Health & Food

Baby Led Weaning, from 6 months to (almost) 1 year!

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Paige’s first sit down meal!

I’ll start by saying I’m no “baby feeding” expert, but I do feel as though my background in nutrition has really helped me with this whole baby food thing.  Who knew it could be so stressful?  With all of the information out there you might think that it would be easy (you can Google anything and get an answer) but I truly believe that with most things baby-related there is too much information out there and it’s overwhelming.  Today I want to take you through our experience with Baby Led Weaning and provide my personal tips and opinions on this method of feeding.  To look at my first couple posts about Baby Led Weaning, visit my BLW page.

Today Paige is 11 months old.  We started feeding her food at around six months (maybe a week before because I was so eager!).  I bought the book, which you can see in my first post, and found it very useful.  Truth be told, however, since that first month I really haven’t picked it up much.  Still, it was a comfort to have it around for random concerns and questions.Even though I wanted to do the full on “Baby Led Weaning” method, I still wanted to get more calories in Paige because she wasn’t really gaining much weight.  I figured a little puree wouldn’t hurt, even though the “true” way to do it says “NO PUREES!”.  I don’t regret that decision, and in fact I’m still feeding her purees to this day (see her feeding schedule below).One of the first foods we fed Paige was rice cakes with peanut butter.  Yes, I said peanut butter.   Just like her mommy and daddy, she was (is) hooked from the start.  We also gave her cooked beef strips, which felt nice on her teething gums.  She loved it.  She didn’t really eat/consume any, but instead she sucked on the juices for iron (and basically turned the beef into jerky).Then there was broccoli, oh how she adores broccoli!!  Sure, she mainly just chewed on it at first, but now she’s finally to the point where she is actually ingesting it whole (and I know she is….if you know what I mean.  wink wink).There could be ten things on her tray and she’d probably go for the broccoli.  That’s my girl!She also loved strawberries from the beginning, although I think we may have started her a bit too early because they are slightly acidic and may have contributed to diaper rash (not sure? Maybe? Maybe not?  Again, the internet tells me all sorts of things that sound right, but who knows?)It took us a little longer than it should have to realize that a) she needed a special bib that actually collected the foods she spilled (such as this Baby Bjorn Bib) and b) it was best for her to eat while naked, in a diaper.  In other words, BLW is a freaking mess!It’s nice to know that wherever we go, outside the home or in our backyard, there is almost always something that Paige will eat.  Even if I forget to bring food to a restaurant, we can always find something she will eat.  The most important thing is to make sure it’s something that isn’t too high in sodium.  That’s hard at restaurants, but they will almost always have steamed vegetables.Baby Bjorn makes the best bib! Now, at 11 months, Paige is a champ when it comes to eating, and the scariness (for me) has completely worn off.  It was definitely hard for me at first, because she would gag at almost ever eating occasion.  Obviously I would get nervous.  I even took a CPR class just in case (highlighy recommended).  Now I really enjoy watching her eat, with no worries.  The only thing I’ve noticed is that her pincer grip isn’t that great.  One of the “benefits” of BLW is that your baby will develop his/her pincer grip faster (using the thump and index finger to grab small objects). I think my intense fear every time she ate caused me to limit any small objects for way too long.  It wasn’t until she was about ten months old that I started feeding her small bites of foods like Cheerios.Things I Love About BLW

  • No need to make purees!
  • Paige learned to like a variety of different flavors and textures
  • I learned to get over my fear of gagging and choking and I felt comfortable pretty quickly with her eating whole foods (quicker than if we had only given her purees at first)
  • Paige can eat foods when we go to friend’s houses or restaurants
  • Paige enjoys feeding herself
  • I can get things done while she’s eating!  I typically stay very close by (obviously) and fill her bottles, do dishes, etc. while she’s just hanging out and eating

Things I Don’t Like About BLW

  • The mess.  Period
  • The initial anxiety over choking.  It haunted me in my dreams.

Things I Will Do Differently Next Time

  • Start later.  Paige wasn’t ready for solids until probably six and a half months.  I started too early and when she didn’t eat anything I freaked out/got anxious, per usual)
  • Get a dog.  By the time we have another baby, starting solids, we will have a dog who can do all the cleaning for us (I’m only partly joking)
  • Always make sure she is naked when feeding!  She’s ruined too many outfits
  • Don’t be afraid to give smaller pieces of food (I waited too long to start introducing small bites of soft foods like chunks of kiwi and small Cheerios). This way the baby can develop his/her pincer grip

Paige’s Favorite Foods, By Age

  • 6-8 months – cooked strips of steak (she just sucked on them to get the juices), broccoli, avocado rice cake and peanut butter
  • 8-11 months – tofu, salmon, tuna patties (see below), sweet potato, greek yogurt, banana, avocado

Great BLW Foods, Broken Down Into Food Groups:

Protein: Salmon, cod, tofu, egg, tuna patties (see below)

Fruits: Raspberry, strawberries, kiwi, banana, avocado

Veggies: Broccoli, broccoli, and more broccoli, and sweet potato and lately raw carrots

Grain:  Tortillas (with peanut butter smeared on top or pureed veggies smeared on top), rice cakes, Cheerios, whole grain toast, pizza crust, frozen bagels

Dairy:  Greek yogurt (plain, mixed with oats or in these frozen Greek yogurt bars), sometimes cheese but not a huge fan yet.

Paige’s Current Daily Diet/Routine

6:30am — 6 ounces breast milk

8am — 1/4 cup of oat cereal mixed with breast milk and either Greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin puree

11am — 6 ounces breast milk

12pm — BLW — Any of the foods listed above

3-4pm — 6 ounces breast milk

5pm — BLW — Any of the foods listed above

7pm – 2-3 ounces of breast milk, if she’s hungry (about 50% of the time)Click on the photo to get recipe for these tuna patties. I make them without the dip, for Paige. I choose light tuna, vs. Albacore (less mercury). You can also use salmon.

Have you had a good experience with Baby Led Weaning?  What are your questions?

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