*I am not a physician or dietitian. These are just products that I have found to be ones that were most helpful for me in my journey as a first-time mom starting my baby on baby led weaning.
I had my first baby last spring and started him on baby led weaning around 6 months old. I’ll admit I was a little anxious at the beginning since I had never done anything like that before! BUT I found it to be easier than I expected, and exciting to watch my baby learn different textures and flavors without having to puree everything he ate.
– What is Baby Led Weaning?
“The basic idea behind baby-led weaning is that parents and caregivers can follow a baby’s lead,” says Dr. Churbock. “This means watching for signs of developmental readiness and, when a baby is ready, allowing them to self-feed.”
Basically, you’re offering your baby the same foods that you and your family are eating and letting them explore the different textures and learn how to self-feed. Baby led weaning saves money and time, really helps your baby advance in developmental areas such as fine motor skills, and encourages social interactions by having he or she sit with your family at mealtime.
– What is the difference between gagging and choking?
Dana Peters (Registered Pediatric Dietitian) says, “Choking occurs when an object or piece of food is too big, and actually blocks the baby’s airway.
“While gagging is characterized by coughing and noise, choking is characterized by silence. Oftentimes, a baby will look scared, and may also start to turn blue or purple, especially on their lips. The baby may cough if the blockage of the airway is only partial.”
I highly recommend taking a course on infant choking and CPR so that when your baby does choke, you will be ready to take action! There were a couple times when my baby had some pretty scary choking episodes. I was glad I knew exactly what to do!
– Do pediatricians recommend Baby Led Weaning?
According to Forbes Health, “Pediatric experts now recommend starting solid foods at 6 months. Most 6-month-old infants can grasp food, bring it to their mouth, chew and swallow. These skills mean babies can more independently feed themselves while weaning from human milk or formula nutrition.”
– When should I start BLW with my baby?
The Solid Starts website answers this question best:
“Most healthy, full-term babies are ready to start solid food around 6 months of age. However, it is critical that your baby reaches the following developmental milestones before offering solid food or finger foods:
Age: Baby is 6 months or older
Sitting: Baby is able to sit unsupported
Head Control: Baby is able to hold head upright and steady
Reach & Grab: Baby is able to pick up objects and easily bring them to their mouth
Interest: Baby mouths for food or leans forward for it
Your baby must meet all of the above developmental milestones before you introduce solid food, and particularly so if you are going to start with baby-led weaning or finger foods.”
*If you are starting out BLW for the first time, Solid Starts is a great app to help you keep track of what your baby eats. It also teaches you how to prepare foods for each stage of your baby’s life. Highly recommend!
Baby Led Weaning Must-Haves
If you are new to BLW, a book is a great resource to have on hand for any of your questions.
These spoons were great when my little one was first eating oatmeal and yogurt and similar foods. You can preload the spoon and hand it to your baby, or let them figure it out completely on their own.
A full bib is the best option for your baby when they will be exploring foods and textures and making a mess at nearly every meal. These bibs are easy to wash off in the sink so you won't be doing extra laundry.
Creating textures is important for your baby when they are learning how to grab foods. I used this chopper for cutting sweet potato strips to steam, fresh avocado, toast strips, etc.
A weighted open cup is one of the best ways to teach your little one how to drink! It takes a lot of practice and it make take a while, but they'll catch on and honestly, it's one of the cutest things watching a mini human drink out of a cup 🙂
I like these divided silicone plates - they're easy to clean and suction to the high chair tray. Although it isn't necessary to *always* separate different foods for your baby (always separating foods can create pickiness in a toddler), there are times where you want to keep things separate. That's when these plates come in handy.
These bowls are just your 'traditional' baby food bowls. I find myself using these nearly every day for various foods for my baby. Once again, they suction to the high chair tray, so they're great for those babies that want to just grab the bowl and dump or throw it 😉
My little one finally just learned how to drink out of this cup. These are great for when your toddler's mouth is still developing. The cups are spoutless so they're better for mouth and teeth development. They're also spill proof 😉
If you're doing a mix of BLW and purees, these freezer trays are great for making your own puree and freezing in small portions. Sometimes if you're on the go or short on time, a puree is the fastest and easiest route and that's totally fine!
There is a lot of debate on which high chair you should get for BLW - you can do your research and decide which one you want 😉 This is the one that we have in our household and it works great for us. The top is detachable which makes it a great option if you are traveling and you need to take it with you. Plus, as baby grows, it becomes a booster seat and you can use the chair part for another baby!
Once your baby catches on to handling foods and using utensils better, these bibs are wonderful to replace the full apron bibs they were wearing before. The little pocket catches any drips or crumbs (and baby can easily fish out chunks of food to eat again haha).
This is actually one thing that I don't have that I wish I had gotten. But then again, I have a dog, so I have a cleanup crew at my beckoned call.
If you want to reduce the amount of floor cleanup you'll be doing when practicing baby led weaning, this washable mat that goes under the high chair would be great!