As a parent, feeding our kiddos is a top priority! The first few months are relatively easy since those little babes aren’t eating much- just breastmilk or formula!
There is also a LOT of conflicting information coming from all directions- pediatricians, other parents, your family, your friends, even complete strangers when food starts to come into the picture! It’s overwhelming. It also makes you doubt almost everything you’ve been doing or want to do. I get it!
With this little munchkin being our first, I read SO MUCH and researched and still felt unprepared for any decisions!
We completely skipped rice cereal because it has no nutritional benefits whatsoever and it’s unnecessary for *most* babies (your situation may need to incorporate it which is why doing your own research regardless of what anyone, doctors included, tell you!)
I began researching baby led feeding(or baby led weaning) as our girl approached 6 months. She seemed curious enough with food and I already knew that no matter what route we took, I’d be making 98% of her food myself!
Everything I found amazed me and made introducing food seem much less scary than anything else, not to mention, easier! Something that makes a mom’s life EASIER!? Uh, count me in please!
The biggest point of baby led feeding is that baby eats basically anything you’re eating. You introduce them to all of these different foods, textures, tastes, smells, and it’s hugely beneficial in more ways than one! For a study based on BLW click here.
Now, before we get into the fun stuff, let’s talk about the not-so-fun stuff.
*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, baby guru, or expert. The information I provide here is from research I have done, as well as my own opinions and views. Remember to always research and find what works for your family, and, consult with your pediatrician or other doctor before trying new feeding methods. We are in no way responsible for anything you choose to do.*
1.) Baby led feeding/weaning is not for everyone, just like anything else in baby world! Do your research and make decisions based on what is best for your cute little fam!
2.) Remember the phrase: “Food before one is just for fun!” What does this mean you ask? It basically means that if you are exclusively breastfeeding your child (assuming you have an adequate milk supply and consume a healthy diet and preferably a prenatal!), there is no reason to try to wean your kiddo just to put them on solids. Your breastmilk does NOT lose nutrition no matter what age your child is. Your breastmilk adapts to your child and their needs. The amazing human body huh? Introducing solids before age 1 is fantastic, but, don’t be discouraged if your kiddo doesn’t seem overly excited about any food but boobs! :)
3.) The choking hazard…yes, it’s possible your kiddo could choke when eating something besides purees. However, being diligent about cutting the food you are serving into appropriate sizes is key! A long-time friend and MY old pediatrician told me that at about 6 months, a baby’s throat is the size of a nickel. That gave me some relief that I wasn’t giving her food that was cut too large. Use your mama instincts and pass that judgement on to whoever else will be feeding your little one. Common sense and instinct goes a LONG way!
4.) If your family eats terribly, BLW may not be for you. For example, if you’re swinging through the drive through every night and for every meal, you don’t want to be feeding that junk to your little one. I’ll be honest, we eat fast food here and there, BUT, I never give it to our daughter and I always have something on hand for her that I’ve prepared. If you want to eat like crap, that’s fine, as long as you have the discipline to make other healthy choices for your kiddo.
5.) The backlash you will more than likely face from family and friends who have no idea what baby led weaning is is usually inevitable. It’s true, many (not all) mamas get a lot of flack from the people closest to them because they choose baby led weaning instead of society’s “norm” (rice cereal, purees, weaning from the boob, etc.). Stand your ground and defend the choices you have made as a parent. It’s your kid, your rules. Simple as that. You can go about it in a polite manner, but, please, never feel bullied into changing your parenting methods because someone else doesn’t agree with it. Your biggest weapon you have is educating those people about your choices.
Okay, I’ve delayed this long enough! On to the fun stuff! Check out my recipes and meal ideas below! :)
Recipes and Meal Ideas
Is baby is ready for solid foods? (Developmental signs of readiness)- Kelly Mom
Welcome to Baby Led Weaning
The Gagging Thing v. The Choking Thing
How Feasible Is Baby-Led Weaning as an Approach to Infant Feeding?
Healthcare professionals’ and mothers’ knowledge of, attitudes to and experiences with, Baby-Led Weaning: a content analysis study