One of the most frequent questions I get when my family and I are out to eat or out and about is, “how are your children such great eaters?” and without hesitation I usually exclaim, “I used Baby-Led Weaning with both of them!”. Usually to only be met at that point by blank stares and the usual, “Baby-Led-What?”
If you follow me on instagram (which you should :)) I try my best to snap a pic of baby J’s meals for your viewing pleasure to give everyone a very clear view of what our baby-led weaning journey entails….
But, Before I go any further, “What IS Baby-Led Weaning?” you ask?
Baby-Led weaning, by technical definition is a method of adding complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breastmilk or formula. A method of food progression, BLW facilitates the development of age appropriate oral motor control while maintaining eating as a positive, interactive experience -via wikipedia lol! For us, that looked like offering manageable foods beginning at 6 months that our babies could confidently self-feed, and increasing add more food varieties. Simply put, following baby-led weaning, we offered our kiddos food items that we also enjoyed (and a few we didn’t) in manageable cut up pieces that they could feed themselves, Following this method not only made prep time easier (because we never had to cook or prepare anything different for them) but it also saved us a ton of money!
If thins is something you’re considering, here are a few super simple tips to help you dive right in!
START AT OR AFTER 6 MONTHS OF AGE (OR ADJUSTED)
Around the 6 month mark, lots of babies are able to sit upright, unassisted and they have developed the “pincer grasp” (pinching grip between the thumb and pointer finger) to pick up items. both of these developmental milestones are super important indicators because of obvious choking risks, and baby’s need to self-feed through this process.
TRY A HIGHCHAIR THAT IS LEVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY EATING TABLE
including our little ones during mealtime was something that we did not take lightly and has been really helpful in developing all of the skills that they learn at the dinner table. Luckily, high chair manufacturers seem to be agreeing with the importance of including babies during family meals and creating highchairs that can be adjusted to the height of your family table, Currently, we have the same chair for both of our kids (yes, Ava still uses hers at 4) because it easily fits at our kitchen table, is adjustable through adulthood and almost all of the accessories are modular!
INTRODUCE ONE OR TWO FOODS AT A TIME
Most pediatricians recommend gradually introducing foods and being on the lookout or allergies. I am not a doctor so I definitely followed that recommendation. Not only to be on the lookout for allergies, but I was also very mindful of the fact that in addition to different flavors, i’m also introducing very different textures. I wanted to make sure that my little ones were happy and confident eaters, and introducing too much at once, could overwhelm them and regrettably backfire. So we took our time and I literally followed their lead. If there was something that I was eating that they seemed interested in and there was no allergy risk, I’d let them try it!
KEEP SIMPLE MINUTE MEAL STAPLES AT ALL TIMES
let’s face it! kids are hungry little beings… and seemingly hungry all the time! So even if we aren’t eating, I make sure to keep a few different items on hand so that i can always prepare an easy Baby-Led Weaning friendly meal for them in one minute or less!
Some of my favorite BLW Staples include: canned no salt added green beans, mini rice cakes, frozen waffles, homemade or frozen turkey meatballs, pre cooked pastas, frozen veggie medleys, berries, bananas, rotisserie chicken or chicken nuggets and dried fruit! Having these things on hand at all times, I can always ensure that even when I only have time to grab and go, that I’m grabbing simple yet nutritious options for them!
Let me know your thoughts by leaving some love in the comments!
Wean all the Babies!!