if they feel comfortable with it. It’s all about making the way your baby eats fit with your family’s needs.
When Casey Marie Photography took these photos of Leyton, she literally had to rush to grab her camera and start snapping photos because once he’s seated in his high chair, he immediately starts grabbing for the food! Broccoli, as you can see, is one of his favorites!
Have you tried BLW? I’d love to hear how it went for you!