Congratulations on entering a new and exciting phase with your child! Your baby has spent the past six months getting all of their nutrients from milk and are now ready to enter the exciting world of people food! Now it’s time for you to decide what path you’ll take on this fun journey.
One Mom’s Experience
We stuck with jarred purees with my first child. I knew nothing of the baby-led weaning movement and figured that’s what everyone else was doing. Our oldest loved his food and quickly moved from jars to thicker oatmeals and, eventually, onto solids.
Second time around, I did more research and decided to go the baby-led weaning route. It was certainly easier to give our baby food directly from our plates! He ate what we ate, with some slight modifications based on the current recommendations. Not only was it great practice for him to pick up various foods in his little fingers, but he was also being exposed to more flavours and textures than he otherwise would have.
By the time our third child came around, there was no question about it – we were definitely baby-led weaning people! The convenience and cost savings convinced us it was the way to go in our home.
Wondering how to start the baby-led weaning process with your little one? It’s really not that complicated.
Tips To Begin Baby-Led Weaning
Many parents fear that their child will choke on solid foods, but if you are careful to start with items that are very soft, or cut and shredded into small pieces, they will likely be just fine. And remember, there’s a big difference between gagging (that’s their natural reflex) and actual choking!
You want your baby secured happily in their highchair when introducing a new food. Try to avoid times when they’re tired or overly cranky. Make sure there aren’t any distractions for both you and them, such as a TV or phone.
My favourite items to start with are boiled vegetables, shredded meats and fish, hard boiled eggs, and diced up fruit. Avocados are a great first food because they’re super soft and babies love to squish them! Cheese slices are easy to handle and make a great snack with crackers. Mashed potatoes are a blast and make an excellent side dish for adults and kids alike!
Iron-rich foods are important at this age, so feel free to help them along when it comes to items like yogurt or oat cereals. But don’t worry about how much of the food is actually making it into their mouth. Up until one year of age, eating is just practice for your little one and you don’t want to force it. If they push the item away or turn their heads, try again a few days later. There is no rush! They’ll slowly take in more as the months progress. And remember, you’ll still be topping them up with breastmilk or formula.
Baby-led weaning can be a messy phase, so make sure you’ve got a wet cloth (and your camera) handy! And maybe be prepared for a few extra baths…
Relax and enjoy the process!
Carolyn Bechard is a wife and stay at home Mother currently residing in the Fraser Valley of Vancouver. A lover of travel and community, she hopes to inspire other parents to live their best lives through her site, momentsinmommyland.com.