Like all things baby related, when you hit a new milestone, you research like crazy to figure out what’s best, what to do, what’s recommended…. it’s exhausting and intimidating. Feeding and solid foods are no exception!
When we hit Solid Food time with our daughter at 6 months, I came across Baby Led Weaning and thought it sounded like fun, but I wanted to modify the concept to fit our everyday lives.
I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog that we’re doing this, and received some questions. So, for all you new moms out there, doing the same research I did about 4 months ago, let me walk you through what we did. It may work for your baby when the time comes, or it may not.
Aren’t babies fun and fickle?
There are also SO MANY blog posts and YouTube videos that help explain this. I spent a lot of time reading, and here’s what I found helpful:
- This great summary blog post on Hellobee.com
- The Baby Led Weaning book and cookbook. But, I found the cookbook more helpful in figuring out what is ok to feed the baby. Most of the info in the main book can be found online.
- Baby Led Weaning: A Real Food Approach to Feeding Your Baby from Nourished Kitchen
- 10 Tips for Starting Baby Led Weaning from mummyinprovence.com
- Getting Started with Baby Led Weaning from Hellobee.com (they have MANY posts on their blog about this. Definitely read through them all!)
So why did we choose BLW instead of starting with traditional pureed foods?
The first and biggest reason was I was lazy. I figured if I had to prepare the food to either steam or roast, I didn’t want to go to the extra step of pureeing. Totally lazy.
Second, if my daughter had to get used to eating texture at some point, I figured we should start from the beginning. (Of course, this only works in theory if your baby doesn’t mind texture!)
And finally, our daughter just seemed to have the personality for it. She was independent and curious. I knew neither of us would have much patience with spoon feeding.
But, like most things with a baby, babies learn to eat differently. Some are picky eaters, others aren’t. Some have a hard time with texture, others don’t! While you may think BLW is the best thing ever for your baby, your baby may not think so. Just experiment and see what works best for you and your baby! Purees or BLW, it’s all good!
What were some of your daughter’s first foods?
Here is where I feel like we started to drift away from BLW. Instead of just diving in with any ol’ food, I followed the more traditional philosophy of feeding vegetables first and then fruits, but it was just a more accelerated timeline. Instead of trying one new food for a week, we just did it for a few days. And instead of sticking to only one food at a time, we tried several things at once (like sweet potatoes and carrot one day, avocado and blueberries the next).
To prepare the foods, I just cut the veggies into sticks and roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil, instead of steaming/pureeing. I also wanted her to experience the spoon at least once a day and know how to eat off of it. BLW is messy, and if we’re out to eat or at someone’s house, it’s easier to clean up after spoon feeding than BLW.
Some of my daughter’s favorite first foods for the first month were:
- Sweet Potato
- Oatmeal with applesauce
Once we hit about 7 months, and her grasp started getting better, I started introducing other foods, like full fat yogurt, scrambled egg, shredded cheese, canned or cooked dried beans and other grains. This is where the “eat what we eat” style of BLW came in. If I was making us something for dinner, I’d either feed her the dinner as is (like pasta with a simple sauce and veggies) or pull out the ingredients for her to eat separately (like black bean enchiladas – I would set aside plain black beans for her to eat, along with avocado).
What’s a typical food day?
Now that my daughter is 10 months old, she eats 3 meals a day, and one snack. Some days she wolfs down the food; other days she just picks at it. Doesn’t really matter! “Food before one is just for fun!”
Here is an example of a typical day of food for her:
- Breakfast: 6 oz formula in bottle (what isn’t finished goes in her sippy cup for the meal); 1 egg, scrambled; handful blueberries or other fruit; shredded cheddar cheese
- Lunch: 4 oz formula in sippy cup; Hummus (spoon fed) and pita bread (torn up into small bites); Roasted sweet potatoes
- Snack: 4 oz formula in sippy cup; full fat yogurt (spoon fed); fruit of some sort
- Dinner: 4 oz formula in sippy cup; canned black beans; avocado; bits of tortilla
- Bedtime: 6 oz formula in bottle (normally eats 4ish)
I was surprised that I actually STILL have a hard time thinking of things for her to eat. I thought the advantage to BLW was that they ate what you ate, so easy! But thinking of things that aren’t too spicy, or too salty, or too sweet can be a challenge. And things that are soft and toothless baby friendly!
Any favorite feeding gear you recommend?
Feeding gear was one category I completely overlooked when preparing our baby registry. Here are some of the things that have made our lives easier when we moved to solids:
- An easy-to-clean high chair
- Plastic, rinsable bibs that roll/fold up easily for travel
- Baby Spoons
- Rinsable Place Mat for on the go eating
- Plenty of little containers or zip lock bags to carry snacks/food around
- A pack of wipes at the ready
Are you in the throws of solid feeding yet? Any tips for new moms out there, whether you’re doing BLW or purees?? Share them!