This is a thing, Baby Led Weaning (BLW) doesn’t mean what you might think. Brighter and more European minds have thought this one up, and I won’t try to regurgitate all the particulars.
For the purpose of this particular post, let’s just say that this method of baby feeding is a mother of subsequent children’s dream come true.
That first kid, you know-the one that got fanciful combinations of guava, purple carrot, and quinoa all lovingly pressed through a potato ricer until even a Vita-Mix couldn’t make more mush of it-that first kid is who he is because of you, thank you. But, it’s the subsequent kid that this post is for. Yes, the subsequent child has different needs. Basic needs. Like being diapered in a timely fashion, taking naps in actual beds, having their name and birthday recalled with only a slight delay, and being fed. Basically fed.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons (other than general laziness) to practice BLW, whether it’s your first or fifth kid, not the least of which is giving your baby healthy choices early on-a good start for later autonomy.
BLW is the practice of introducing first foods straight from your table to baby’s, giving baby some autonomy at mealtime. You skip the cereal, skip the purees, and allow baby to feed himself from the start. Read up on it here and here.
Admittedly, I fell into this with my third child from sheer laziness. Or busyness. I guess I don’t really know which, but fortunately for me and my subsequent child, this thing has turned into a blog worthy conversation.
From me to you, here are 6 tips for successful Baby Led Weaning.
1. Don’t start too early.
Generally 6 months is a good time to start. Make sure your baby is ready for solids: sitting up, showing interest in food, able to grab and hold onto things.
2. Cut soft veggies and fruits into long strips.
I started with bananas, cut in half, then quartered lengthwise. This is grab practice, so when baby gets a fistful, it helps to have some sticking out the other end.
3. Watch carefully for choking, but don’t be freaked by gagging.
This is a natural way for baby to move food out of his airway, and a necessary skill he will learn quickly.
4. Be impressed by the mess.
Revel in awe at the reckless abandon that your child smashes avocado in his hair like it’s a Bumble & Bumble shine serum. This will not define you. You can do this.
5. For heaven’s sake, buy this rubber bib with a catch pocket.
My guy could stuff his face all day long, and at one point I began to notice that he wasn’t drinking as much as he was used to. It’s a good idea to feed milk first, then offer food.