Baby-Led Feeding (BLW) with Clara: a 10-month update

This update has been a long time in coming, but I think the reason is that our baby-led method for feeding Clara seems so natural I don’t think to write about it. She eats what we eat and it couldn’t be better.

Of course once I actually sat down to share our progress, I discovered I had quite a bit to say on the subject. Funny how that seems to happen with topics I am particularly enthusiastic about! Feeding babies nourishing, whole foods is certainly one of those passions.

If you’re not completely familiar with baby-led feeding (or Baby-Led Weaning, as it is actually called), I wrote about embracing this method for introducing solid foods to baby last September. Since then, Clara’s progressed quite a bit. I’ve had many great discussions on the subject and a few of my friends have even gotten on board with their little ones.

I frequently get asked about what exactly Clara eats, so today I’ll share about her diet at 10 months old.

Clara’s progressed so well with baby-led feeding, amazing us with her chewing skills, coordination and dexterity. She can chase down the smallest pea on her tray and help it find its way to her mouth. It’s pretty adorable.

She’s very adventurous, and if she sees me eating something, will always open her mouth to ask for a taste. I honestly can’t think of any food that she has turned down, and she’s only had a small reaction –red spots around her mouth, nothing more– to one food (pineapple).

Here’s a closer look at some of her current favorite foods:

BREAKFAST

  • Scrambled eggs, toast
  • French Toast
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes with Apple Butter
  • Yogurt, Applesauce
  • Fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal Fingers: Mix together 3 Tablespoons quick oats and 3 Tablespoons milk (I use goat’s milk) in a small microwaveable bowl. Press down with the back of a spoon. Microwave for 2 minutes. Cool, cut into fingers.

Lunch

  • Apple, Bacon & Cheddar Frittata
  • Whole Wheat Toast with mashed avocado or hummus
  • Boiled eggs
  • Chickpea Patties (recipe below)
  • Vegetable pastas with tomato sauce
  • Raw Vegetables: tomato slices (washed, skin on), celery sticks (strings peeled), cucumber (peeled), avocado wedge
  • Yogurt, Applesauce
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dinner leftovers
  • Breakfast leftovers

Dinner

Dinner is always variations on what we’re eating, plus one more vegetable such as broccoli, sweet potato, carrots, peas, turnip, or green beans (all favorites).

Recent loves:

Foods we avoid:

I’m careful to curb Clara’s salt intake, so she doesn’t have much brined foods, cured meats, or hard cheese. I’m also giving no sugar; it’s just not necessary. Honey is another one to avoid in the first year, and I am being very cautious with nuts.

Clara eats an unprocessed diet, so I don’t have to worry about hidden additives, sugars, trans-fatty acids, or empty calories. She’s a tall girl for her age who is extremely active, and I must equip her with the best foods that I can provide to keep up with that steep growth curve.

What about the mess?

I get asked this a lot. Kids make a mess when they eat. It’s just a fact. How do I deal with the mess of baby-led feeding? I clean it up!

Spoon feeding your baby may buy you a few more months of clean floors, but then, you know, your toddler is going to have a heyday. And I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but my boys still drop all sorts of food on the floor.

Clara has breakfast before she gets dressed for the day, so then I can toss her sleeper straight in the wash when she’s finished coating it in oatmeal! She wears an extra large bib at lunch, and after dinner, it’s straight to the bath. This system seems to work really well for us.

Oh, and I’ve found the perfect bibs that she can’t rip off (velcro just doesn’t do the job); a local Montreal girl makes these durable and adorable Kiokko baby bibs. They are soft, generously sized, and stay beautiful despite very frequent washings. Clara’s wearing the Pink Starling Birds Bib in these photos. {Psst. Use the coupon code LAURA10 for 10% off any purchase of Kiokko Bebe Couture.}

What’s next for Clara?

Spoon feeding is on our radar next. I’m going to begin to introduce utensils and see if Clara is interested. Just as she let me know when she was ready to try solids, I’m confident she’ll communicate that she is interested and capable of using a fork and spoon.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow, as I’ll be giving away copies of both Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: 130 Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods!

Chickpea & Parsley Patties
5.0 from 4 reviews
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Recipe type: Dinner
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 12 patties
Easy to hold and soft to eat, these chickpea patties are a nutritious meal for your little one. Adapted from the Baby-Lead Weaning Cookbook
Ingredients
  • One 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Rinse the chickpeas and drain them. Prepare garlic, onion and parsley.
  2. In a food processor (or in a bowl with a potato masher) combine chickpeas, garlic, spices, onions and lemon juice and pulse a few times to chop and combine.
  3. Add flour and parsley and mix well. It’s okay if there are still chunks of chickpeas.
  4. Using a spoon and your hands, shape the mixture into 12 patties and place them on a tray or baking sheet. Chill for 20 minutes to firm them up a little.
  5. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet until very hot and place 6 patties in the pan. Fry over medium low heat for about 5 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm as they are, or in a pita pocket. Clara loves hers with mashed avocado.

 

Questions? Comments?  Feel free to share them below

I’m sharing these menu suggestions over on Menu Plan Monday.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. I’m very interested in this right now as my little girl will be six months at the beginning of February. Great post! I’m keeping an eye on your #whatclaraseating updates, too. Thanks so much for the inspiration! !

  2. I’d never heard of BLW weaning with my first. I made and pureed most of her food. But now I’m pregnant with my second and I’m very excited to try BLW with him. Who cares about the mess? It’s still way easier than pureeing everything and spoon feeding them yourself and certainly cheaper than buying baby food. Plus, it seems like it sets them on the path for lifelong good eating.
    Steph’s last post: Rotating Books & Stuffed Animals

  3. My little guy is 6 1/2 months old and we have been doing blw for a few weeks now. He loves to try eating but doesn’t get much swallowed. I’m not worried since he nurses like a champ, but I am curious: how long do you think it took before Clara was really eating?

    • It was really more about exploring foods at the beginning, and yes, a few morsels would be eaten. But she didn’t really surprise me with a regular, voracious appetite until about 8/9 months. And still, it depends on the time of day, if she’s rested, if she’s not cutting teeth…there are a lot of elements to factor in, so don’t worry!

  4. I’m definitely going to make those patties- they sound delicious. I love hearing about Clara’s adventures with food since she’s just a few months ahead of where we are. Has she reduced the amount that she’s nursing at all? Just curious:)
    Amy P’s last post: Read a Book, Pass it On: Happier at Home

  5. I have baby-led weaned both my two and plan to do the same for the third (due soon). my family has found it to be really brilliant – easy, economical and it really sets up the idea of family eating.
    i have never had any problems with choking and would recommend self-feed to any parent.
    katieh’s last post: Yarn Along – A Book I’ve already finished and a Cowl I have to stop knitting.

  6. Very nice! My son was a great eater around that age but now seems to have regressed. He used to eat avocado, salad greens, mushrooms…now at four he says, “I’m not a rabbit!” Frustrating yes, but hoping he’ll come back around. I have to give it to him though, he prefers warm chamomile to hot chocolate on any cold night!

    Way to go! She’s doing a great job (and so is mom :)) Keep up the healthy eating habits!
    Melissa@bakingfortheboys’s last post: wholesome bee-lunch and a delicious quinoa recipe

  7. Thank you for this post. I’d definitely like to look in to it more. I have two young kids who I have breastfed and spoon fed and now my littlest is a few months away from starting solids. I’ve never much liked using rice cereal and would like to find out more about BLW. I assume if they can’t swallow it they just don’t eat it and get what they need from breastmilk?

    • Right, it’s really about exploring textures, flavors, and their hands in the beginning. They have NO problem spitting out anything that is too big, hard, etc, but will surprise you with how quickly they learn to chew.

  8. Every time I read one of these posts, it makes me excited for our future children. This is exactly how I want to do it, Aimee. Thank you so much for leading the way! :)
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Homemade Grenadine Syrup

  9. I love this article. I wish I had done more of this with my kids. One thing that we did with our boys when they first started to feed themselves was to buy them their own set of metal silverware. Oneida makes a set just for babies and toddlers that are nice and dull yet regular metal so they hold up well. They are really nice and I love that my boys are used to using regular silverware at a young age. They think it is cool that they have their own “special” set.

  10. We are one and a half months into Baby Led Weening and so far so good. My little girl doesn’t actually eat much but she sure does play with her food a lot which dramatically increased her fine motor skills.

    I also love that my husband and I can eat dinner while she works on feeding herself. We all eat together! She also eats breakfast and lunch in the kitchen while I get things like laundry, dishes and food prep done. That way there is no pressure for her to eat quickly and she is having fun and learning while I get things taken care of!

    At 7.5 months old what she eats includes avocado (we leave the peel on the slice so she gets better grip), banana, sweet potato, squash, broccoli, grapes (cut in half length wise), clementine, pear, apple sauce and quinoa.
    Foy Update’s last post: Brain Food – Warm Butternut Chickpea Salad – Recipe

  11. Love your ideas. Your baby has the prettiest eyes. :) Erin

  12. Christine says:

    Why no (or restricted) salt? I thought good quality sea salt was good for babies too? I’ve read that it helps with getting those natural minerals that are hard to get other places.

  13. My second son is 9 months old. He’s still learning to eat solids. Pureed foods are no problem, but I was wondering about choking hazards. I’d love to just hand him some food and have him go at it, but I’m scared he may choke. Some “baby snacks” can make him choke a little. Did you ever come across this when your daughter was first learning to eat real solid food? If so, how did you go about it, yet still encourage the eating?

    • I’m wondering about this, too. I have an 11-month-old who really does gag/choke on almost anything solid-ish we give her. I’ve gone back to spoon-feeding all pureed foods because even a mushy banana will cause her to gag and choke, and then I have to finger-swipe! It’s really actually stressful. I can’t imagine her eating most of the food listed here, but I would LOVE TO HAVE HER EAT WHAT WE’RE EATING! She only has two teeth-do you think that’s the issue? Or….?

  14. Fab post!
    Mums make lists (@mumsmakelists)’s last post: What no meal plan? Again!

  15. Emmeline’s doing pretty well so far with BLS. Banana, pear, avocado, watermelon, apple, sweet potato, green pepper, cucumber, zucchini, chicken, beef, pasta so far. A little bit swallowed here and there. She seems to like being at the table with us. I don’t feed her at every meal yet. We tried the oatmeal fingers from the recipe book (I used breastmilk). Seemed dry, so I also gave her some water, but she’s not sure how to drink from a bottle…kind of clamps on it with her gums and tries to chew. Chris loves this method so much, and I’m so happy not to have to prepare purees and spoonfeed her.

    • That is awesome, Andrea. Trust me, you are missing nothing by skipping spoon feeding. It gets old fast. =) Sounds like you guys are off to a great start and I love that she’s around the table with you and Chris. Keep it up!

    • skip the bottle, go straight to the sippy cup, and not one with the plugs just put a very small amount in first so they dont choke of course. Put the plugs in when they get the hang of “sucking” thick liquids out. (they didnt have plugs whenmy babies where litle) let baby hold the spoon the sooner they hold it the easier it is for them.

  16. I never knew specifically about BLW, but have done this in practice with my second son (almost 10 months). He eats what we eat at the dinner table – like tonight we had whole-grain spaghetti with kale and tomatoes.

    It came from my desire to have a baby with a good palate. Part of it was also time economy – I made my own baby food when we first started solids, and quickly found myself wanting to reduce the amount of time I spent on meals between making his food and making dinner for the rest of the family. I therefore quickly moved away from purees and started giving him whatever we had for dinner, cut into appropriately sized pieces. There are only about a few things that he has outright rejected, and usually if I try it again, he will give it a second taste. We all eat together and he feeds himself. I hope your post brings awareness to other people so that they can give it a try with their own babies, because I think it leads to more adventurous, self-assured eaters.
    Anna’s last post: Lucky Number 7

  17. My 10-month old son has really started chowing down in the last month or so. I tried some of the things you talked about in your first post on BLW and was happy with the results. Still working on a little more variety in our diet here, though!
    Wendy’s last post: DAL seven days, seven dinners challenge ~ week 2

  18. So happy to see/hear moms feeding their babies real food! I can count the number of jars of baby food each of my boys had on one hand. My boys always came to the table with us from day one. I started feeding them “real” food when they began to intently watch me eating and would “chew” I started them both on peas right off my plate, mashed up well of course. I would take their portion out after the first layer of seasoning. The other thing that happens at my table is the words, yuk,ick,or gross are not allowed at my table, if you dont like it dont eat, it but you dont get to influence others! They where required to take 2 bites and after 2 bites if you truely didn’t care for it you could be done with a simple no thank you. Not once have I had to hide pureed vegetables in spagetti sauce ect. My boys (23 & 12) eat it all, they are game for all sorts of stuff.
    P.s. if they don’t care for it today

  19. oops my p.s. should have been … If they don’t care for it today, give it a little time and try it again!

  20. I did baby led weaning with my second child and won’t ever go back to spoon feeding (#3 is due next month!). At two and a half, my son loves food and eats everything I put before him.

    I have to say the that initial mess was pretty significant — I used to joke that I needed a hazmat suit and a hose to clean up the surrounding area– but with so much practice eating on his own at such an early age, he became quite adept at getting food into his mouth even with utensils. The mess is going to be inevitable — it’s just a question of when. I was happy to get through that phase pretty quickly and I really think it’s because of BLW.

    Here are a couple shots of my little guy in action. Hard to believe that was almost two years ago!
    http://slowmama.com/parenting-children/introducing-babies-to-the-pleasures-of-the-table/
    Ann’s last post: Embracing the Citrus

  21. Christina says:

    My LO is 11 months old and has 5 teeth…he just this past few days has refused baby food – 80% homeade and the rest store bought…So far what I have given him he loves….but I am not sure what to try..I see your suggestions…how many teeth does she have? Ha this is my 4th baby but he is the youngest one to refuse baby food
    Thanks!
    Christina

  22. My daughter is 8 months old and I’ve been making all her purees at home. I started with plain, single foods, and then upgraded to lightly spiced multi-food mashes when I got bored – as it turns out, she must have been bored too because now she has a renewed passion for eating! I think I’ve always been on a trajectory for BLW though, because seeing all the pretty pictures of Clara’s food has inspired me to reinvest the time I spend making purees into making delicious whole food meals!
    Carlie V.’s last post: The Friday Five – Week 11

  23. BLW is awesome. My little one is now 14 months and we have never tried spoon fed purees. I would highly recommend the technique to everyone.

  24. My 10 month old is also big time into feeding himself. He LOVES the avocado, broccoli, and meatballs. And surprisingly, chilli, including all the spices, is a favourite! So happy to get some new ideas!

  25. We do BLW with our baby girl and we love it! She’s almost 1 now and has the best appetite of all her little friends. She eats exactly what we eat. Can’t say she hasn’t had any sugar, but I stay FAR away from those packages empty carb snacks her friends fill up on. She only eats real food. The only thing I have ever spoon-fed her is yogurt and maybe a soup here and there if it was very runny. She is getting very interested in utensils now, and we give her her own fork or spoon at the end of the meal to play with. She has picked up a few things with the fork and put them in her mouth successfully! Otherwise, it’s still the hands. And oh my, is it messy. But worth every minute!
    The Food Hound’s last post: Gingerbread Spice Hot Chocolate Mix

  26. Thanks so much for this update… I have an almost 8 month old, and food has been a challenge so far – I wanted to do BLW, but freaked when she couldn’t get banana or avocado in her mouth without gagging and spitting up at 6 months old. So, we decided to try homemade purees- not interested. Then old fashioned store bought baby food and rice cereal – still not interested and now 7 months and a few weeks old. This morning, I read your post before breakfast and thought, I want some scrambled eggs! And I will try one more time with her, too! So I made some egg yolk, chopped into tiny pieces, and it was genuinely our first “good” food experience. Not sure if she actually ate any, but several pieces were in her mouth! The nice thing about her being 8 months is we can cut up a lot smaller as her pincer grasp takes effect, too! :) anyways, thanks for your update… It sure helped in this house and is getting me thinking we will just do BLW after all! :)

  27. Oh! I just love coming across blogs that talk about BLW experiences! I really wish I had started out with it from the beginning with Genevieve. We did start her early on finger foods though, so at 10mos she does fairly well with whole foods. She has a tendency to shove so much in her mouth that she chokes though. I blame that on grabbing handfuls of Puffs and Cheerios. :-/

    I noticed a lot of your recipes have herbs and spices in them. Did you do the whole wait 3 days rule when trying new foods? Another mom whose blog I read didn’t. It just seems so tedious and she’s been fine with every food we’ve tried so far. I just can’t imagine waiting three days between every new food and herb and spice we still have yet to try. Gen gets so bored with things and wants to eat new foods. She refuses purees now and even whole foods that are familiar like peas. She just is done with the repititiveness I guess.

  28. Ah now this is a properly useful post. Thank you. I have a nearly three year old who generally eats brilliantly and a 7.5 month old who is right at the beginning. My daughter spurned purees which, as a first time mum, I found utterly exasperating. She also spurned the bottle, so I was really frustrated that I was faced with a more challenging situation than many of my mum friends. Some friends in London were totally into BLW and while I didn’t go exclusively down that route, I took a leaf out of the BLW book and just started plonking decent food in front of her. I made small, easy to hold pancakes with spinach, apple, pear, banana and baby cereal. Went down a treat and still do. I made fruit muffins … no sugar. That’s the great thing about cooking yur own stuff, you can avoid the salt and sugar quandary. I made pasta cheese bake with delicious cheese sauce and into that I would mix florets of cauliflower, broccoli and grated carrot and mushroom and these would get swept into her mouth with the rest. I was too impatient for exclusive BLW, so I would also slip in the odd spoon when she wasn’t looking! Sometimes she went for it. More often that she wouldn’t, until she was able to operate the spoon herself. She was generally happy to suck fruit/veg purees from squeezies so I treated these as a wee snack. She has never touched a fish or meat puree. And to be honest, why the hell would you? I also found that things like cream cheese and cottage cheese, as she got older, would entice her to eat most things. I cooked chicken and apple balls and discovered that she absolutely adores prawns and white fish. And on we went. I now find myself in pretty much precisely the same situation with my baby boy. Sometimes purees are accepted but no guarantee. He has a weak gag reflux but I have noticed this improving over the past week actually as more chewing is going on. Avocado is an absolute hit. If I give him a piece it just ends up squished, but if i give him a wedge with the skin on, he has a go and does fairly well. But it’s the one thing that, if presented to him mashed on a spoon, he will go for. His work with the spoon, like his sister, is to grab the spoon and drag it into his mouth. Sometimes I gently hold on to it but give him the sense that he is running the show, and often i just relinquish it, and have another spoon at the ready. A juggling game. I feel things will pick up quickly with him, because he watches his sister and is growing more and more interested in food. In terms of finger foods, we have success with cherry tomatoes cut in half (he sometimes winces at the acidity but seems hooked on them and sucks the seeds and juice out and then chews on the skin and removes a lot of the flesh); cucumber sticks with the skin on (he chews off the flesh and seeds and teeths on the skin…he spits out the skin when he bites into it); tofu; baby corn; lamb cutlets (a huge hit); I slow cooked chicken with carrot, sweet potatoes and onions and pureed this…surprisingly he goes for this quite readily. Mixed with yoghurt is a hit; plain natural yoghurt he seems to like a lot; green beans; cauliflower gets a look in; broccoli did get a look in but is currently ignored; polenta cakes; the baby pancakes gets squished but I will keep trying; weetbix mixed with apple or pear puree got some attention; race cakes get sucked.

    You get the picture. He’s not eating a huge amount but his interest in food is the main thing because suddenly, as with my daughter, I will turn around and he’ll be shovelling food in and it won’t be falling out of his mouth anymore. Remember to keep the water coming during a meal, because sometimes this is enough to reinvigorate their interest in eating and reminding ourselves to keep trying foods they may keep rejecting. One day they’ll pick it up and go for it.

    Re teeth: my daughter was devouring corn on the cob way before she had any teeth to speak of. If they want it, they’ll get stuck in and find a way!!

    Thanks a bundle for the chickpea patti recipe. Will have a go and I hadn’t thought of trying french toast with my boy. M x
    Miranda @ Sweet Mother of Blog’s last post: The Mother Movement – Who am I now I’m a mum?

  29. Jennifer says:

    I know the rule is no honey before 1 year and you mentioned that you were avoiding it above, but your whole wheat pancakes have honey in them. Did you replace it with something? I’d love to try this recipe with my 10 month old!

  30. Hi Aimee,
    I love the post on BLW. I am the mother of 14 month and 2 weeks son. I should say he is a picky eater. The thing which bothers me more is “He is not eating eggs in ANY form”. I am still breastfeeding him. When i am offering food, he will just eat one or two bites then he start to play with that. After that i have to spoon feed him. Do you have any advice for me?
    Thanks in advance.

  31. Aimee!

    Thanks for posting this way back when. My first little is 6 months old and we started BLW last week. She’s doing great and Gill Rapley’s book is helpful…but even more helpful is finding blogs out there of moms who do BLW. And on top of being a mama you have some amazing recipes. Can’t wait to try some of them. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Just pinned this to our Delicious Baby + Toddler Recipes board :) Thank you!

  33. I’ve really enjoyed ready your blog. So many great recipes and information. Just a quick question which I’m sure you’ve answered somewhere before.

    With BLW do you solely feed what you’re eating and then breast milk? Or do you give any puréed stuff?

    Thank you

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