Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Infant Doesn’t Eat Baby Food: Baby Led Weaning 101

By: Christine Cox, The Choosy Mommy

Remember how little Cam was when he was born? All 4.14lbs of him came into this world 2 months early. I proudly plumped that tiny little boy up with breastmilk for the first 8 months of his life…and then he got teeth…and he got hungrier! So we switched things up a bit. I transitioned him to formula and upped his food intake. In fact, Cam didn’t want to eat pureed foods. Instead, he wanted to eat REAL food just like his sister! So I dove into the scary world of baby led weaning.

From some generic Googling, I discovered that baby led weaning meant just following your baby’s cues for what foods he can eat. Even though Cam only had 2 bottom teeth, he could use his gums to chew basically anything. So I started to get creative with the meals I prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner so that I made something that Cam could eat also. The boy LOVES to eat and it surely shows now that he is 21+lbs! He’s been called my little linebacker and I love that. You’d never know that he was the size of his head when he was born (at least that is how I remember him!)



So for those parents, and babies, who are interested in baby led weaning, here are my tips and suggestions on how to go about this and what foods to try:

Baby Led Weaning 101
  • Start slow. Always ask your pediatrician for suggestions if you are unsure. And during my trustworthy Google search, it said to not try baby led weaning until at least 6 months of age and make sure your baby is showing signs of wanting to eat what you are eating.
  • If your baby enjoys pureed foods, try adding one new finger food a day with the puree. Additionally, do this to ensure there are no allergies present.
  • Cut food into large enough pieces that the baby can manage to pick them up but small enough that he can chew and swallow easily. You’ll know what your baby can handle pretty quickly.
  • I’d also like to urge you to remember that babies have wonderful gag reflexes. During my Googling of baby led weaning, I noticed many parents worrying about babies choking on foods. I learned that babies gag reflexes are actually in the middle of their mouth instead of the back of the throat like adults. Their gag reflex is there for a reason! However, choking is still a risk, but I can tell you from experience that Cam never once choked on anything (knock on wood) and that if something happened to be too large or too hard for him to chew and he tried to swallow it anyways, he was able to spit it back up himself with no fuss.
  • Which leads me to vigilantly monitoring your baby when they are eating their finger foods. This is to not only ensure your baby is easily eating the food but to also help with getting food from plate to mouth. Your baby will likely drop everything he tries to pick up into the chair he is sitting on in the beginning. However, that will quickly change as he learns how to get that yummy food into his mouth! Babies will often first shovel food into their mouths and then acquire the skill to use their index finger and thumb to pick up food.
  • Yes it is going to get messy, but it is worth it! You can feed everyone the same meals, from infants to toddlers and adults, and not have to worry about buying or making baby purees ever again!


What Foods Should I Try?
So far, here are some things that Cam ate on his own. I made them a variety of ways (raw, steamed, boiled, baked, etc.) but they are always soft and cut into the perfect size for him.
  • Fruit
    • Bananas
    • Pears
    • Peaches
    • Mandarin oranges
    • Mangos
    • Strawberries
  • Vegetables
    • Green beans
    • Peppers
    • Cucumbers
    • Carrots
    • Broccoli
    • Potatoes
    • Tomatoes
    • Coleslaw
  • Other
    • Olives
    • Pickles
    • Pasta
    • Chicken
    • Beef
    • Pork
    • Fish
    • Rice
    • Cheese
    • Ham
    • Bread/toast
    • A variety of cereals
    • Eggs (scrambled and hard boiled)
    • Crackers
    • Hummus on any veggies
    • Pancakes/Waffles
I love knowing exactly what I am feeding to my children and teaching them to love healthy food at an early age. I hope by letting them explore foods early that they maintain a love for a variety of fruits, veggies and meats, and that it helps them to keep an open mind about trying new things as they get older.

Have you tried baby led weaning? What foods did your baby love to eat? I am always excited to have Cam try new things!


About the Author: Christine Cox is the blog master for Choosy Kids. She has always had a passion for writing and is honored to contribute her work to this blog. Most of her writing inspiration comes from her daughter, Capri, who is fun-loving and full of energy, and son Cam, who is learning new things every day! You can read more about Christine and her family at www.thechoosymommy.com or click here to learn more about her.

56 comments :

  1. My boys were both good eaters when they were babies. I am not sure what happened to my youngest, though - he is so picky now.

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    1. I believe as they get older their tastes change. They are also so "busy" doing other things that they just don't care to eat. Soon enough your boys will eat every single piece of food in your house and ask for more! :)

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  2. You have such great tips here for parents who are interested in baby led weaning!

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  3. Great tips! We are past this stage in our house but I remember these days very well lol

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    1. It most certainly isn't something you forget. But do your children still enjoy food like they did when they were Cam's age?

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  4. I remember the days. thanks for the memory. My youngest is now 24 and teaching me things. Enjoy them every minute you can.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful how the tables get turned in a positive way?

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  5. Your little Linebacker loves a good feed. I bet that is a relief. As I was reading I was thinking about the stress of chocking but you certainly covered that. I know mums are really busy, but having to sit down and watch bubs make a massive mess while eating is time stop and breath. Great article and tips.

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    1. Hi Rachel! Yes, it is quite stressful in the very beginning, but you learn to just let them eat and hope that they don't shove too much in at a time. I personally only put a couple pieces of food on Cam's tray at a time to ensure he doesn't put too much in at once.

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  6. We did baby led eating for our second kiddo. She eats so much more than my oldest (and variety too). Love this post!

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    1. That is awesome to know! I feel like with my first (now 3) that I hesitated to do things that I do with Cam now (like baby led weaning). But I also have a feeling that since he's a boy he's just going to eat anything and everything in my house! :P

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  7. I love that you made a list of what he's eaten! Smart mommy! Cute pictures, too!

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    1. Awe thanks! I can now add avocado to that list. He had that for lunch today and LOVED it!

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  8. These are all great tips. My daughter was not a picket eater much older now. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It is wonderful to hear that you have a good eater on your hands. So many parents struggle with this!

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  9. My third child wanted to eat "our food" early on too. We cut everything into small bites for her, and she never missed the purees. She loved green beans and fruits too! Around her first birthday, she was even spooning cereal out of the bowl for breakfast, just like her siblings.

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    1. I can't wait to give the spoon a try. But he isn't ready for that yet. Good job, mom!

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  10. Those are really good ideas for weaning. I love that you also used a lot of fruits, it's good to know what goes into your baby's food.

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    1. Thanks! We love fruits and veggies!!

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  11. Great tips. The twins actually liked purees, but I tried to introduce food slowly too. I did experience the gag reflex, but only on something they didn't like. :)

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    1. So do they like the same things? I've never thought about that with twins. I assume they have different likes as they get older, but what about when they were Cam's age?

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  12. nice to know all those infos! very useful for moms! at least that a long list of foods to eat!

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    1. Isn't it hard to believe he eats all of that? I know I didn't put everything either!

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  13. Great post, my cousin should see and read this since she will be mom. She wants to know everything about being moms, and how to take care more of babies.

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    1. Yes, Nicole! Please share with her. There's so much info out there!

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  14. Very good to know! To be honest I had never heard of this, but it makes sense. We had a rough time when my son began eating food, and looking back we should have done this.

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    1. Why did you have a rough time? Did he not like purees?

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  15. I will let my daughter read your post. She has small kids and she sometimes gets overwhelmed about what is right or wrong in raising kids. It is best to expose the kids to different tastes and textures early on in life so they don't grow up to be picky eaters.

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    1. I am a firm believer in what is right is always wrong for someone else and vise versa. I do what I feel is right for my children and I. I hope she doesn't stress herself out!

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  16. Really good tips and list! THe baby is so cute. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. I had the hardest time when it came to foods and my daughter. I had to sneak foods into things like eggs lol....

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    1. Girls are so different I feel like. Capri could still care less if she has a "meal" She is a snacker.

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  18. You are such a great mommy. Yes start them out eating healthy early. Loved your tips. I have a really cool juice maker that can make baby food as well. I always started with fruit.homemade baby food always tastes better. :)

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    1. I have a baby food maker too that I used a lot for Capri. It was nice to use the foods that I made for dinner and put it into that. But time is of the essence these days!! LOL!

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  19. Wow, he is a little tropper. 4.1 is so teeny weeny but look how he's grown!

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    1. Oh yes! He really has grown. Now he needs to crawl/walk because he's starting to kill my back!

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  20. That's interesting about the gag reflex being in the middle of the mouth. Like you said, that's a great precaution though. Parental supervision is a must regardless.

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  21. The main thing that scares me about weaning my child off milk is food allergies! Eek! I wish they could talk lol

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    1. Does your family have allergies? We don't so I didn't worry about allergies at all. I've read that most babies will start with a rash to show an allergy (remember, I am not a doctor, just a Google searcher) and that you could just wait a couple of weeks and try again.

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  22. When I was reading your post I was trying to recollect how I started weaning my child when she was an infant! I am positive I did some of the things you suggested! Wow! What a trip down memory lane!

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    1. Awe, I am so glad you had that flashback moment. How sweet.

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  23. My little guy never liked baby food too much either. He was more into the veggies and the fruits.

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  24. I'm going to pass this along to a friend of mine who could definitely use this post!

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  25. Too cute!! My SIL needs this desperately!

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  26. We've done Baby led weaning with BOTH my kiddos. It's so much easier than worrying about the quality of the baby foods, or making your own baby foods. So many great tips. Pinning this :)

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  27. Cam is so adorable! My daughter would eat anything-- fruits, veggies, bread.

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  28. Great tips you have here. Thanks for sharing.

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  29. While in the initial six months or so of an infant's life, they get all their sustenance from bosom milk or recipe feedings. Taking after that time period, the child's guardians for the most part pick infant nourishment for their minimal one. There is an extensive assortment of various sustenances to look over, including any semblance of various organic products, vegetables, and a great deal more.

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