I get a good amount of questions (and criticisms) regarding the way I practice Baby-Led Weaning. Of course the main principle is that the baby leads, so when approaching BLW, learn your baby’s signs first & foremost! “More” is an easy baby sign and most babies will reach their hands out when they want more of something. Beyond that, there is some wiggle room. Ameena recently wrote a post on what baby-led weaning means to her, so I decided to share our family’s baby-led weaning principles.
“Led” doesn’t mean you can’t help. There are some foods my 6 month old just can’t get to his own mouth well enough, and he ends up frustrated and upset. When he eats slippery foods, often I will hold the food and let him guide my hand to his mouth. We also assist him in using a cup and help him use a spoon with foods that melt. Read Baby’s cues and it is very easy to tell whether or not they want more of what you’re serving!
Noshing on a kiwi fruit, his first time in a high chair! (6 months old)
BLW in public. I don’t feel as though it’s as important to normalize baby-led weaning as it is to normalize breastfeeding, but I do think it’s important not to change your parenting just because you’re out of your house. Honestly, I’ve never noticed anyone bat an eye when I give my baby a big piece of food to nom on, although maybe that’s just because I’m too busy minimizing public BLW messes.
Sebastian loved the briny vinegar cucumbers in this bowl. (Sushi Train in Tualatin, Oregon.)
No real foods are off-limits. We try not to eat anything we wouldn’t want Sebastian to have, although that’s easier said than done. With the exception of fast food, we let him try everything we are eating. We don’t put any foods on a pedestal and he’s welcome to enjoy dessert with us as well as dinner. We avoid salt as too much sodium can be dangerous for infants but other seasonings are fair game.
Go at your own pace. A lot of the other moms on this blog feed their babies stuff I am not quite comfortable with yet! If you aren’t comfortable sharing your whole meal with your baby, start by introducing a big piece of fruit or chunk of meat to suck on. Foods that require more macerating can be added later. I think it’s normal to be afraid of choking but taking an infant CPR class and reading up on the BLW method (Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods) can help quell your fears.
Baby-led weaning is easy! We all eat together and schedule bath time for right after dinner!