When I had my first child I couldn’t wait until they could walk, talk and eat “people food”. Four kids later I can wait… It seems like they only stay the cute little baby that you hold for days because before you know it they require more than just milk, they tell you No and the run away from you. The joys of parenthood, i suppose. On my quest this time to become a more natural parent by choice this time I came across Baby-led weaning and fell in love.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
First and foremost this is NOT about taking your baby off the boob or the bottle. At around 6 months of age, when baby can sit up on their own, most parents introduce solids of some sort. Baby led weaning is a natural approach to food that throws away baby food, purees and baby cereal (thank God!). Baby led weaning (often also referred to as BLW) is a method of adding complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breastmilk or formula. A method of food progression, BLW facilitates the development of age appropriate oral motor control while maintaining eating as a positive, interactive experience. Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from the very beginning of their experiences with food. The term weaning should not be taken to imply giving up formula or breastmilk, but simply the introduction of foods other than formula or breastmilk.
WAYMENT! No cereal… No baby food… No purees…?
Yes you read right we are doing away with ALL of that. So, first and foremost I need to stand on my soapbox and talk about baby cereal for a second. THERE IS NO GOOD REASON TO GIVE A BABY THAT CRAP! I will note that some doctors use baby cereal to help babies that are experiencing stomach issues and/or acid reflux; but outside of that yeah NOPE it’s crap. With my first 3 children I made pureed baby food because I wanted my kids to have fresh food and I wanted them to eat, but when I researched baby led weaning I realized it’s unnecessary. If you wait until babies are sitting up unassisted they have the ability to chew aka gum their food.
Check the images below if you want all the reasons why you should skip the rice cereal and what to feed them?
But won’t the baby choke?
This was my husband’s first question when I presented the idea. I did a quick YouTube search of videos on Baby led weaning as well as pulled up some videos in Baby-Led Weaning for Black Moms group to show him. Cliff Notes version is YES they gag not choke, but you watch them, you give them small (but not to small pieces) and they learn how to chew aka gum and to not choke. You’ve got to watch a video to understand. Here’s one I found that I really like…
Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
The biggest benefit is no overeating. Baby learns to naturally stop when they are done vs you telling them they’ve had enough or finishing the jar. Baby also eats using all their sense taste, touch, smell and seeing plus they get the true texture of food. Family eating is possible. In my house we all sit down for each meal at the table and Baby J Pink is sitting right there in her high chair involved in the family meal. The mess isn’t a benefit but it’s fun most of the time.
Do you have questions, need help or pictures of your little one enjoying food using the baby led weaning method. I’d love to help and see so drop them in the comments below.