As a first time mom, I would have never guessed that feeding a baby could be such a challenge! In the first few weeks of Audrey’s life, we had issues with feeding her. (You can read about that here.) We have since resolved that situation, and we have a happy healthy and plump 6 month old who is now ready to start eating solid food.
We knew we wanted to try baby led weaning well before it was even time to introduce solids to Audrey. It seemed like the most natural way to do it. Not to mention, I know a few wonderful mothers and babies who absolutely love it.
Baby led weaning sounds complicated, but it is actually extremely simple. Instead of introducing purees, you serve them actual pieces of food (usually cut into a way that is easy for the baby to hold), and they feed themselves. Crazy right?! One would think that a six month old wouldn’t be able to chomp down on a sweet potato stick with no teeth, but that is not the case (see video below). I was shocked with how well Audrey did with taking bites and even doing chewing motions!
Some of the benefits of introducing solids this way are:
- the baby determines how much they want to eat and at what pace thus lessening the chance for over-eating issues in the future
- less expensive (no need for purees)
- they work on their fine motor skills during mealtime by bringing food to their mouth
- they learn how to manipulate various textures of food
- you can essentially feed them what ever you have for dinner (there are guidelines to this)
- you dont have the “fuss” of purees – no choo choo train or airplane
For a great resource, check out this baby led weaning book.Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater
So all of that sounds wonderful, right?! There are really few cons to baby led weaning. One is that it is messy. The other is that there is a lot of gagging that occurs. Having done my research, I felt like I was fully prepared for this to happen. I learned that there is a major difference between the gag reflex and choking. Babys’ gag reflexes are closer to the front of their mouths, so they gag on things much easier. It is a safety mechanism, and as long as they are making noise then they are not choking. When babies actually do choke on something, they make no noise and have a look of terror on their face. (So scary to think about.)
This all brings us to our first week of BLW.
BLW has been interesting this past week. It is amazing to watch Audrey figure out food. It is, however, absolutely terrifying to see her gag on things. I know.. I know it is part of the process. But y’all, I cant get past it. And for that reason, we are taking a step back from BLW at the moment. I will admit, it is not her, it is 100% me.
Instead, we are going to introduce purees and work our way up through the different textures (chunky puree, fork smashed food and finally finger food). We are going to let Audrey determine the pace, meaning that we will give her purees but also offer chunky textures to her as well. When she gets the chunky textures down, we will offer that and fork smashed food. When she gets the fork smashed food down, we will offer that and finger foods. This way, she will continually be offered the opportunity to move her way up to more solid textures.
My hope is that there will be more enjoyment (for both her and us), and less gagging. We will see what happens!
As new parents, we often feel like we are wingin’ it! This is the perfect example of just that. haha. Every baby is different, as well as every parent!