If you are a parent, by now you have likely heard of baby led weaning. It’s the most popular of the “baby vs solids” trends. Like any new parent, as my baby approached the appropriate age, I started thinking about how I wanted to start the weaning process.
I was surprised when his pediatrician told me at his four month checkup that I could start him on solids at his age. So, I decided I was going to make his food myself…be the “all organic” mom and break out the fruits, veggies, blenders, and containers. I tried. It sucked. I quit.
To be totally honest, every new milestone gives me anxiety. Introducing a baby to solids means figuring out if your baby has allergies. My husband is self-employed, so I made him stay home every time we tried a new food. I hated the process.
In truth, I didn’t start at four months. I googled it, saw a consensus that anywhere from 4-6 months was fine, and procrastinated (in true ADHD fashion) until he was six months. By then, I decided I wasn’t going to spend all that time cooking and preparing purees just for him to not like something. Then who’s going to eat the blended broccoli? Not me. Enter baby led weaning…
I did my research and learned all the techniques. Then we tried it. Let me tell you why it didn’t work for me. More importantly, let me tell you why it’s okay not to push yourself to do what doesn’t work for you just because every “supermom” fishing for someone to criticize on social media says you should.
What Is Baby Led Weaning
The short of it is that your baby learns to feed himself/herself from the time you start to wean them off strictly liquids. The recommended age for baby led weaning is six months, and that’s because babis typically start reaching for food at that age.
If you visit babyledweaning.com you’ll find that it seems so simple. What a great idea! Skip the mushy food, and have your baby eating like a toddler before the first year! Let’s be honest, we all want to think our babies are ahead of the curve.
However, keep in mind, this method takes patience and persistence. Motor skills as six months are lacking. Very little hits the mouth. Most of it ends up on the floor or in the lap.
A Few Things You Need to Know About Baby Led Weaning…
First, I want to say that this is not a BLW bashing post. I actually think it is a great way to start your kid on solids. I just want to offer as much information about the process as possible because I tried it and have the experience. Here a just a few things I learned along the way:
- The bites. It might sound like you just cut up some food and give it to your baby, but the size of the bite is important. Long pieces make it easy for the baby to hold on, and small bites are more likely to cause choking. Slice everything into narrow rectangles.
- The mess. This one should have been obvious, but what can I say, I’m a new mom. It’s a baby, so who really cares, but just keep in mind that they will get food everywhere. In BLW, they skip the sippy cup phase as well, and they start drinking water. They make cute tiny cups for them to pick up with their cute hands (and spill everywhere).
- The gagging. This is the one that got me. Anxious parents, this one will freak you out. Keep in mind that they don’t have teeth, and they are learning to move food from the front of their mouths to the back to swallow. It’s new, and they are not great at it in the beginning, so they gag a lot. It sounds like choking and might freak you out.
All in all, this is a great way to start your baby on solids. The key is to make sure it works FOR YOU, too.
Why It Didn’t Work for Me and Why That’s Okay
I started the BLW journey because I love the idea of teaching my child to be independent. I think every parent does. That’s the appeal of it, and that’s what made it hard for me to accept that it was not right for me.
I may have mentioned this approximately 50 times, but I’m not exactly a laid-back person. For someone like me, the gagging was too much. I worried constantly that my son would choke, and even though I know how to do the baby Heimlich, my mind always went to the worse case scenario.
With all that being said, the moral of this story is that every parent has their own personal limitations. I don’t feel bad that I couldn’t handle diving right into baby led weaning.
My son drinks water from a transition sippy cup. At nine months, he eats cold pressed, pureed baby food (a blend of organic fruits and veggies), and he loves eggs, salmon, and chicken, which I feed to him in tiny bites now that he has six teeth.
I did what was right for me, and he is happy, healthy, and thriving. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that we have to take care of ourselves as well. “Mom guilt” is not a myth! However, I’ve learned to find balance and try to keep in mind that worrying about being a good parent is what makes me a good parent.
The Food That Works for Me
FYI, if you do want to go the puree route, I went on a journey to find the best baby food. All organic. Free of toxic metals and ingredients. Click here if you’d like to read my post about Once Upon a Farm, cold-pressed baby food.