In the month since I last provided an update on our Baby-Led Weaning efforts, a lot has happened in the culinary adventures of Arlo Redding. For one, BLW began to piss my kid off. We attempted steamed carrots, steamed green beans, pizza crust, sweet potato slices and like most babies, only very small amounts of food actually made it in his mouth. The problem was, Arlo REALLY liked the taste of food, and he wanted more than just a little taste here and there. There was more than one occasion where he would melt down in his chair, with him frantically shoving his fists in his mouth and smearing food across his face in frustration.
You know what else was really hard about Baby-Led Weaning? Watching my child bite off a big hunk of food and gag on it. Everything I read and everyone I know who has done it assured me that this was part of it and that babies will work it out on their own but it really freaked me out. I choked on a hotdog when I was around 4 years old and I remember the experience very clearly. I’ve had a fear of choking ever since and have been especially freaked out by the idea with my own children. Every time Arlo would move a big hunk of food around in his mouth, I’d sit right next to him, gripping the edge of his high chair with white knuckles and holding my breath. At the first sign of a gag, I’d have to fish it out with my finger. Turns out my nerves were just not up for BLW.
So here’s where we are now: Arlo gets two meals a day of pureed or mashed foods — fruits, veggies, grains — we’re going the same route we did with our daughter but, we’re really trying to continue to let Arlo learn to eat on his own by giving him foods that we are comfortable with him managing: puffs, steamed green peas, baked sweet potato slices. I feel like this is our best compromise.
I still really love the idea of Baby-Led Weaning and think it makes so much sense — it just didn’t work out for our family. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, maybe I should have given it one more week — but I’m also totally okay with going the puree route and gradually introducing solids. It worked well for our daughter, and I’m sure it will this time too. You win some, you lose some, and this little adventure taught me that sometimes, no matter how much something seems like a good idea, when it doesn’t work, it’s ok to admit it and find something that does.