Well, After 6 months of being a strict “momnivor” the time finally has come for Nora to start solids (If you’re wondering why we waited so long read this, or this.) After checking in with her pediatrician at her 6 month checkup on Friday we got the go ahead to start introducing more tastes and textures to Nora’s teeny tiny pallet. After a lot of research and navigating all the options on solid introductions we decided to give baby led weaning a shot. I have to admit in the beginning I was very gung-ho and totally positive that this was the way I wanted to do things. However, the closer to Introduction day we got, the more and more unsure I got. “How will she know what to do?” “What if she chokes?” “What food should I start with?” “What if she doesn’t eat anything?”- These were just some of the questions burning my brain as the day drew near. At her 6 month checkup I brought it up to her doctor and waited for a “purees are best” type response to thwart my ideas on the spot but instead got a big old “go for it”.
So, armed with the little knowledge I had I figured it was time to get an idea of what the next few weeks would look like. So, first up the answer to some of those questions that were really bothering my brain in hopes that if you decide to give this method a shot maybe you’ll get more sleep leading up to the big day! (NOTE: I don’t consider myself to be a BLW guru by ANY means. Any advice given here is a product of my own research and our own experiences. Do with it as you wish!)
-How will they know what to do?
THEY WON’T and that’s ok. They don’t NEED the food you’re putting on their plate. That’s why your baby is still breast or bottle feeding. All the nutrients they NEED comes from there, the introduction of solids is just complimentary food and a slow process to getting them more and more accustomed to eating textured and flavored things! And, they will surprise you on how fast the pick things up. (Literally)
-What if he/she chokes?
Here’s a nice (and cute) little video to calm your nerves. There. Now that you know what to do in case something bad happens, listen to me… IT WON’T. The odds aren’t very good that your baby will choke as long as you’re preparing and offering the foods correctly. Everything that you give your baby to begin with needs to be mushy. Avocado, banana, baked apples, steamed carrots or broccoli, stuff that really just falls apart in your mouth. Add the fact that your babies gag reflex is still on their tongue (so they will gag way easier than you do, and believe me… gagging will happen!)
What food should I start with?
We did avocado. Minimal (aka-NO) prep work, and super mushy so I wouldn’t be worried about that pesky choking thing again. Some people do steamed carrots… steamed sweet potatoes… a banana… its all up to you. Just make sure whatever food you’re giving them is soft, unsalted and contains ZERO honey.
What if he/she doesn’t eat anything?
That’s fine too. You’re totally rocking their world. They are used to getting food one way and one way alone and you’re suddenly saying “hey there is this way too” and it’s going to take a minute to catch on! Be patient. Give them tastes of the food you’re putting on their tray (and watching them smash/throw on the floor). Help them to understand that this is meant for their mouths. Babies are smarter than you think they are. They will get it soon!
How long between introducing new foods?
Talk to your pediatrician about this one. The standard recommendation is between 3 and 5 days. So see what your child’s doctor says and go from there. Neither Wes nor myself have any food allergies so we’re doing 3 days between each food.
What if we skip a day?
We skipped TWO the 2 days following her first food experience. Because A) Sunday’s are busy for us and food is messy &B) Monday ended up being crazy too. It’s OK. Again, They’re getting what they NEED from you or their bottle. Everything else is for fun!
So far our Baby led weaning journey has been a fun albiet messy one. Nora hasn’t really started chowing down on anything yet, nor did I expect her to, she still makes the same “this is weird’ face every time something hits her lips and she hasn’t really found anything she is in LOVE with yet.
So far we have tried avocado (obviously) and banana. Up next on the menu is crinkle cut sweet potatoes and then maybe some oatmeal. Like most of this motherhood journey I am content to take things one day at a time. Secretly, well… not so much a secret now- I love the fact that she still prefers her meals to be the mama-made variety. Breastfeeding has been a great experience for us and I treasure the moments we get to just do our thing. So anything that keeps the days of no longer needing me for food at bay is welcome by me!
I’ll be sure to continue updating you guys on the Baby Led Weaning Posts as things progress. When she starts really eating I’ll let you know, and hopefully I’ll have some meal ideas and “recipes” to share eventually as well. If you have any BLW advice to share or any food related advice, including tips on making this experience a little cleaner (yeah right), I’m all ears! Leave the love in the comments!