What is baby led weaning? What does it mean? Does it mean my baby will wean off breastmilk/formula? Why is it good? Why is it bad? Should I do it? What if I don’t? How do I do it? What should I feed?
These are ALL valid questions we have nowadays when it comes time to introduce our baby to solids.. So here I am to share my experiences with you!
What is BLW & what does it mean?
In a nut shell baby led weaning means, babies feed themselves (vs you spoon feeding) in the weaning process (6-12 months) where solids become more and more prominent in their nutrition.
Will my baby be weaning off of breastmilk or formula?
Yes and no, when we start to incorporate solids we are beginning the slow and subtle weaning of breastmilk/formula to increase solids over a period of 6 months or more.
Why is good?
BLW helps with fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, it helps with chewing and learning to move foods around the mouth vs going from swallowing milk to swallowing vegetables. Babies are exposed to multiple textures besides essentially liquids, your baby will be an independent eater vs you having to sit in front of them and spoon feed every meal (you will still obviously need to be with them but you’ll have some degree of freedom).
Why is it bad?
I recently learned some professionals believe it leaves room for nutritional deficiencies. Call it mom instinct but I’ve always preferred to find balance and do purees along with BLW. On any note always remember.. FOOD BEFORE ONE IS JUST FOR FUN. Babies main source of nutrition before 12 months will always be breastmilk/formula.
Should I do BLW?
This is such a personal decision, do whats right for you and your family. When I started Alessandro on solids I had every intention of doing BLW but since I was working I chose to do purees and did self feeding in the evenings that I was home earlier, or just less tired etc.
What if I don’t do BLW?
DONT WORRY! Babies will eventually 1. feed themselves and 2. Eat finger foods
How do I do it?
The idea is to feed fruits and vegetables that are easily mashable (naturally or by cooking) between two fingers. this means baby will likely smoosh smack swish and throw food everywhere and maybe lick one finger worth of the disaster. This article gives some good information on how to be successful with BLW, but one thing i will say is YOU CANNOT RUSH IT. Normally as first time moms we are so excited for milestones that we want to introduce solids ASAP, but with baby led weaning sitting up and neck controls are crucial to being successful. Since Aria isn’t sitting unassisted yet, I have been doing mainly purees but also introducing her to the textures with this nifty silicone feeder by BOON. I chose this over mesh because mold and bacteria won’t grow/stick to the silicone.
Here are some good starter foods:
Lastly, here are some articles that further explain baby led weaning how to cut cook and serve etc.