Baby-led Weaning

I seem to do every “traditional” parenting thing differently. I co-sleep, I baby wear (my mother-in-law laughed when she heard me call it that), I breastfeed, so on and so on. Baby-led weaning, according to my husband, is most unusual of my non-traditional parenting ideas.

According to the website, baby-led weaning is a way of introducing solid foods that allows the baby to feed herself – there’s no spoon feeding and no purees. The baby sits with the rest of the family at mealtimes, and joins in when she is ready. Her parents offer her food in sizes and shapes that she can handle and she feeds herself with her fingers, choosing what to eat, how much and how quickly.

Peanut is 6 months old as of yesterday. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months and then starting “solids”, there is research saying that it’s better to wait even longer. From what I got of it, they said that you should wait until your baby shows signs of being ready for non-breastmilk, such as: sitting up unsupported, reaching for food, lack of tongue-thrust reflex, watching you eat, and things of the like. In all of those aspects, Dea is definitely ready to start.

So yesterday we let her eat breakfast with mommy and daddy. Here is our lovely (messy) table. Ready to go.

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I love her highchair (that we got at Ikea). It’s so simple and that’s what makes it awesome. She can get it all mucked up and it just comes right off. Here’s close up of Dea’s meal… since that is so interesting?

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Eggs, toast (not bread, since that can get all mushy and hard to deal with in baby’s mouth), apricots, and bacon. Yes, I gave my daughter bacon as part of her first meal–and she loved it. Like father like daughter?

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I gave her one half piece of bacon and it’s the first thing she grabs. She sucked on it for about 5 minutes before moving on to the rest of the food. She didn’t really ingest anything, but that’s not the point with baby-led weaning. We had a lot of fun with our food-toys!

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We’ve continued to have fun with our food-toys since. She thought eggs were weird, apricots weren’t favored because they were hard to handle, she choked from a piece of melon last night (mommy’s fault for getting a not correctly shaped piece), she likes chewing on apples. Overall, we’re having fun with this experience. I’ve lost the pressure of keeping her away from the food (and oh boy did she want to be near it) and there’s no added pressure of actually feeding her. She deals with it. It’s so natural and easy!

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14 thoughts on “Baby-led Weaning

  1. Wow! I wish I would have known about Baby-led Weaning when Kairi was younger. Do you think I could still use it even though she is 18 months now? I feel silly for even asking that, but I really want Kairi to learn to really love food and a wide variety of it. I also want her to be able to properly feed herself and use a cup. I am not sure if that is a lot to hope/ask for but I looked through the Baby-led Weaning website and found a a baby, who at 6.5 months knew how to properly use a cup. By the time the baby reached 14 months, she was using utensils. Properly, nonetheless!

    • Isn’t she eating non-pureed food already? The big thing with baby-led weaning is that they’re eating what the family eats with the family. I’m not sure what the normal time tables are for food introducing, but wouldn’t she already be eating what you’re eating? If not, you can start at any time. They specifically mention starting later in the book.

      • Yeah, she’s been eating solids for over a year now. I just can’t seem to get her interested in more than a few types of food. It can be quite discouraging at times. Not only that but we don’t really eat as a family :( I try to as often as possible. Usually, it’s only Kairi and I eating. Tyler never really eats with us unless we are eating out. I think one of the big things is my fear of making a huge mess. I know I need to let go of that fear and just let her ‘play’ with the food. Also, it’s not that she doesn’t eat what I eat. I try to feed her what I eat, but most food does not seem pleasing to her.

    • I suggest putting a tablecloth below her on the floor. Curtis isn’t home to eat with us most of the time, but I think eating at the table together is the most important part.

      • So let’s say I am eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Should I prepare her her own bowl of cereal with milk in it? I usually either feed her or give it to her dry with milk on the side.

    • The book says “Cereal–with or without milk. Some babies love dry cereal; others prefer it mushy. Cereals such as mini wheats, malted wheats, cornflakes and Rice Krispies are suitable for babies because they don’t have high levels of sugar and salt. (Weetabix can be picked up easily if it’s moistened with just a small amount of milk.)”

  2. Ive heard of this! I want to try this with my next baby! It does seem more natural. Plus my daughter never really ate much of her pureed food anyways, it always felt like I was force feeding her! She didn’t show an interest in any of the foods till she was about 10 months which was around the time I started giving her things other than pureed baby food to try. I love all your non-traditional parenting ideas!

    • I definitely recommend trying it. I haven’t done the pureed food thing (since Peanut is my first), but this already feels like it’s much less of a hassle.

  3. I did this with my daughter and it was so much less stressful – proud to say I have never once given her that nasty looking/smelling food in a jar. Still nursing at 2 yrs 1 month, so now I am wondering if my other baby led weaning experiment will ever happen (still nursing several x a day) – oh and we co-sleep, baby wear and co-shower since she doesn’t like the bathtub?!

    FYI – My daughter will eat almost anything – when she feels like it! (Sushi (California roll), salmon, loves Brussels sprouts!)

    • We co-shower too, but we put her in her little tub. How do you manage it without the tub?

  4. We’re doing some modified baby-led weaning. I feed him with a spoon sometimes, but only if he’s interested. What’s cute is that with the spoon, he’ll often grab it and guide it into his mouth himself.
    I let him suck on whole broccoli, cereal, sweet potato chunks, zucchini, and whatever else he can’t totally inhale and choke on!
    I do share the philosophy that they shouldn’t be force fed, and shouldn’t eat gruel you or I would not dream of eating. I always try to offer him what I’m eating (except medium rare filet mignon).
    I also think it’s absurd to spend time spoon feeding a baby when you can just breast feed them! The point of solids is that they are moving past breastfeeding, and if you have to sit there and painstakingly feed them, that’s just impractical (although it can be fun, and that’s why I do it, plus I want to get a few more calories into him).
    He loved hummus!

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