Baby Led Weaning: Safely and Easily

Baby-Led-Weaning

As a mother, there’s nothing I have more ‘interesting’ memories of than of baby-led weaning with my first born. And for those of you who may not know, baby-led weaning is basically the transition for our little ones to not rely on breast-milk, rather they begin to eat real foods along with the rest of the family.

So as I’m sure you can imagine, the first time doing this basically means food scattered across the room (and on the walls), plates on the floor, gagging, crying, hair pulling; oh yes, it truly is a joyous occasion that all parents should look forward to. Actually, I bring this topic up today because my husband and I have just begun doing this with my second little girl this past week. And it’s safe to say, it’s not going too well. But honestly, that’s okay! When I first began baby-led weaning with my first daughter, it was a long, stressful, and frustrating process. But now that I am on daughter #2, I realized, it doesn’t have to be that way, and I really shouldn’t rush it. After all, it’s another memory with our babies and a truly exciting moment for them and for us as they venture on their way of growing up (but my babies are never allowed to grow-up and move out. Nope. I’ve already decided!).

So for today’s post, I want to give you a brief overview of what you can expect to happen when you begin baby-led weaning, and why you should cherish these moments rather than get frustrated by them!

1. Like All Good Things, It’s Going To Take Time 

First Baby Weaning Image

The most important thing you need to remember about this process is that it is going to be in the works for a while, and you need to be extremely patient with your child during this time. This is a big transition not only for you, but especially for them.  But just remember, no matter how long it may take, don’t rush. As I mentioned above, I learned this with my first child and regret getting so frustrated and disappointed that things weren’t going at the speed I expected. My husband used to have to step in and remind me that the baby is indeed just a baby, and needs to learn these things before anything else. My husband and I would switch out who would feed our baby in order to keep our sanity, and it must’ve worked because our first born feeds herself all on her own now. Ultimately, enjoy the ride, because they are not in this spot for very long, and it is important to cherish every moment of it (plus, you get to haunt them with the embarrassing messy baby photos for the rest of their life, so who’s the real winner?).  

2.  Messy Encouragement?

2nd image messy baby

To be honest, I’m the kind of mom that gets a bit OCD when I notice any sort of mess (even tiny crumbs on the counter. Gosh, that’s so annoying, isn’t it? And we all know who’s to blame… the hubby, of course!). But what you need to be full prepared for is just that – a mess.

Since our babies aren’t used to eating this way, they are going to throw food around, cover themselves and their face with it, and knock off any dishes you may use. For this reason, I would strongly suggest just using the built-in trays on a highchair to avoid this specific problem. But no matter what you do, remember to encourage your baby when they ‘do good’ and get the food in their mouth. You have to be careful not to over encourage them, as eating food should be seen to them as a ‘normal’ thing to do. I have a friend that overly encouraged her child and her baby always expected a ‘treat’ in return now. So unless you want to go about it like you would training a pet, keep the encouraging present, but on the down-low!

3.  Gagging Is Good… Wait, What? 

baby weaning food

Okay, obviously a mothers first reaction when their child chokes is to panic and help them (I have the ambulance on speed-dial with how frequently I call!). When I begun baby-led weaning with my first born, she was choking after every bite and it nearly gave me a heart attack each time (this is the reason I started aging so quickly!). But what I came to realize after the hundredth time of her choking, is that this is completely natural and it’s going to happen regardless of what you do. Not only because your baby is eating harder foods, but because they also need to learn how to handle foods that go down their throats too quickly, and learn how to push them back up. Therefore, as crazy as it sounds, choking is okay, and something that should be expected from your child. Just remember, this too will pass, so you won’t always feel like you need to slap that food out of their hand! And of course, there are certain recipes you can use and foods that you can give your baby that will help them not to choke as much. For example, on one of my absolute favorite websites, MamatheFox, has fantastic articles all about safe baby-led weaning recipes, this baby led weaning recipe in-particular is fantastic.. I have used these recipes on my first born, and have just picked several new one from her page that I am going to try with my second girl over the course of the next week! I would highly suggest giving her page a look if you have absolutely no idea where to begin with first-time baby weaning food! Also, to help you make homemade baby food, check out our blog post here for more information!

Overall, while baby-led weaning can certainly be frustrating, scary, and seem all around hopeless, it can also be incredibly exciting, an opportunity to bond, and an overall memorable experience. Don’t be like I was and have expectations, just take it one step at a time and enjoy the quality time with your little one! You may find that some of your absolute favorite memories with your child may even come out of it!

Anna About Anna

Hi Moms and Dads, Anna here and welcome. I'm a relatively young mom, in my early 30's and my husband and I have 2 young (and incredibly cheeky) children. With my first child, I was confused about absolutely anything that had 'baby' written on it. I felt flustered and overwhelmed. For some Moms I believe it comes naturally, for others it takes a bit of work and patience, and the latter was me. With my second child, all those first round nervous flusters were gone and I approached everything ease, although I do admit, in between 2 children, baby products and my needs and wants had changed and in the baby/infant world, things change very quick and products that were suggested a few years back are now out of date, recalled or just not suitable no more. So it's not only your little bub that grows; products change and the needs and wants of your baby and you change also.

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