We’re doing baby led weaning!!! What is baby led weaning? Baby led weaning is the act of allowing babies as young as 6 months old to eat small pieces of solid foods. Meaning, we skip all the baby purees… well for the most part. We decided to do a mixture of baby led weaning and when needed, purees.
So, why baby led weaning? Because it’s got great benefits! For starters, it gives babies the control to say they are full. They choose when to stop eating, which in turn, teaches them great eating habits. It shows them hand and eye coordination and teaches the pincer grab. It works on most senses; sight, smell, feel, taste. It’s easier to introduce veggies as well because they are easy to steam and cut into small pieces. And lastly, it teaches them the obvious, how to chew, yes even if they don’t have teeth yet. Which leads me to my next point, when doing baby led weaning, you only want to serve foods that you can easily smash with your fingers. That way you can be sure that it’s soft enough for your baby to chew on their own. If you’re worried about your baby choking, start off with really small bites and work your way up to bite sizes that they can grab with their hands. Also, keep in mind to not mistake the natural gag reflex with choking. Babies are really smart and if they feel the food go too far back, their reflex will kick in to gag it back up. It’s important to always monitor and never leave a baby unattended when doing baby led weaning. Since we’ve started doing baby led weaning, our daughter has mastered grabbing food with her hands and putting it in her mouth. She chews things up really well. I always have a bottle with breast milk or water next to her in case she needs it. Also, keep in mind that she is still breastfeeding. When we started this process, I did very small bites and I gave them to her in her mouth. Once I saw that she chewed really well and I felt comfortable and confident in what she was doing, I increased the size to where it’s big enough for her to grab it on her own. She loves the independence from it and I do too! Just prepare to embrace the mess, it is far from a clean process. I love the silicone bibs with the catch all pockets because they help catch the majority of the foods. I also recommend letting them eat shirtless and doing a quick sink bath afterwards. We did tons of purees with Jude when he was a baby and I fed him everything myself. Having two babies, all the work has multiplied and become harder. This is why we’ve decided to give baby led weaning a try. During parenthood, anything that makes things a tad easier is always welcomed!