At about 6 months of age your baby will probably start being interested in taking food off your plate. This is a wonderful time to explore Baby Led Weaning or BLW. Baby Led Weaning is an approach for baby to start eating solid food without passing through the whole baby purees stage. Basically baby eats what you eat. Remember your baby at this time is still young and their main source of nutrition should still be breast milk or formula. The other huge thing to remember is to ALWAYS keen an eye on baby while eating!
Feeding babies looks VERY different depending on your culture and where you live. I remember the dilemma of trying to decide who to listen to with my first baby. At the pediatrician’s office the doctor always said baby was to not have any water to drink before 6 months, yet my mother always mentioned I should be feeding my baby teas whenever he was restless, seemed to have a tummy ache, or when it was hot outside.
Times have changed and fortunately for us, there is new research every single day being shared. I encourage you to educate yourself and always read up so that you can make your own informed decisions when it comes to your baby!
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- When I first started getting educated on the whole BLW subject, the book Baby-Led Weaning The Essential Guide was recommended a lot and I’m glad I ordered it as it answers a lot of the questions I had.
- There are tons of cookbooks on the market, but I found The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook easy to follow and implement.
- First aid education as well as knowledge on videos differentiating between choking and gagging
- Pinterest- a simple blw search on Pinterest and you will find tons of easy recipes and ideas for your little one
- Facebook group- Baby Led Weaning for Beginners on FB is amazing! They have tons of photos, posts, and files to help with your BLW journey
When to start BLW
As with anything new with your baby, please always consult with your pediatrician first! Your doctor will give you the all clear to start BLW when your baby shows the following readiness signs:
- can sit up UNASSISTED
- grab and hold items
- shows interest in bringing food to mouth
How to start
The best thing about BLW is the low prep it requires! Since you are giving baby what you are eating, there is no need to cook different meals other than what you are already having! Cut food in appropriate sizes, make sure baby is sitting in a safe spot like a high chair with buckles, place food in front of baby, sit back and watch them explore and enjoy!
Pros of BLW
- baby is exposed to a variety of foods
- meal time interaction with family
- self-regulation where baby starts to learn and decide when they are full
- a lot of practice in eye-hand coordination
- chewing, swallowing, and tongue placement practice
Cons of BLW
- can be very messy
- you will be worried at first when you are still differentiating between gagging and choking
What to Avoid
Blw is a pretty relaxed feeding method, but there are still things you should avoid
- Distractions that keep your eyes off baby
- High-choking risky foods like grapes, cherry tomatoes, hot dog meat
- Unhealthy and processed foods like breakfast cereal, chips, popcorn, candy,
- Too much salt or sugar
Whether you decide to give BLW a try, or instead start with purees, remember to do your research and let your baby decide what he likes mamma! There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to babies. Meal times should be fun and a great time for family to gather and enjoy each other’s company so try not to get discouraged or stressed Mami!
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