Baby led weaning is a great way to introduce your baby to solids, but it can be intimidating. Here is a list of things to do to prepare for baby led weaning!
Excuse me while I go cry in a corner, but Owen is officially 6 months old as of yesterday! Cue cliche mom wail of, “where has the time gone?!” but I mean, really – where has the time gone?!
On the bright side, we are now cleared to enter my favorite part of babyhood – eating! I had such fun teaching Ryan to eat and explore food during his first year with the help of baby led weaning, so I knew without a doubt that I would be doing the same with Owen. As I’ve started to get everything ready for embarking on this journey, I’ve found myself thinking about how one should prepare for their first few attempts at baby led weaning, so I thought it would be helpful to other mommas interested in the method to know some of the ways to prepare for baby led weaning.
How to Prepare for Baby Led Weaning
Talk to your doctor. I’d feel out of place if I didn’t recommend chatting with your child’s pediatrician before beginning baby led weaning. Make sure you child is cleared to start solids and that any special dietary needs are talked about – for example, with Ryan I had to be sure to avoid giving him soy and diary which meant that a lot of typical baby snacks, like Puffs, were off the table.
Do some research. Learn about the method and what to expect. Know how food should be cooked, which foods you should start with first, how often to feed, etc. If you head over to my baby led weaning page you can find all of the baby led weaning posts I wrote while introducing Ryan to solids – it’s a great place to start!
Learn choking vs. gagging. It’s very easy to mistake your baby gagging on food with choking. Gagging is the body’s way of avoiding choking and regardless of whether you start with purees or whole food, gagging will occasionally happen – it’s how babies learn! This is a really great article talking about the differences.
Learn what to do if choking. Obviously, no one wants to think about having to perform the Heimlich on an infant, but the reality is it could happen – BLW or not. It is a great idea to brush up on your infant first aid before starting to introduce solids to your baby. BabyCenter has a great illustrated guide here.
Choose first foods. FUN stuff, right? For Owen, I’ll be introducing steamed sweet potato sticks first. I did the same for Ryan and he loved them (and still does!) It’s easy to get them to a soft but holdable texture without much work and they’re the sweetest vegetable. Our pediatrician recommended avoiding fruits the first few items as the sweetness will sometimes make babies not want savory veggies since who wants broccoli when you can have an apple, right? (For a full list of first fruits and vegetables and how to serve them for BLW check out this post!)
Stock up on essentials. You don’t need much for your first few baby led weaning adventures, but you will need a high chair of sorts. We really like the Graco Small Spaces high chair since it’s easy to clean (check out my tutorial here) and folds up and out of the way. I would also grab a washable bib or two.
Have fun! I know that solids can be stressful, but try to enjoy it! It’s so much fun to see your little baby exploring the world and beginning to be self-sufficient. Remember that for the first year of baby’s life food isn’t for nutrition – it’s mostly a learning experience and milk or formula will remain the number one source of food and nutrition through the first year. Remember, “Before one, just for fun!”
So tell me – did you try baby led weaning with your baby? Did you enjoy it? What else would you suggest for new mommas taking this adventure? Let me know in the comments!
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