Baby-Led Weaning! The Messy, Fun and Realness of It

Alright guys, Fitz is officially 6 months old…and we are going to give feeding a try!
I’m not sure why, but the whole “feeding my baby” is so intimidating to me…the idea of her choking, introducing the wrong foods, or even having an allergic reaction to something is so unsettling to me.
However, all that aside, Fitz and I are going to give the concept of ‘Baby Led Weaning’ a try!

What exactly is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW?)
BLW is a method of adding foods to a baby’s already existing diet of breast milk or formula. An important moto to keep in mind is the key saying … Any food before ONE, is just for FUN! Baby-Led weaning encourages the development of age appropriate oral-motor skills, along with creating a positive and interactive experience regarding meal time. Typically parents start once their baby reaches the age of 6-months old (or older- all is baby dependent.) This type of feeding introduces finger foods FIRST and bypasses what was historically started first: purees and mashed-up foods.
It’s called baby-led because the main concept is — letting your little one feed themself the foods that they want to eat right from the beginning

When I first told me mom that I was going to be trialing BLW with Fitz, she thought I was a little crazy. Probably because when she was going through the first stages of food with myself and my brothers, they highly encouraged starting with purees! Her biggest concern was “You know that’s going to be really messy!” And while that is very true, there are so many benefits to this type of feeding that I couldn’t resist giving it a try!

  • Babies who are fed using the BLW method are more familiar with different textures&flavors, compared to babies who are fed purees. This may make them more likely to develop more varied and healthy food preferences in the long run.
  • Research has shown that babies who eat a variety of foods (including peanut products, eggs and fish) may actually be less likely to have food allergies later in life.
  • Studies show that babies are less likely to become overweight compared to children who are spoon-fed. With spoon-feeding, the parent is in control (which may make babies eat faster and more than they really need, potentially leading to a habit of ignoring feelings of fullness.)
  • BLE leads to the development of hand dexterity and hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Learning how to chew, which aids in digestion.
  • Learning how to respond to their own gag-reflex…which is REALLY strong in babies! For those who don’t know…babies gag-reflex is located in the front 1/3 of their mouth (which can be scary at first because the baby seems to gag at everything and so easily!)

Items/Tools that I purchased

  1. Bib/Smock– Like I mentioned above…this type of feeding can get pretty messy! The long-sleeve bib style has definitely helped with maintaining some cleanliness.
  2. Food Crinkle Cutter– A lot of people mentioned that cutting the foods using this crinkle cutter makes it easier for baby to grasp on to foods (especially if they are slippery!)
  3. Mat for under highchair– Again, not 100% necessary, but highly recommend to help keep things clean!
  4. Plate/mat that sticks to table- I’ve read conflicting views on whether or not the plate should have dividers to “separate foods,” so I’ll leave that up to your preference! Personally I plan to use both styles.
  5. Soft-Tip Training Spoon– This obviously goes against the idea of “finger foods;” But I used this spoon since Fitz was about 4 months old as a “practice” tool for her hand-eye coordination& hand dexterity development.

I’m going to provide some helpful resources that I’ve been using to help educate myself on this style of feeding!

  1. The Hapa Family
  2. Nekole (Kids OT Help)
  3. Feeding Littles
  4. Baby-Led Weaning Book
  5. Rachael Tucker (babyledweaningideas)

Because we are just starting… I don’t have too much to report! But I will keep you all updated on any successes/failures that Fitz and I experience while trying this new adventure(:

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