Guest blogging over here from PepperDesignBlog.com. Recently, I posted on Baby Led Weaning and our adventures in introducing solid food to our daughter, Liv.
We’re huge fans of – have you heard of it? It's a new, well actually, old idea on introducing solid foods to infants. Waaay before we had baby spoons and Cuisinarts, babies learned to eat 'adult food' by handling, sniffing, tasting, gumming and squishing whatever they were introduced to.
BLW means introducing what the family is having for dinner (rather than pureed food) at about six months of age. Food is cut into chunks, strips and bite-size pieces that babies can 'palm' (since most don't yet have a pincer grasp by 6 months) and play with. Big chunks might include a strip of toast, a slice of peach or a large chunk of chicken – basically any food cut long enough that they can both grasp it in their fist and gnaw on it.
The first stages of BLW introduce food (the textures, smells and tastes of it) to babies before they actually begin consuming it. The theory here is that they’ll train themselves to eat successfully without the need for spoon feeding.
Here’s a look at squash that’s a regular on her menu. I roast it with sea salt, pepper and garden herbs (I think this day’s choice was rosemary):
And then when it’s all finished cooking cut it into long strips for her to try.
At first we attempted a hybrid approach to Baby Led Weaning and I experimented with handmade pureed baby food.
We boiled, blanched and pureed (that’s what that magic bullet is for!) broccoli:
And roasted up yummy carrots, green beans and squash:
All to be pureed.
But the result. Nay. Liv was not a fan of the blended version of her favorites, even when I packaged them so prettily in her little lunch packs.
So we went back to the whole versions of those foods.
I still cut up food that is of choking size (such as these little blueberries which she devours) so she can feed herself.
No, she's not really pointing :). Liv's been practicing her hand eye coordination to get that pincher grasp (thumb and forefinger) down - all while playing with her food.
The one downfall? It's so messy!!
As you can imagine, if baby gets to control where the food goes, it goes everywhere. Thankfully our yellow lab, Bodie, is quick to catch most of the chunks that go tumbling off of her tray!
You have to get used to the idea that about 2/3 of the food that you first introduce will be wasted and in piles on the floor. Slowly that number drops and slowly babies begin to consume more of the food itself.
I think Liv might even love the clean up part just as much as the eating part.
We love it. BLW means I get to put a few choices of food in front of her and she gets to feed herself. I can eat lunch, make dinner or otherwise work with her right next to me. If you're interested in learning more, Google 'Baby Led Weaning', there are a ton of great blogs and resources out there - including book.
We love that she gets to participate in our meals and enjoys a good steak, fish fillet or pork tenderloin just as much as us! She totally digs it.
Thank you so much Morgan!
Has anyone tried BLW? What was your experience? For us, in the beginning stages, those net things were amazing for them to be able to get the food in their mouths with something slippery like avocado :) Anyone have any more tips?