I’ve been trying to write this post for quite awhile now. I’ve had countless questions about Norah and her baby-led weaning experience. You can read more about why we chose baby-led weaning this time in this post here.
So far I’ve shared when we knew it was time to get started, and how we got started. I shared a few resources and our favorite high chair in this post. Now I’m sharing the fun part! Norah’s actual experience with baby-led weaning. (Spoiler alert: It was a great experience!) Keep reading to see her first reaction to food, some of her favorite meals, and more!
Our Baby-Led Weaning Experience | The First Two Weeks
Baby-Led Weaning: The First Two Weeks
So now that all the groundwork is laid out, and the prep is done. It’s time to get started! Here is how our first two weeks of baby-led weaning went! I include photos of the foods and descriptions of the first few instances, to help you get an idea of how it may go. (Though remember this is just my experience and every child is different!)
MEAL ONE: BROCCOLI AND GREEN BEANS, STEAMED
Norah’s first exposure to food was broccoli. I knew I wanted it to be a bitter food; not something sweet in order to prime her for not wanting sweet things all the time, haha! So, I prepared the food. We steamed it for a few minutes, then let them cool and during dinner we set the food in front of her. (Note: as part of the groundwork for getting her ready to eat with us, she sat in her high chair during dinner without any food in front of her for a few weeks, this way she was used to sitting there and that wasn’t new in and of itself.) Anyway, it was adorable how she looked at the food. She stared at it for a few seconds. Then looked at me. Then she picked it up!
She started to bring it to her mouth and just started sucking on the broccoli! It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Haha. (Note: when preparing, I made sure to leave the stem at least 3 inches long so she had a “handle” to hold onto.) She seemed to really like the taste, and kept making little noises (which from what I’ve read means they’re happy and discovering the foods) as she sucked on it. She started out as a very noisy eater. After sucking on the broccoli for awhile, she eventually had taken off all of the “tree” part, and just had the stem left. I took it from her, and left her with another piece of broccoli and some green beans. She did the same thing with the broccoli again. And even tried the green beans.
A FEW NOTES ABOUT NORAH’S FIRST EXPOSURE TO FOOD:
01. She gagged.
This is the one thing I was dreading about Norah’s first exposure to solids. Especially with baby led weaning. I was super afraid she would gag. And she did. I held my breath, and tried to keep calm, and it was all okay! She was just getting any pieces that were too big out of her mouth. I did read up on gagging versus choking a bit, so read through this article before you start BLW and it will help you feel more prepared!
02. She didn’t eat much.
Two little trees of broccoli isn’t much food. And even then, she barely swallowed any. But that’s okay. The beginning of solid introduction is just about showing baby how to eat! It doesn’t matter how much or little they consume. So don’t get too hung up on that!
03. She totally knew how to “chew” and it blew my mind.
I have a video of this, and it seriously makes me cry to think about. It was such a wonderful feeling to watch her little mouth “chew” her food. She moved her food around in there with her gums, and felt so ready and confident in her ability. This was such a success for us both. I was able to allow her to wait until she was truly ready. And she was able to succeed Because I didn’t rush her!
PHOTO 1 IS BEFORE SHE STARTED / PHOTO 2 IS THE AFTERMATH (see below)
MEAL TWO: CARROTS, STEAMED
Looking back, I would probably cut those large carrots into quarters instead of halves like I did, but Norah loved the taste of steamed carrot. This veggie is sweet, and she could tell. She made a funny face, but from my research I know it doesn’t meant she doesn’t like a food. It just means that she is growing accustomed to the flavor. Overall, meal 2 was a success, and there was no choking! She just got tiny little bits of the carrot, and did eat them, because I noticed then in her diaper the next day. Haha!
PHOTO 1 IS BEFORE SHE STARTED / PHOTO 2 IS THE AFTERMATH (see below)
MEAL THREE: ASPARAGUS AND GREEN BEANS, STEAMED
So by this point we are a week in. I didn’t feed her every day, consistently. Mostly because I hadn’t prepped for that. My recommendation is to prep food at the beginning of the week (at least in the beginning) and serve it to them with your meals, if it’s something they can’t eat. Norah loves cold veggies, so I just serve them to her after steaming them. They usually keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.
Anyway, meal three was success. Though, I noticed that she wasn’t fond of the texture of the green bean skins. They seemed to bother her, so she wasn’t into them. She loved the asparagus tops though, which was fascinating to me since it’s such a bitter flavor. I also noticed that she is a chewing pro. Babies really are meant to “gum” their food. So, if your child doesn’t have teeth, don’t worry! Their gums are strong. Norah didn’t need teeth chew at all!
MEAL FOUR: BUTTERNUT SQUASH, STEAMED (AND MORE BROCCOLI)
By this point, Norah is a mega fan of broccoli. It’s easy for her to hold, and she seems to really love the flavor. It’s adorable. We steam some butternut squash and serve it to her in a “stick” shape so she can try it. I don’t think I cooked it long enough because it wasn’t very easy for her to “chew”, so she wasn’t super into it. Looking back now, though, months later, she does love butternut squash. I can see how parents stop serving foods after giving it to their kids once, but really, try not to do this! Serve them foods many times. They cannot form opinions about them instantly. It takes 15-20 exposures to a food, at LEAST!
MEAL FIVE: AVOCADO AND CUCUMBERS, RAW
Raw cucumber became one of Norah’s favorite things to eat. She wouldn’t eat the skin, but rather gnawed on the flesh. It was great for teething gums! We tried these foods together to see how she would react, and sure enough she loved them. The cucumber was easy for her to eat, and to hold. However, she had a hard time gripping the avocado. I’ve seen parents mash it up into guac then give it to their child on a loaded spoon (child holds it), or you can leave the skin on the outside of half of the avocado as a “grip” for them. I tried this for Norah and it worked well. Avocados are super high in fats and easy to serve to your kiddo too, so give those in plentiful amounts!
MORE FOODS WE TRIED IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS
Chickpeas – they were a bit difficult for her to pick up.
Black beans – they were a bit difficult for her to pick up.
Banana – I left the peel on the banana, and handed it to her and she went to town!
Mango – this was her second fruit, and it’s a soft, fleshy one, so she was super into it. It was also easy for her to eat in a spear.
Zucchini – I steamed some zucchini, and cut it into spears. She loved the flavor and ate so much of it.
Sweet potato – She doesn’t really like that sweet potatoes are super mushy. But she does eat them sometimes. Haha. she likes mushy things potatoes better cold.
Hummus & Naan bread – I gave her some hummus on her plate, some fresh cucumber and some naan bread. I showed her how to dip the foods into the hummus and eat it, and she totally mimicked me! It was adorable, and she loved the flavor of the hummus! It’s one of her favorite lunches now! I gave her naan bread and not regular bread because it’s mild and free of allergens and/or lots of ingredients. It’s also easy to cut into slices for dipping, and holds up well. She just gnawed on it until it was soft enough to swallow!
I hope this post about our experience with baby-led weaning has been helpful to you! It’s been such a fun topic to write about and research. If you have any questions, let me know, and I’ll be happy to chat with you!
Thank you so much for reading!