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!
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.
- Mandarin oranges
- Green beans
- A variety of cereals
- Eggs (scrambled and hard boiled)
- Hummus on any veggies
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.