Why I’m Waiting To Do Baby Led Weaning (BLW)

Baby led weaning (BLW) didn’t work for us when baby was ready for solids at 6 months. Learn how we found a compromise that worked for our entire family.

Why I’m Waiting To Do Baby Led Weaning (BLW) by Mama Natural Featured

Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a hot practice in the world of natural mamas right now.

It’s a method of gradually weaning your baby from a milk diet, whether breast milk or formula, to solid foods. It allows your baby to control his/her solid food intake by self-feeding from the very beginning of the weaning process.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

BLW school 1: Large chunks of food

From what I’ve researched, it looks like there are two schools of camp on how to implement BLW. One is give your child big chunks of food, preferably foods with a “handle” like bananas and broccoli, and letting your child gnaw off small bites. The theory is that babies don’t have the ability to send foods to the back of their throats until they are able to chew. And they are not able to chew until they can reach out and grab objects. Therefore, a baby can’t practice BLW until he/she can chew and swallow foods safely.

My experience: I tried giving Griffin a banana and he proceeded to gnaw off a large piece that was heading back to his throat. It freaked me out as it looked like a major choking hazard to me. That’s when my experiment with giving Griffin large chunks of food stopped. I just didn’t feel comfortable with taking any risks.

BLW school 2: Small pieces of soft food

The other BLW school of thought is to place very small, soft foods in front of baby for him/her to eat. According to this theory, it keeps the choking hazard is to a minimum while also empowering your child to feed him or herself.

My experience: At 6 months, Griffin doesn’t have the motor skills to grab very small pieces and put into his month consistently. This usually develops closer to 8 months.

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What’s a mama to do?

My dilemma is that Griffin was clearly interested in food, staring and grabbing for it when we ate. But, he was too young to feed himself in a way that I felt comfortable.

Practice the middle way

I decided to do the homemade food purees for the next few months as a bridge until he is able to feed himself small pieces of food. This way, he’s being introduced to new flavors and the practice of eating, granted, he only eats a few tablespoons a day, while remaining safe in his mama’s eyes.

There are some wonderful, unexpected side effects to this practice. My husband and mom are able to bond with Griffin in a new way through feeding him, something they’ve been deprived of up until now since Griffin is a breastfed baby.

How about you?

Did you do BLW from the start or did you do some purees? Please share your experience so we can all learn!

 

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

54 Comments

  1. I’m SO glad you wrote this. I was feeling bad because we started BLW and my son bit off too much cucumber and choked (silent, actual choking) and after I hit him on the back and got it up he ends up swallowing where it stuck in his esophagus and he threw it up. I’m terrified to let him try large pieces again but he can’t do small objects yet. Im glad it’s ok to do this “bridge” in the meantime.

  2. My baby is 7 months and the exact same thing happened with us today. She bit off a huge chunk of banana and then coughed and had her face go pink and her eyes were watering; I was calm as I know in BLW choking is rare but my mom was the one feeding her and she had a panic attack.
    It was scary for her and she said she will never do this again.
    My baby refuses to accept a spoon and rarely accepts food from my hand, she prefers to feed herself.
    Now I am so confused as to what to do, I don’t want to risk chocking every again, its not pleasant at the same time she needs to consume solids..

  3. With my first born (now 3) we did no purees, just blw. She did amazing. Her gag reflex was just right. She only gave me probably 3 scares through the entire journey.

    Now we have a 7 month old and as far as we can tell she has NO gag reflex. At first we were so impressed with how well she was handling food, really she was never gagging and she chewed and swallowed. Then suddenly this week she started biting off huge bites, or packing several bites in bed mouth… And then choking. We’re talking tear streaming, no noise, red faced choking. I am well aware that choking is silent, but the complete absence of a gag reflex is, I think, hindering the self regulation to bite size that she requires. Today I have thrown in the towel. My heart can’t take the stress. She loves to self feed purees on a spoon so that’s the route we’re going. I will let her control the amount she consumes, but for now it’s just mushy stuff.

    Thought I’d add – she has a good pincher grasp already, she is very good at feeding herself so I’m a tiny bit sad but after one major get-the-keys we’re headed to the emergency room scare this week I don’t care if she ever eats spinach in her life. I will be happy to have a chicken nuggets eating, living toddler.

  4. I completely agree with this and am doing exactly the same. There is no way my daughter has the ability to get the food she wants into her mouth without purees. She also would shove large chunks in and them scare herself and mommy. Babies don’t have the control yet this young, and I’m not waiting for food until older, when she clearly does well with purees now and enjoys them. There are other ways to give baby control. Read their cues for when they want more or have had enough. Let them open their mouths for food, and don’t force it if they don’t want it. They will gradually and with time learn to feed themselves safely without the concerns with BLW.

  5. Thankkkkkk youuuuu – your banana experience was EXACTLY what happened to us!! Scared me to death!!!

  6. I just wanted to say thank you for this post! I have been experiencing a lot of stress since my baby turned 6 months a couple of weeks ago and didn’t immediately take to BLW like I imagined he would. We are experiencing a lot of what you described. I’m terrified of him choking but he lacks the motor skills to pick up tiny pieces of food and shows almost no interest in food placed on his tray. He’s also still slumping and leaning to one side. I have felt very torn between BLW and purées, and reading your article has helped me give myself permission to move forward with purées for a while. THANK YOU!

  7. I just wanted to chime in on Baby Led Weaning (Rapley Weaning), since I just finished the book by Gill Rapley. What you are describing is traditional weaning – starting with purees and, at 8 months, introducing finger foods. Baby Led Weaning would either wait until 8 months altogether, if that’s what you were comfortable with, or would start at six months with foods with a handle. The concept is in place, because we are teaching our children to chew before swallowing, rather than teaching them to swallow before chewing (as in traditional weaning). Both are wonderful ways of starting solids, but there is definitely a difference. True BLW (as described in the book, Baby Led Weaning) skips all purees and waits until baby has pincer grasp and better ability to self feed. 🙂

    • I wanted to add also, that we chose traditional weaning after reading the book. We are doing it the way you are, with healthy, homemade purees, and then stepping him up to small finger foods. We also felt this was the safest and sort of a “middle way” between all out BLW and buying rice cereal and gerber carrots. We’re happy with our choice!

  8. This hybrid plan of yours is what I plan to start doing as well once my little is 6 months old. Chunks of food at this age make me so nervous… Glad to see I’m not alone!

  9. My 8 month old just choked (not gagged) on a piece of steamed pear. There was no gag reflex and her eyes bugged out and I knew at that moment she needed help. I picked her up and turned her over and smacked her back, HARD, about 3-4 times until the piece came out. I’m still shaken up at the thought that I almost killed my own child. I’m done with BLW. I don’t think there has been enough research into whether it is actually better than purées. I was feed purées 40 years ago and I’m definitely not a picky eater. I think it’s just one of those fad things like formula feeding was long time ago. I’d rather have an alive fussy eater than a dead baby.

      • This is an excellent resource – thank you for sharing! I just wanted to point out that in Section 7: Conclusion, one of the remaining unanswered questions posed by the author is:

        (6) Are iron deficiency, choking and growth faltering real concerns for those following a Baby-Led approach?

        Yes, there is research, but it seems there still needs to be more about the choking hazards, which was the main point brought up by the author above. I’m not saying that BLW is not worth trying (I’m trying it right now with my own 6mo!), but choking is a viable concern and is why all babies should be closely monitored while eating BLW style.

      • While I’m all for BLW, the article you posted is not research it’s just a formal review of known data. Within the body of the test it says, “Despite considerable interest in BLW from parents and health workers worldwide, very little research has examined this style of infant feeding.” So, the OP is correct

    • http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2016-0772
      They just came out with a study showing that BLW is no more dangerous than ‘traditional’ weaning (which isn’t actually traditional at all & is actually a construct of the FOOD INDUSTRY in the 1920s).
      Think about it–what did people do before blenders??? Gasp–they fed their baby table foods

      • Yes, they fed table foods which they pre mashed or even pre chewed (as still happens in many countries) to ensure no choking risk.

      • Well, thousands of years ago they generally started with porridge (rice meal) which can be cooked to a runny consistency. My husband is African, my bub eats this all the time. Babies ate the basics foods the family did (potatoes, porridge, rice, peas etc) just mashed up very well.

    • My daughter just choked on a steamed pear piece tonight. Scared her more than me, but frightening nonetheless. She is 9 months old and loves puréed food and likes gnawing real food. I think now that she has the pincer grasp I’ll cut her food smaller so she can eat it more safely.

  10. we EBFed for a year then started BL solids but still most butrition comes from mamas milk. My twins are 13 1/2 months. I like to give small bites out in front of them and they eat what they want. I have actually tried to feed them applesauce just to see what they would do and they are not interested in being fed which toe wand I did my job. I’m raising independent eaters that listen to their bodies. Planning to continue allowing them to navigate their works of solids and nurse as long as they want to but I’m hoping to at least make it two years

  11. My daughter will be 11 months old on Saturday. She seems to have very little interest in solids. She goes through spurts where she’ll down 4 small jars in a day, but then refuses to eat any solids for days….sometimes weeks. But mostly vegetables. I made the mistake of feeding her fruits first. What can I do to get her on savory foods? I want to switch her to cows milk, but in my mind I feel she’s not eating enoigh solids or table food to do that. Any advice?

  12. When my son turned 6 months I did the purees for 2 months then I switched to small soft chunks that he could pick up himself and put in his mouth and chew with his gums. There are still certain things I will spoon feed him like oatmeal and yogurt cause that is just messy and he doesn’t care to much about putting a spoon in his mouth unless its to chew on it for fun. He will and does eat pretty much everything I eat which I love cause it make cooking so much easier. And I still help him from time to time put the chunks in his mouth because sometimes he gets distracted and forgets.

  13. We swear by BLW! We started around 6.5m and never turned back. LO didn’t get ALL foods automatically; we started with softer textures like avocado, steamed sweet potato, etc, and then “moved up” from there. We’re NJers who love to trek to NYC to check out the foodie scenes, and when we do our 13m old is right beside us, trying one of Chang’s new creations or bragging to his friends on the schoolyard about the wonders of a cronut! 🙂

  14. I did purees that I made with my 1st but it was a pain to do all that work and then make meals for my husband and I. When my second got to be able 6-7 months I wasn’t sure what we would do but I let her try a little of both. She refused to open her mouth for pureed pees…but if I put them on her tray she ate them happily. So she was the one who picked and it has worked great. I have never made or stored any baby food and she has loved eating whatever we do. She never choked or even gagged.

  15. We love baby led weaning! I have two children (3 1/2 and 1 1/2) and have done baby led weaning with both of them. I’ve never once bought baby food nor have I ever puréed homemade baby food. Kids eat what we eat and as they get older I’ve been told numerous times how well my children eat and how early they’re eating real foods and using silverware compared to other children. You should definitely try baby led weaning again with Paloma! Make sure you read the book though -that’s very important! It’s also important to know that most kids won’t eat solid foods until about 9-10 months old with baby led weaning and that’s ok! It’s important to let baby decide! And it’s also good to know the gag reflex is a natural bodily instinct. Babies have a more sensitive gag reflex for the purpose of preventing choking. It can be scary but it’s normal. To the moms who are scared to try BLW I definitely recommend it! It may not be for everyone but it definitely worked for me. After breastfeeding it’s my favorite way to feed!!

    • I’m actually doing more BLW with Paloma because she doesn’t have as sensitive of a gag reflux. I give her soft fruits, steamed green beans, that sort of thing. I do give her some spoon foods like yogurt. Working well for us 🙂

    • Can you please share which book you recommend?
      Thank you for your comment, it is helpful.

  16. I so love this! I am a totally newbie to the natural way of life and a first time mom! My son did exactly like Griffin, took a big bite and scared me to death! My son also wasn’t quite able to pick up small pieces of food yet but was so interested in everything we ate. I also started with purees and very soft pieces of bananas and avocados that I would feed him. It didn’t take long for him to be able to pick up the pieces himself! He now gets to eat so many different foods and loves feeding himself. I really thought I missed the whole BLW boat when I decided to give some purees, but this video just reassured me that I do know my baby best and what is right for our family! Thank you Mama Natural for being such an inspiration!

  17. My wee one was grasping at small objects around 8 months, so I let her have some big pieces of food for playing and gnawing. She got into the rhythm of joining us for dinner and participating in the family meals, but she really didn’t start eating until somewhere between 12-14 months. We went the BLW route and gave her big pieces of banana and avocado, and added things from there. I did find that she will eat a lot more food if it’s all cut up into little bitty pieces, so at some point I switched from the big bites. I have given her organic squeeze packet purees along with the cut up whole foods, for a little added convenience and variety. Plus, she feeds herself those too!

    BLW has worked fine, but I definitely think there’s lots of ways to go about feeding your little one, so long as that isn’t force feeding! One thing that has been tricky with BLW is that it has been very hard to get supplements into her because she won’t eat anything unless it’s her idea! =) Maybe do a video on tricky ways to sneak supplement’s in a tot’s food sometime, Genevieve? 😉

    • Smoothies!!!! I break open capsules and put in smoothies or something that they drink all the time 🙂

  18. I did baby led weaning with my older son. He went right to biting off chunks and gagged A LOT! I did continue with it and he just seems to be a kid that eats big pieces. Now I’m starting my daughter(7months) and its different. She has been really good at it from the beginning and very little gagging. Its easy this time!

  19. My approach to BLW was small bits, and if baby couldn’t gum & swallow comfortably, he wasn’t ready for the food. He refused purees flat-out. I think he was confused– like they were thick, lumpy milk or something and he’d just let them sort of drip back out of his mouth. LOL. Anyway, I also was in no hurry to introduce solids, and introducing them later makes a big difference. He only really played with food and tasted it here and there until 9 or 10 months, when his pincer grasp was well developed, he had 7 nice teeth for biting, and tons of interest in joining us in our meals. I was confident that he was getting all the nutrition he needed from breastmilk until 1 year. Even now at 13 months there are very few things I’ll give him large chunks of and I watch very carefully to make sure he is handling them well. Babies gagging excessively, especially to the point of vomiting, just does not seem like a normal part of the eating process. 😛

    • I hear ya, mama! Griff didn’t start eating till he was 13 months old.

  20. My first baby was exclusively breastfed for 8 months (she was 10 weeks premature). Then I introduced avocado purred with breast milk, then purred butternut squash, mashed banana etc. Wile continuing to nurse her until she was no longer interested (around 18mo). I used the Super Baby Food Book by Ruth Yaron. It has recommendations for what foods to introduce at which month along with tons of recipes. I got my copy at Better World Books for $6.

    Now at age two she eats nearly everything (doesn’t like cooked carrot or hamburger) and will taste anything. My husband and I love that we have a healthy toddler who is not a picky eater and plan to follow the same course with baby number two!

  21. Our son is 8,5 and we have been BLWing since he was ready to grab food and sit independently. In our case it happened a little bit before he turned 6 months, but we waited for his half-year birthday. Yes, we were nervous. We did our homework on understanding the difference between choking (never happened) and gagging (had few times in the beginning). But he demonstrated that he can manage food quite well. He did lose some interest two weeks after and we made a pause. During those two weeks he tried: avocado, steamed apples, steamed broccoli, banana. He did not like carrots and yams… I noticed he is very suspicious of orange color. During last month he enjoys boiled potatoes, bread with coconut oil, yogurt, pears, meat balls.. Yet, he still does not like carrots and recently he denied baked butternut squash. Does anybody know why he dislikes orange color for veggies? He does like orange though!
    We do not have two or three full meals yet. And I do not worry about that. I nurse him 1-1,5 prior to solids and offer him breast after meal. There were few times when he was actually full and did not want to nurse.

    • I wouldn’t worry about the orange. Babies are incredibly intuitive about what their bodies need. He’ll come around to it when it’s time for him 🙂

  22. I’m with you! Similar to what happened with you and your munchkin, I tried the BLW with the large chunks too (a pear, cut into 6ths) with my 9-month-old… she gnawed happily for a while, then when she took the pear slice out of her mouth, I saw a big chunk was gone.. and she was rolling her jaws around strangely… so I did the time-tested finger swipe and came up with about a 1″ piece of pear… Yikes! Too scary for me as well… so I took those pear slices away, pureed them, she loved them! She loves the purees that I make for her, so we’re doing a combo approach… puffs & shredded cheese for her to practice feeding herself with, purees for me to spoon-feed her.
    Some nice mamas on the Babycenter website suggested starting BLW with softer finger foods.. So last night I roasted some carrots and parsnips with fresh thyme & a bit of olive oil… pureed most of that, but kept some in the fridge to cut up small for her to feed herself… Since they’re soft, she had no problems, and I don’t have to worry about her possibly choking. I’ll continue giving her the small, soft pieces of finger foods for now, will make them a bit larger later…
    There are some good puree recipies here: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/
    and I got those Mumi&Bubi BPA & phthalate free freezer trays… they’re great!
    Enjoy your adventures in the food world with your super cute son!
    🙂 Kris

    • Thanks for sharing Kris. I would have done exactly what you are doing with the soft finger foods but Griff wasn’t good at self feeding with little pieces till around a year. Now, at 17 months, he’s eating like a champ! It’s fun to watch him discover all of these new foods. XOXO.

      • Sure thing!
        And thanks for your funny & informative website; I just found you last week (thanks to that HILARIOUS ‘Sh*t Crunchy Mamas Say’ video another mama posted on BabyCenter) and am still looking around… What fun! 🙂

  23. my kiddos are pretty old by now (11 and 16) and I did the puree thing with them long ago when they first started eating solids along with breastfeeding (which they both did for 2 years +). Like your guy, my kids were extremely interested in FOOD at 5-6 months. Birds in the wild do this sort of thing: ie. mother owls and mother/father eagles strip pieces of prey for the young ones until they become older and are able to swallow rodents whole for themselves. I’m assuming perhaps other mammals offer up tidbits like this as well until the young one can handle the real mccoy. Anyhow, kinda a gruesome comparison from owlet eating mouse bits shredded by mom to a baby eating sweet potato pureed by mom, but we can learn and make comparisons from observing all kinds of mothers 🙂 I enjoy what you’re doing here!

  24. I read the BLW book and decided to do a modified approach. I really wanted to start with solids but also provide iron fortified cereal so I gave both. I spoon feed her the rice cereal (puree consistency) and then I was giving her solids (one food at at time since she has a dairy/soy allergy). Initially she wasn’t able to move the food around in her mouth and most of it fell out. Because I wanted her to at least try the food, I would put little chunks on my fingertips and she would grab my finger and eat off of it. In 2 months, she has come so far and is getting very proficient at picking up her foods and transferring it into her mouth. It’s really exciting to see!! And she will no longer take food from my finger because she wants to do it by herself at her own pace. She still loves her cereals as well and lets me feed that to her.

    I have also been and continue to be nervous about choking so I really think through each food before I give it to her. I try to think of the safest way to offer it and also allow her to handle it. In general, many veggies are best given in the shape of a french fry (turnip, parsnip, carrot, potato, sweet potato etc), the broccoli I gave as a tree; all fruits have been different (blueberries and blackberries were cut in 4 (2 lengthwise cuts); bananas naturally fall into 3 pieces if you squeeze it, and pears as french fry shape….still have a lot more fruit to try); so far I have given ground beef and ground turkey by frying it in a small amount of oil and giving her small, flat pieces of ground meat….she loves it!!!! I watch her very carefully. She definitely gags if the food is too large, but I watch her “patiently” and she clears it by swallowing it or letting it fall out of her mouth.

    The concept was very interesting to me especially given that in my professional life, I always recommend that families start with purees. I really wanted to try it so that I had a better understanding of the process. It’s not for everyone and probably not for every baby but so far, our modified approach has been very successful 🙂

    Good luck!!

    • Megan, loved your share. That’s what it is about… EXPERIMENTATION! Since liquid milk (breast or formula) is their primary source of nutrition until they are 1 year old, we can have fun and play. Each baby and mama is so different. And it is always changing. I do both with Griffin as well and it works for us.

  25. This is really interesting – I actually had not heard of BLW until recently, with my fourth son, he seemed to be doing it on his own. I, being the prepared mom, “knew” what to do and at about 6 months made lots of batches of purees and froze them so I would have them on hand. Well, my little guy flat out refused. I don’t know if it had something to do with being the fourth son and seeing how his older brothers ate, but he refused to be fed purees from a spoon. He would only eat finger foods and very, very little until almost a year – he preferred breast milk. I was kind of worried if he was getting enough nutrition – which is when I searched and read a little about BLW. He’s now 1 1/2 and very healthy, he eats everything, but still insists on feeding himself. And all those purees I made? I finally threw them out last week! I think Griffin is going to do great – he’s adorable by the way!

    • LOL! I bet it was the peer pressure with your son wanting to feed himself. Also, some babies are much more independent. Sounds like his transition to solids went beautifully and he’s thriving.

  26. BLW scared me a bit at first. We let him suck on a banana at close to 6 months, and now at restaurants we let Grant (now 8 1/2 months) grab things from our plate. He grabbed a large french fry last night, and sucked on it quite a bit. He rolled it around in his mouth for a long time and when I finally reached in to grab it, it was a hard piece of potato not fully cooked. We’re glad I pulled it out of his mouth, but this was after much debate b/w my husband and I–he’s more comfortable watching baby get a feel for big chunks in his mouth even if it means coughing and some gagging while I’m more panicky about it. We do BLW at home and make purees to send to daycare.

    • Hi Amanda, that sounds like a good mix. I do still experiment with giving Griffin bigger chunks of food for him to suck on and play with but that’s about as far as it goes. He definitely is digging the purees. Any good recipes you’re using? I always like to hear how other mamas get their boys to eat veggies ;).

  27. Hey there,

    This happen to my husband and I when we were introducing solid food to our little Ethan. Many people recommended the Baby Led Weaning way and so we read the book and were sold – it sounded like it would really be a nice way of experiencing food and dinner time AND we thought that it would make dinner less stressful. After the first week we became nervous wrecks before each meal because Ethan was gagging on everything. Apparently that is all part of BLW and it’s good that they do that, but we just couldn’t handle it. We started a bit later – around 7 months before we introduced anything, so he had no trouble getting food to his mouth, but we weren’t comfortable with the constant gagging. The next day we pureed/froze his baby food and happily introduced his food that way. He loved it and we loved it and we transitioned into finger food a few months later and this is another fun stage. We’re expecting our second baby and we plan on doing the same thing – purees and then finger food.

    The thing we’ve noticed though, is a lack of understanding of some BLW mama’s – it seems like it’s viewed as the more natural way to go… but to be honest, it seems more natural to transition from breast milk to purees and then to squishy finger food and then to solids, rather than breast milk to solids. It also felt much safer, to us. Though I still do understand why some use BLW.

    Sorry for the long post – it’s just nice to see another feel the same way.

    Melissa

    • Hi Melissa,

      Good to hear your experience! And glad to hear that Ethan liked the finger food approach. Can’t wait till Griffin gets there.

      I also think you make a good point in terms of transition… going from liquid, to purees, to soft finger foods to solids makes sense to me too.

      Congrats on baby number 2! When are you due? Do you know what you’re having?

  28. I did BLW with my second baby after a little research and hoping to avoid the picky eating habits of our first baby. I gave her large chunks of soft foods and tried to trust that her reflexes were in order and that she wouldn’t choke. Her first food was a steamed broccoli floret! I was very nervous about it, especially since it went against everything I learned about feeding babies when I had my first, but as the weeks went by with no choking I became more confident. She’s 14 months tomorrow and she’s never choked, even when she’s bitten off large chunks. If she bites off too big of a piece, she just spits it out. Now she eats everything we do and loves all sorts of tastes and textures. Between breast milk and the giant variety of foods she eats, she couldn’t possibly have a better start. Best of luck with Griffin’s adventures with food!

    • Thanks Crystal for sharing your honest experience! Now I want to experiment more :).

  29. Hi wonderful mama natural….I´m a brazilian mama natural too, it´s hard to do everything that I am learning with you but I´m definately tryng…thanks!! God bless you ..Griff is such a cutie

    • Aw, thank you Vania. I’ve always wanted to visit Brazil! We will get there one day ;). The most important thing is that mom and baby stay happy and sane so do whatever works for you and let go of the rest. No need to pressure ourselves to be “perfect.” Instead, we do the best we can and learn along the way. How old is your little one?

  30. Sharing some more comments from my Facebook page.

    Natalie Martinez Rush
    You didn’t quite explain baby lead weaning or solids the way I had learned about it. This blog shows a baby going through the process. http://baby-led-solids.blogspot.com/ After I read this blog it made a lot more sense to me. We plan to try this when our little one is ready. But we aren’t going to start with the big or small pieces but french fry shape pieces. Also a big thing about BLS is that you can’t really do the puree spoon feeding and BLS at the same time. Doing purees you teach them to sort of slurp their food back…and you don’t want that with the solids. You want them to learn to mash their food and move it back. They don’t get much at the start but then as they learn they do.

    Kimber Leanne Peoples Bresson
    I will be making all of my son’s food when he starts food. I agree I like the BLW idea but I won’t be starting that until he is able to feed himself the small pieces that he won’t choke on. I want to start with mashed bananas and small chunks of avocado. I’m interested to see what other moms have to say!

    Jennifer Centola
    The point of BLW is that the child takes the lead, and that they are not “force” fed. My advice for any mamas that are going to start it, is just to start by offering food and then don’t worry about it. Always watch t hem and try to coach them on how to chew, and make sure they don’t get too much in their mouth, but really, BLW is stress free. They will eat what they want, when they want, at their OWN pace. Your child will probably take quite a while to actually start eating. Initially, they will explore the foods texture and taste, but will consume very little. Whether or not you start with BLW or puree food and then introduce solids later, your babies will still have to learn how to eat solids. It does not come naturally; we all had to learn to move food around inn our mouths, chew, and swallow. With my baby, we started at 6 months, she really didn’t eat anything until for 2 or 3 months, and then by a year she was proficient with a spoon, a fork, and a regular glass. Her motor skills were definitely ahead of her peers, she never refused any food based on texture, and she has eaten a larger variety of foods than most. It has meant that I have breastfed more, and for longer.

    Kathy Ortiz
    I let my son choose what he wants to eat and does not want, but I didn’t and don’t have a problem with helping him get the food he is interested in into his mouth. I made purees for him and spoon fed him when we introduced solids. He is two, now – almost two and a half! -and can use a spoon and fork as well as his hands. He eats and loves everything! Brussel sprouts, asparagus, cabbage… you name it, he will eat it. He tells me when he is done and I do not make him eat more than he wants do, nor do we question him when he says he is done. I also let him choose what he would like more of. he often does not finish the meat or grains and requests more vegetables or fruit.
    He is also still breastfeeding, and will wean when he wants to. by his own doing, we are down to nursing 2-3 times per day. He nurses more when he is sick, and less when we are busy. I have no problem with him weaning when he is ready. I enjoy this time with him, while also looking forward to this being a fond memory!

  31. I’m with you on doing what is best for the age and the abilities of the particular child. I tried baby-led weaning with breastfeeding just letting my girl nurse whenever she wanted. The idea was to let her wean herself, but I ended up having another baby before she wanted to be done. Still, I loved that fact that I didn’t have to just force her off in one day and I feel she was more ready for weaning that way. I nursed her till age two and a half which is crazy according to some people, but we had a very special bond because of it. She was much easier to handle and discipline during that time. I would do it all over again and probably will with this baby I have now.

    • Hi Sara, sounds like you had a beautiful nursing relationship with your daughter! In the mainstream baby world, I often hear to wean babies from breastfeeding at one year old but I love the idea of letting the baby decide when he/she is ready. Curious how it will unfold with little Griffin…


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