Skip spoon feeding and allow your baby to feed themselves. Babies are developmentally ready and have natural reflexes that allow them to learn to eat on their own. It’s a skill that they can continue to use. Our son Vallon is a year old now and has been feeding himself since he was six months old. I give him things that you couldn’t imagine a baby his age eating.
Baby led weaning (BLW) isn’t actually “weaning” in the sense of giving up milk/formula. It actually means to add to the diet. [Trust me he still gets plenty of breast milk!] Letting your baby lead also helps them to get better nutrition. They decide what they want and how much. A lot of people, pediatricians included, will recommend you start your baby on rice cereal. With BLW you start with veggies and fruits. I believe it’s best to skip grains all together anyway!
What are the best foods to start with?
Here were some of our favorites:
You can feed them almost anything you eat! Include them in family meals. The social interaction is important too.
Wont my baby choke?
Babies have a natural reflex where their tongue will push food out of their mouth if they can’t swallow it. It’s something that your baby needs to explore on their own. There will be lots of gagging and spitting but it’s all part of the learning process. Make sure to keep the food large and easy to hold. That way your baby can bite off the chunks themselves, which also reduces the risk of choking.
Here is a clip of Vallon eating and gagging on his first banana. It takes a bit to get the hang of the solid texture. He had some avocado right before this and it seems like it was easier for him to eat but hard to hold because it fell apart in his hands, hence the green mess all over the tray. You can also leave part of the peel on the banana to make it not so slippery.
*My noisy toddler was in the background so I replaced the sound with music. 🙂
How do I know my baby is ready?
Babies naturally reach for food around six months of age. If your baby is showing an interest in the food you eat, reaching for it and/or has a pincer grasp down, then they are probably ready.
I did find it was a bit hard to feed him some of my favorite leafy green veggies. So, I used my NutriBullet to pulverize fresh greens like spinach. We also love yogurt and applesauce, so for that I highly recommend a Sili Squeeze. Now Vallon eats meat and fresh uncooked veggies like cucumbers and sweet peppers (all without back teeth). Remember have fun and always supervise your little one!
Have you tried baby led weaning? Share your stories below or on my forum!
! Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks.