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Baby-Led Weaners, I Need Your Advice!

By Jacinda |

A few weeks ago I posted a little video of Gordon’s first “meal” and most of you were all… “baby cereal is so 2007, Baby-led weaning is the only way to go.

I was able to ignore your advice for a while because, well, I hate to be told what to do, but curiosity got the best of me and I picked up a copy of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods – and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater over the weekend. I am completely sold. The whole concept makes perfect sense to me. So, Baby Led-Weaners, my question is… What was the first food you tried? How do I jump in to Baby Led Weaning? I’m excited to start but also a little nervous. Tell me what to do Mamas!!

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About Jacinda

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Jacinda

Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding partner of Prudent Baby, the premier DIY destination for crafty moms seeking ways to make their lives even more stylish and beautiful. She can also be found on Take 10 with Jaime and Jacinda and contributing to Babble Home. Read bio and latest posts → Read Jacinda Cannon's latest posts →

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24 thoughts on “Baby-Led Weaners, I Need Your Advice!

  1. Julie says:

    Avocado was a huge hit with mine. Don’t have much experience as of yet, but bananas have also gone over well, watermelon, raspberries, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. All this with no teeth yet! LOL Good luck!

  2. Lauren says:

    Julie, how much (if at all) did you mash those up? BLW sounds very interesting, I’m trying to learn more!

  3. Melanie says:

    You can really give anything which is why it is so great. I think the first food we gave Charlotte was mashed avocado on toast. But here are some other foods she enjoys (she is now 9 months, but we started at 6 months):
    Pita with hummus (just make sure you give them toasted bread or it gets stuck on the top o their mouth)
    Baked apples or pears- bake so they are soft, but still stay together so they can hold them. Remove the skin!
    Baked sweet potato or squash- same as above. We cut our into “fries” so she could hold onto one end.
    Broccoli- steamed, perfect because they can hold onto the stem. My daughter would suck on a piece for like 30 min.
    Melon- I just cut a notch in the side so it is easier to hold onto.
    Meat- I know it sounds crazy, but we would give her big pieces of meat to suck on. She never swallowed any that young, but she got the nutrients.
    Pasta- always a favorite.

    You don’t have to make a special meal for the baby either. Just pick out pieces from your dinner. Last night, I made chicken tacos with a side of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, and onions. I pulled some of the cooked chicken out before I added the taco seasoning for the baby. And she had the sauteed veggies- and they were spicy (I added crushed red pepper). Don’t be afraid to season. Sorry this was so long!

  4. joanna says:

    My six month old started with avocado (Beware, it’s messy! And, it’s easier for him to pick up the pieces if you leave the skin on.) Mango, cantaloupe, and cucumber have also been successes. Cut things in the shape of wedges or french fries so the baby can hold the food in their fist and still have some sticking out to gnaw on.

    Although it’s not “official” BLW policy, I’m still avoiding allergenic foods (like grains, strawberries, watermelon, dairy) because there’s a history of food allergies in my family.

  5. Mary says:

    I really wanted my daughter to love avocado but she had other plans. We loved small pasta, like the half elbows, and some diced carrots plus a little low sodium broth. Sweet potato fries with a little cinnamon were her favorite.

  6. Carrie says:

    I’m sure you’ve already done it, but a google search for baby-led weaning will turn up a bunch of sites dedicated to this method. They are perfect for asking these questions and have lots of other advice too.

  7. Jennifer says:

    My daughter’s first food was steamed broccoli, at 7 months. We fed her basically everything we ate – whole single foods at first (without sauces & seasonings), but pretty quickly moved to just whatever.
    No whole nuts or hard fruits or grapes or raisins due to choking hazard, of course, but other than that, we gave her things as we felt she was ready. We have no history of food allergies, and the allergy-avoidance recommendations have changed – APA now says not to wait on anything due to allergy fears unless you have family history – so now at 21 months, she’s had pretty much everything out there, and feeds herself mostly successfully.

  8. Morgan says:

    Avocado, banana, over steamed broccoli, carrots, and squash were all big hits with my little girl!!

  9. Melanie says:

    My daughter will be 7 months old tomorrow, and we did BLW right from the get go. I have to admit that it has made us all eat a bit better! It has been fun to go to the Farmer’s Markets and pick out whatever is organic and in season. She has had avocado, all kinds of melon, blueberries, grapes (cut in half), apples (peeled and sliced – bit hit when she is teething!), cucumber spears, sliced cherry tomatoes, hummus, guacamole, salsa, black beans (smooshed a little), sweet potatoes, squash, etc. Haven’t done any meat yet, but she did grab a handful of scrambled egg off my plate and loved it. Have to admit, it makes a lot more sense than the spoon feeding I did with my twins!!

  10. Helen says:

    We LOVE baby led weaning. Nothing provokes outrage from our 9-mo old more than us eating something she’s not having. Consequently, she’s already had indian, chinese, thai, lots of lovely garlicky stuff – she ate her first caperberry at the weekend. Yum! Roasted veges are good as they’re pretty soft and tasty. Lots of fruit. We also pre-load a spoon and give it to her with things like mashed potato, soup (guide it in or it goes everywhere), risotto, yogurt etc.
    Humous is fantastic ‘glue’ for holding things like couscous or quinoa together into grabable lumps. Thai sticky rice is easier for her to eat than basmati or rice which doesn’t ‘clump’.
    I was a bit obsessed about salt to begin with, but most of what we eat is home cooked anyway, and I don’t add salt when I’m cooking. Even stock is reasonably low salt, especially when you consider how little of it they’re going to eat.
    She also loves sucking/gumming on pieces of meat and enjoys fish too. In fact, there’s nothing she won’t eat, except banana – I think that’s a texture thing though.
    Have a fun time with it. We do!

  11. Rakel says:

    We did (do) blw with my 17 mo and have loved it! First foods were bananas (she took the whole nanner – way easier to hold), steamed broc, toast in strips. It’s made life a good bit easier. Sold a fancy baby food maker without so much as ever plugging it in. Best advice is don’t rush or stress and just let them sample at their will. One day some will get swallowed!

  12. Jennifer H. says:

    Woohoo, baby led weaning! We did avocado first. Sam LOOOOOVED it, still does. It’s a perfect first food! Then we moved to sweet potato w/ cinnamon…. MMM… we then just gave him whatever healthy stuff we were having for the meal (I only used “baby food” on nights when we were eating naughty… i.e. pizza or junk, LOL). Table food has been the best for us.

  13. Kristine says:

    We did a hybrid. Started with rice cereal and peas but quickly moved into avocado, banana, watermelon. Next was tofu, toast with cream cheese. Then into cheese, cooked veggies I never mashed anything except the first serving of avocado. My daughter loves to feed herself. I still gave her traditional baby food once a day, just to make sure she was getting enough fruits/veggies.

  14. Julie says:

    To answer your question earlier, Lauren, we didn’t mash anything. I did cut things so he could hold them, but that’s it.

  15. Rachel says:

    http://www.babyledweaning.com is a great site.
    I’ve done BLW twice now, and I love it. Once you’re started, you just give them anything at all!
    To begin with, sticks of something softish are a nice beginning, so they have enough to grab.
    Avocado, steamed carrot batons, steamed broccoli, banana, salt-free bread are all good things to start with. Remember it’s all about textures and colours and playing, and ignore anyone who talks about mush or mashing, and esp anyone who asks how much your baby is eating!
    Enjoy!

  16. Rae says:

    we went this way as well….and I can honestly say I don’t think I’d have it any other way. We tried oatmeal and such with her but she had no interest what so ever once she saw we weren’t eating it. Now the kid eats pretty much everything we do, and rarely has she turned her nose up at something. Last night, she was demanding from me the buffalo spiced pretzel chips I was eating after getting home from a late flight…and only briefly objected to the spice.

  17. Leigh Anne says:

    I heart BLW! Did it w/ my now 2yo and plan to do it w/ my 3mos old when she gets old enough for solids. Just makes sense! I did many of the fruits/veggies that were mentioned. Avocado wedges w/ the skins on are much easier. Roasted carrot spears & sweet potato wedges & butternut squash wedges in the oven. I’d just stick them in the fridge and use the extras for the next few meals. One thing I used ALOT of was just plain old unsalted whole grain rice cakes. Break them into fist sized pieces and spread w/ what ever your heart desires! Yogurt, almond butter, avocado, banana, hummus, the possibilities are endless. My LO loved ‘em! The rice cakes also make great “on the go” snacks when they are just starting BLW and might not have the pincher grasp down yet. They get kinda soft when baby starts to chew on them, but don’t make a giant mess. HTH! and enjoy the ride!

  18. Janelle says:

    How funny, this is how I’ve fed all five of my kiddos (youngest is 9 1/2 mo) – but I didn’t know it had a name or a following! I just know I have always gotten the “stink eye” from those doing the traditional baby food route. NOW, I can tell them it is a legitimate parenting style and not just me going rouge (as in so many other things)

  19. Amanda H says:

    Yay! I did this with my daughter as well. She is 26 months now and eats like a “grown up”! Of course she likes “kid food” {aka junk} too, but given a choice she would eat brown rice & beans over chicken nuggets, & tomatoes or cucumbers over french fries! {Yes I have mama pride! ;) } I can’t remember exactly what I started with but I do remember using a list {which was in a magazine article} as a refrence of foods to introduce in the first year. I do remember it had a huge variety of fruits & vegetables! My daughter loved (and still does) avacado, banana, mango ,tomatoes, blueberries, green beans, peas, carrots,strawberries, asparagus… etc!!! The only veggie I can think of that she doesn’t LOVE is corn, but she is starting to eats that as well… As far as “mashing” goes I would just make it lumpy so she still got to practice the chewing motion {really tounging at this point}. I do remember reading that if you can still see the actual “food” in the stool then it isn’t mashed enough… I also still used spices in the food {easy on the salt though} so she got some “flavors” she has never shied away from food that is “spicy” or seasoned. It makes life easier that’s for sure, not to mention healthier! Good luck & I hope you have a great eater like mine!

    Amanda

  20. sarah s says:

    Reading this made me look into blw and I am so totally all about it! I bought to book and have been reading it on our so cal vacation. It makes perfect sense. The advice came at a perfect time. My daughter is 4 months and we were just told to start purees at her last appt. I’m glad I new better than to start this early but even more happy that I came across this info! I think this method will work perfectly for us!

  21. tanis alexis says:

    hooray for BLW! I have a precocious 22 month old who loves most food. She ate some super garlicky eggplant caviar last ngiht and I was in awe. Awesome!!!! she eats lots of food that most kids wouldn’t and I think that’s because I am one to insist on her eating what we eat. I don’t like the concept of making separate meals for my little one. I think long term, it might create a pickier eater..(and well, I’m lazy..haha)
    babe is still on the boob. a boob lover in fact. and it’s been a tiny bit trying some days. we’ve worked out the removal of the nap time boob, but still likes to bfeed when she goes to bed. so I nurse her, and then either I or babe’s dad comes in to lie down and put her to sleep. but there is NOTHING that can compare in terms of comfort and security to me nursing her when she’s had a bad fall or is in pain. and that says everything to me. :) :) best wishes.

  22. Vic says:

    BLW has been one of the best decisions I made! Definitely go for it. I started with overly steamed veggies (carrots, zucchinis, broccoli), and also cold things like cucumber sticks because Violeta was teething when we started.
    At the start she did gag a fair bit but never choked on anything, and to be honest for the first month or two it was really more playing than eating, but as long as you’re still breastfeeding that’s fine. Oh, and semi-clean bones (like a lamb rib or a steak bone) keep them busy for HOURS!
    I did do a one-day first aid course before starting purely to help me relax, but after seeing other mums feeding their kids mush I really BLW is actually safer in terms of choking. (You have to practice a big fake smile while they gag… you grin and say “Cough it up, chicken” and imitate coughing up your food, and they copy, and that’s that, anything she didn’t want in there afterwards she just spat out!)
    And BLW is sooooo much more relaxing: we’ve all eaten together as a family since she was 7 months (she’s 14 months now), no battles, no stress, no worrying all the time about how MUCH she ate (surely there’s a lesson there for us mamas, too…) There are days when she’s not interested in eating much, but that’s fine.
    Like the book says, there are suddenly moments when they make vast leaps forward – you just realize one day that they are eating loads by themselves, or that they can handle different things. I held off with things containing gluten for a few months on the pediatrician’s advice, and I basically avoid dairy too, but I generally just give her whatever we’re having (including spices, strong flavours, garlicky stir fries, everything except strong chili – well, she insisted on trying once but protested a lot). AS a result of that, we’ve started eating much better too (yes, I made sugar-free black bean brownies instead of the real kind the other day… who’d have thought it!)
    The bottom line: BLW is natural, fun, and easy… what’s not to like?
    Buen provecho!

  23. Krista says:

    I had the opportunity to interview Gill Rapley, author of Baby Led Weaning for a New Moms, New Babies podcast.(linked below). I encourage anyone interested in BLW to listen and enjoy. Some of the ideas made me a little bit nervous, but our daughter has been very successful, and at 15 months, she is a great eater. I happily agree with Vic… it’s natural, fun and easy!
    http://newmomsnewbabies.com/baby-lead-weaning-with-gill-rapley/

  24. led spotlight says:

    good

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