Monday, August 1, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

This is a post I've been meaning to write for months, but better late than never, right?

Baby-led weaning is a relatively new way of getting your baby to eat solid foods in preparation for weaning off milk or formula. It bypasses traditional baby foods, like purees, and jumps straight to regular table food. After several months of trying to get Anna to eat any decent amount of purees, I decided to start working with more of a BLW approach, and we've had a lot more success with it.

Basically, anything we eat, she eats. Some things I give to her in big, fist-friendly chunks for her to gnaw, and some things I cut up small for her. Although I do buy a bunch of stuff at the store specifically for her, I also will pull a lot of things right off my own plate to let her try. The important component of BLW is letting the baby feed herself...she can eat as much or little as she wants, but the important thing is to let her feed herself. It makes it easier on Momma - no spoons, no hand feeding - the baby handles it all!

(Anna's enjoying her baked squash sticks, courtesy of Mrs. Boyer! And yes, she's covered in avocado.)

We followed the four-day wait rule for foods listed on the High Allergy Risk list, but for things not listed on there, we just used our best judgment and lumped them in together.  We will avoid honey, peanuts/peanut butter, and shell fish until after she's a year old, but everything else is fair game. She's had salmon off of my salad, mushrooms off of my kebabs, even some cut-up spaghetti. It makes it pretty easy to feed her when we're out and about, because she just shares with me!

Some common sense is useful for BLW - some foods will need to be cooked in order to be soft enough to eat and not be a choking hazard. Foods like grapes and blueberries need to be cut up. Meats need to be cooked thoroughly and to the appropriate temperature. Definitely not rocket science, but it's stuff you need to think about when offering table foods!

For breakfast, she will usually have fruit, toast fingers, and sometimes a scrambled egg. Last weekend she tried a piece of turkey bacon and loved that too! If I make pancakes or waffles, she gets some with jam or puree spread on top.

For lunch, I give her a bunch of different veggies, and usually a little piece of cheese and turkey or ham. If I make something other than a cold-cut sandwich, I'll share with her, especially if it's something new for her. The other day, I made her a veggie and cheese quesadilla and gave it to her in strips - she loved it!

For dinner, it's veggies and meat again, but depending on what we're having for dinner, she will get some of that too.

 If you are curious about BLW and want to learn more, check out this site - it's fabulous, and gives food suggestions based on your baby's age. It also includes more resources about BLW.


Kathryn said...

Yay squash sticks! So cute!

Lisa Elaine said...

Yay! I want to do this as well. I'm a little nervous because of the high rates of food allergies in Ben's side of the family, though. I wish they had more conclusive information out there on introduction of food and allergies! Thanks for the resources!

Robin said...

Thanks for the post! I am thinking of going this direction too because Eva seems to be more interested in eating foods she can pick up and chew than foods that are being spooned into her mouth.