How Baby Led Weaning starts

While chatting with a friend about weaning, it occurred to both of us that we can’t remember much about our what our first children did when. It seems a bit ridiculous that I’ve forgotten all about it. After all, I did blog about it (Oh my, I can’t believe how much like Ophelia Talitha looks in that post! I’m actually trying not to tear up, knowing that my little baby will be a “big girl” in no time at all).

Even so, I wish I’d kept a closer record. I’ve had a few emails in the past couple of months asking about baby led weaning and though I can offer solid information (like the pun?) from reading and breastfeeding support training, I’m amazed at how little I remember from personal experience.

In an effort to answer some of the questions I’ve been asked and to keep better track this time, I’m going to try to blog a bit more about it this time around.

baby-led-weaning

Baby led weaning involves offering family foods for babies to feed themselves from the start instead of spoon feeding them pureed “baby food”. It’s amazing what happens when we wait for babies to grab food and shove it in their own mouths. Yes, it may be messy, but they can do it, they love it and it can be a lot of fun for us too.

As with Talitha, I waited until Ophelia was six months before introducing solids (she’s seven months old today!). I wanted to be sure she was physically ready to get started. She was sitting up unsupported, was developing her pincer grasp, was no longer pushing everything out of her mouth with her tongue and was breastfeeding a lot. I’d also started to have a tough time keeping her away from food. I reckon she’d have got the process started if I hadn’t.

That’s been an interesting difference to observe between Ophelia and Talitha. Talitha loved experimenting with food but didn’t seem to consume that much of it until into her second year. Ophelia, on the other hand, actually eats quite a lot. In fact, I need to keep reminding myself to breastfeed her before offering solids. Milk is their main source of nutrition for the first year.

baby-led-weaning-2

What does she eat? Anything I do, as long as it doesn’t contain added salt or sugar and isn’t a choking hazard (like nuts). We limit bread because of the salt. I’m avoiding giving her dairy products because I suspected she was sensitive to it in my milk as a newborn but can’t be sure.

She’s eaten chicken, rice, potatoes, beans, lentils, all manner of fruit and veg – to name a few bits. Sometimes I take the skin off things and other times I leave it on and she just manipulates it out of her mouth after a good munch.

She’s gagged at times and thrown up a couple of times. That’s a normal part of the process as they learn to manage food. I remember it freaking me out with Talitha. I just kept a watchful but significantly calmer eye this time.

The mess has bothered me more this time than it did the last but I’m trying to just let her get on with it, remembering how quickly Talitha became skilled with a spoon. I’m really enjoying recording this process a second time.

For more information:

My other BLW posts
When should my baby start solids, La Leche League International
Gill Rapley’s book, Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food*
The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook: Over 130 delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy*
Rapley’s BLW guidelines

*These are affiliate links which means I get a few pence if you buy these books. I own these books and find them helpful so it’s a genuine recommendation.


14 Comments

  1. September 22, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    I did try it more this time than with Cherry but it was the mess that I couldn’t take, and the waste! When things like avocados and other expensive foods were getting thrown on the floor I ended up getting stressed and giving up. I do wonder if my two would be better eaters had I done it properly though x
    Jess @ Along Came Cherry recently posted..Bissell Vac N Steam Review

    • September 22, 2014 / 9:55 pm

      As you know, Talitha is very selective in what she’ll eat and she was baby led weaned! So, I figure a lot of that comes down to personality. For me a huge reason for doing it this way is making sure that food doesn’t replace milk intake and that they are absolutely ready for what they’re eating. It makes sense for me since I aim to breastfeed my babies for quite a long time! 🙂

  2. Mo Ade
    September 22, 2014 / 10:14 pm

    Thanks for the post; we’re on this road at the moment and i’m still trying to find my feet; it’s helpful to read how other mums are getting on with it.

    • September 23, 2014 / 12:11 am

      So glad you find it helpful. I’ve done a lot of googling in the past when I was trying to figure out how it all works.

  3. September 23, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    We’ve just started our second BLW journey too, a little reluctantly as exclusive bf just seems so easy in comparison and a lot less messy! But now we’ve seen how much Martha loves getting to grips with her food, it’s hard to deny her as many opportunities as possible to play, chew and sometimes actually swallow. Tommee Tippee rubber bibs work well for catching dropped bits of food. And thanks for the reminder about the bread – I had forgotten how salty it was.

    • September 24, 2014 / 9:44 am

      I need to actually sort out some bibs! I didn’t think at all about the salt content in bread first time around. Something I only read about later on. I feel the same – some much easier to just breastfeed. But she won’t let me get away with that now!

  4. September 24, 2014 / 11:02 am

    Ben wasn’t interested in BLW at ALL, he rejected anything with lumps for so long that I thought I’d still be blending his food when we was going to school! Daisy has been completely different, and was quite happy to eat solid food from the day she grabbed broccoli off of my plate when she was five months old – it’s been way easier, and I think if we had any more children I’d definitely try it again. She has a way more varied diet as well (although there’s still time for her to get picky, ha!).
    Vicky recently posted..bright and cheerful kids wall art

  5. September 24, 2014 / 2:53 pm

    my gosh they do look so alike!! We did baby led with Wilf also, although he is a pretty picky eater nowadays! I am now reminded about all the mess (I don’t miss that!) x
    Fritha recently posted..Some things I’m loving right now

  6. September 25, 2014 / 12:52 am

    Oh wow what an exciting time – I did baby lead weaning with Mr A – I remember it being really hairy in the beginning (he chocked on some banana) but after a few hiccups it was easy and really enjoyed seeing him explore all the different flavours

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted..Holiday sneak peak

  7. September 25, 2014 / 10:12 pm

    It’s true that you do forget, don’t you? Despite it being a massive deal at the time! We did do BLW last time but started off with a mix…with the new baby we’re just going to go for full-on BLW I reckon x

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