After sharing my initial post on Instagram about baby-led weaning, I got so many questions! I realized that although baby led weaning is becoming increasingly popular, many of you still don’t know what it is or how it works! For this reason, I’ve decided to do a few posts on my site here about baby-led weaning.
It is my hope to shed some light on what baby-led weaning is about, why it’s beneficial, why we chose baby-led weaning, and how to get started. Remember though, our babies are precious. Anything we do with them needs to be cleared by your pediatrician, just to be sure! I’m not a doctor, after all. I’m just here to share my experience with you! Keep reading to find out why we chose baby-led weaning.
Why We Chose Baby-Led Weaning
Our Solids Experience With My First Child
Before I explain why we chose baby-led weaning, understand that baby led weaning has been around for a very long time! It just didn’t have this name. In fact, I accidentally did baby led weaning with my first child (now three). She hated solids when I started her on purees at six months. I fretted for months about why she didn’t like food, and wondered what I was doing wrong. My pediatrician even recommended feeding therapy to her around 9 months. I was devastated.
What I didn’t realize however, is that my baby didn’t have any teeth. She also didn’t like me spoon-feeding her. It weirded her out. I ended up giving up, and slowly just started giving her food off of my plate. There was no science behind it. No gimmick. I just let her eat when she wanted to. I didn’t prepare anything different for her (we ate plant-based, real, whole foods). It was so much more relaxing. Coincidentally, she got her first tooth in her ninth month! Pretty much from nine months on, she loved solids.
I was so mad at myself for getting so frustrated and for worrying for SO LONG. I realized what I had done wrong though. First of all, she preferred to feed herself. Second, she wasn’t ready when I started her at six months. Even though my pediatrician recommended we start, my daughter had zero interest. I should have listened to my mom gut. I knew that with our next child I would do things much differently.
Why We Chose Baby Led Weaning For Our Second Child
01. Spoon-feeding is an outdated approach to feeding.
I suggest you do your own research on spoon-feeding before starting baby-led weaning. But overall, try to imagine yourself in your child’s shoes. You’re sitting in your high chair, minding your own business, then someone puts a spoonful of some random food that you’ve never seen/smelled before. You’re supposed to like it. This experience is supposed to be fun, but it’s probably pretty confusing. When I am exposed to something new, I’m usually pretty uncomfortable. I want to check things out first. Give it some time. Take it slow. Why wouldn’t babies be the same way?
02. It’s easier on baby and caregiver.
Baby-led weaning is so much easier than making the homemade baby food I did for my first child. I had to steam, then puree the food. Then I had to store it properly. With my second baby, using baby-led weaning, I pretty much just hand her a veggie or something we are having from our dinner! It’s so much less prep/work, and way more relaxing.
03. You’re less likely to have a picky eater.
A relationship with food is something that lasts quite literally for a lifetime. You want it to be a good one. A positive one. Baby will be more interested in trying new foods if they’re in control from the very beginning.
04. You’re able to expose baby to a wider variety of foods and textures.
With baby-led weaning, your child is exposed to several types of food and textures. Not just pureed fruits and veggies. Most likely because you’re feeding them from your plate (or feeding them the same foods you’re eating).
Note: just be sure to leave off salt and sugar when you are cooking, as babies do not have mature kidneys, and cannot properly process that amount of salt and sugar. I usually just season our food after cooking it.
05. Baby can self-regulate.
This is the one that really did it for me when I was researching baby-led weaning, and whether it would work for our family. I’m the type of parent that prefers to let my children do things in their own time. We didn’t hurry my first child to stop breastfeeding. She self-weaned. Same with potty training. We waited until she was close to three. It’s more relaxing for our family and for our children if we let them do things in their own time. Why wouldn’t I take this same approach to solid food?
Reasons You Should NOT Try Baby-Led Weaning
Generally, baby led weaning is a great option for a wide variety of infants, however… there are some exceptions. If your child has a disability or has had trouble with solids in the past (i.e. feeding therapy, etc.) then I would definitely consult your physician before trying baby led weaning.
In this post, I share signs your baby might be ready to start baby-led weaning, so be sure to read that before starting.
Lastly, this is definitely a non-issue for me, but for some it’s a deal breaker. Baby-led weaning is messy. I usually strip Norah down to just her diaper, or put a Bapron on her to shield her clothing. Putting a towel or something down under her high chair helps too, but yes, it’s extremely messy! It messy isn’t your thing (newsflash — feeding a baby is messy anyway) then maybe reconsider trying baby led weaning!
Wondering how my toddler (3 years) is doing with food now?
Check out this post!
I hope that this post on why we chose baby led weaning was helpful to you! In my next post, I’ll share about the first two weeks with my baby and how it’s going so far!
Thank you so much for reading!