Adventures in Baby Led Weaning

To keep up with my off the wall image, I decided to try something that I have been interested in for quite some time - Baby Led Weaning. I first heard about this method when I was working in public health. The speaker mentioned that her daughter was giving her child large pieces of food instead of baby food. That definitely sparked my interest so I did a little research, learned what it was, and stored it in the back of my mind until the time came when I might need to use it. 

When it came time to think about starting foods with Feagan, I did a little more research, read the book {not completely necessary since there is so much info online} and decided that this might be for us. It seemed like it would be healthy, fun, and convenient - I am all about convenience. Basically, BLW is allowing your child to feed themselves. You give them spears of food that they can hold and gnaw on. There isn't much food consumption at first, but then they get the hang of it and start swallowing a little at a time. 

Faegan's first avocado

The first food we started out with was avocado. We give her a slice with a little skin on it so it isn't as slippery. The process allows them to learn how to chew and then swallow, versus swallowing then learning to chew. That's right, I don't mash it, we just give her a piece of food that she can grasp and she does the rest.

I read some horror stories and was a little concerned at first about choking and/or gagging, but we haven't had any problems so far. We have had a little gagging with sweet potatoes, but it is part of the process and they learn how to get things out if they need to. 

One of my main concerns with starting food was that I didn't know exactly what to give her. I like things spelled out nice and neat and on a schedule. I found a great source that gives examples of when to start certain foods. It has helped me out because I tend to second guess what I am doing and like to have lots of research to back it up! 

This was our one and only dinner without a bib. 

As of right now we have eaten avocados {loves}, bananas {loves}, sweet potatoes {loves}, green beans {hates}, cucumber {hates}, grapes {loves}, and pears {likes it ok}. I cut the sweet potatoes into fries, toss them in olive oil and sprinkled with cinnamon. Everything else is raw and cut into chunks that stick out an inch or two past her grip. The grapes were in quarters and we held them since they were so small. 

We will do some things the "normal" way with a spoon like yogurt and cereal, but we haven't started those yet. I have some apples that I am thinking about making some applesauce with. My sweet Mema gave us a baby bullet and I hate not to use it some!

The only downside to BLW is the mess. As you can see from the pictures, food goes everywhere. When we first started it wasn't messy and I was very impressed that my child was the lone neat eater, but alas, since we have broadened our food horizon and actually figured out how to eat it, it has become quite the messy event. It doesn't bother me though. Faegan thinks it's the grandest thing that she gets to eat meals with us and we just take a bath after dinner.

 I'm all done!

Hopefully we will continue to have a positive experience with BLW. We have all enjoyed Faegan exploring new tastes and textures. BLW may not be for everyone, but it works for us. One thing I have learned about parenting is that you can't do what everyone else thinks you should do, you have to do what works for you!
Here's to happy eating!

Jen O'Daniel (January 16, 2012 at 7:46 AM)  

I've never heard of BLW. I kind of wish I'd done it for BOTH of my kids! G has always been picky, and W was a great eater until recently - he's become a little set in his ways and prefers pureed green beans over the real thing!?!? Faegan is adorable and you are a great mama! Love seeing the updates here!

AA (January 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM)  

What a great idea!! I'm going to send it to my sister for Luke. My sister did a similar thing with Julian and it worked for them too. And the mess is so cute! She looks like she is thoroughly enjoying herself.

(In case you want to read, this was their great pediatrician in San Francisco who believes in introducing "adult food" at an early age. Julian loves all kind of meats, veggies, lentils, etc because of it I think. Just more info ;)

Sabelko's (January 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM)  

I've never heard of BLW but since neither of my kids liked baby food, I guess we somewhat did it. Mine made just as much of a mess :) She's precious!

Georgia {Cabin Fever} (January 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM)  

Love it! Makes for some great photo opps too! :)

jmluckie (January 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM)  

Looks like she's ready for a chicken leg.

CHERI (January 16, 2012 at 7:22 PM)  

I love the pics of sweet Faegan! She is beyond precious. I think it is so neat that you have researched this and trying it. Reid is a terribly picky eater and Mia is becoming more so. I think by giving them the "real food" they can learn at a very early age to enjoy all foods...going from baby food to the real thing just doesn't taste the same. The choking would scare me a little but sounds like you've got that under control. You are right...she is your baby and you should do what YOU feel is right. As long as she is growing, healthy, and happy...then that tells you if it's working.

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