How I discovered and embraced Baby-Led Weaning/Feeding (BLW)

A few weeks ago I sat at the dinner table and watched Clara furrow her brow as she focused on a centimeter square piece of omelet that was sitting on her dinner tray. She reached a chubby arm and closed her dimpled hand over the egg, raking it closer, before clutching it in her tight grip and transferring it to her mouth. It took some effort, but she succeeded, and thoughtfully chewed and swallowed the omelet before looking around for more. I actually blinked back a few tears in awe and pride.

Clara is not quite six months old and is eating on her own like a little champion. She is slow, messy, and doesn’t actually ingest all that much, but gracious me, she is not picky! In fact, quite the contrary, she wants to eat everything. In solid form, too.

How did we get here? No drippy rice cereal? Brown-colored puree? Well, while I was still pregnant with Clara, my doula tipped me off to a method for introducing solids called Baby-Led Weaning, or as I like to call it, Baby Led FeedingI have no intention of weaning Clara yet, but have been supplementing her diet for a month or so now using BLW.

Baby-led feeding is the common-sense practice of giving your baby soft, palatable whole foods and letting her feed herself her first ‘bites’, while continuing to breastfeed. The theory is that babies will experiment and discover food at their own pace, as well as develop new abilities including chewing and keen hand-eye coordination.

I’ve certainly seen firsthand the benefits of skipping purees and moving straight to solids. Not only is it less work in the kitchen, but Clara is continually astounding us with her early ability to chew and participate around the dinner table. And of course I’m hoping in the long run that she’ll be open to a much wider range of food than my boys were.

What are the advantages of BLW?

Skipping purees and going straight to solid food sure sounded attractive to me, as I never enjoyed the spoon-feeding days with my boys, but I have to admit, I wondered if it would really be a success. It only took a few days for me to observe that a baby who is ready and eager to eat, as Clara was, is completely capable of handling, chewing, and eating solid foods.

In brief, here are some of the advantages of BLW versus jarred baby food/purees:

  • Baby eats what you eat. So, no extra meal prep, dishes, etc.
  • Babies are in control of what they are eating. They stop when they are full, or continue when they are hungry. There’s no (less?) power struggles.
  • Babies are more likely to be better eaters as toddlers and young children because they have been exposed to such variety of taste and texture, and been in control of their eating, from such an early age.
  • Babies feed themselves, leaving you free to use a knife and fork of your own – while supervising, of course.
  • Babies learn to chew first, and then swallow, as opposed to just letting the puree slide down, which, in my opinion, makes for a difficult transition to chunkier food and real solids.

Getting Started

Whether Clara is a budding ‘foodie’ or not, I have to credit BLW for giving me the confidence to set whole foods down in front of my tiny little girl – and allowing her to swipe an occasional slice of tomato off my plate.

We started, unofficially, at 4 months, when she tucked into an ear of corn and proceeded to give it about 20 minutes of her time. From there we moved on to chicken bones, with shreds of meat attached. I had noticed the signs of early teething, so likely the corn and the bone felt good on those sore gums; still, she was obviously interested in food. I just wasn’t sure if her tummy was ready.

By 5 months she was holding a peach and sucking the juices from it. We moved on to vegetables, some braised meats, and pancakes and her chewing improved drastically. A favorite food was oven-roasted zucchini sticks.

Hand-eye coordination and dexterity already surprised us at (almost) 6 months. She now eats as if hungry, although food is still like a toy for her and she gets most of her ‘food’ from breast milk.

Tips for Baby-Led Weaning

Watch for signs that baby is ready.

We eat together as a family every evening as a way of creating a healthy family food culture. While sitting on my lap at the dinner table, Clara would take my hand and gently redirect my fork to her mouth. It doesn’t get more obvious than that.

Other signs we noticed were:

  • intently watching others eat
  • making little noises and sucking motions with her mouth
  • drooling

BLW and a Whole Foods Diet

Families that are striving for whole foods diets are already on the right track to Baby-Led Weaning. Most of the foods on your table are suitable for baby, too, meaning they feature organic ingredients, and are for the most part, unprocessed.

What a time-saver when the entire family can sit together and eat the same dinner!

Clara’s Diet:

I’m starting slowly with Clara, so although she’s been grazing for almost two months, her diet is still limited. I’m holding off on grains (difficult to digest) save for a triangle of French Toast here and there, as well as dairy, although I may try goat yogurt soon.

I’m also waiting on very sweet fruits such as banana, blueberries and pineapple. I’d prefer if she formed an attachment with vegetables and savory flavors before going ‘bananas’, as it were, on sweeter food.

  • chicken, usually braised until soft and tender
  • beef, some steak, some ground beef (easy to pick up and chew)
  • salmon
  • peaches, pears, whole or sliced, very ripe, peeled
  • strawberries
  • broccoli, whole steamed florets
  • sweet potato, zucchini ‘fries’, baked
  • avocado
  • corn on the cob
  • carrots, roasted
  • scrambled eggs & omelets
  • French Toast, pancakes

Right now we’re waiting for Clara to be a little stronger when sitting up, and then it will be time for a whole new menu! Squash, apples, beets – fall has so many lovely foods that I can’t wait for her to try.

Here’s what a few ‘real food’ mothers have to say about Baby-Led Weaning:

Nicole, Simple Homemade.

“BLW has been super fun. I’ve been amazed at the dexterity Hallee has acquired in less than two months. I like that with BLW I am teaching my baby to put food in her mouth and chew it (or suck/gum it to start), rather than teaching her to swallow first, which is actually a little backwards if you think about it.”

Katie, Kitchen Stewardship.

“Baby-led weaning may mean that my 12-month-old eats like a carnivore who loves fruit but I’m okay with that. It feels really good and natural to trust his instincts (except when he throws food overboard onto the floor), and I haven’t missed the special cooking and reheating of “baby food cubes.” My little guy hardly ate anything until 10 months old and then had 4-5 foods he enjoyed, and I’m so glad I didn’t feel like I had to feed him so much food and so many choices. Those power struggles over the highchair tray aren’t worth it.”

Brittany, A Healthy Slice of Life.

“Hailey eats what we eat! I make sure it’s modified to fit her needs (soft, long pieces with no spices), and we can all eat together. And if we’re out? She can eat off our plate- no spooning her food! So far, I love baby led solids.”

Looking ahead

I’ve been told to expect a bit of a lull around 7-8 months as babies get over the novelty of handling and eating foods, but pick up with renewed interest around 9 months. We shall see. I think once Clara discovers how her mama can cook she won’t want to leave the table! *wink*

For me, there is no haste to make and freeze cubes and bags of frozen puree. Clara will eat what we eat and celebrate the seasons and the variety they bring. I’ll definitely be reaching for the The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook along the way.

Now, if only we had a dog to take care of the mess under the high chair…

Resources:

Comments? Questions? Experienced BLW parents, I’d LOVE your input!

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.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.

Comments

  1. I love this method of introducing solids. We did the same with our child and it worked wonderfully. I always thought spoon feeding and pureeing every food was kind of pointless. Our daughter loved exploring different textures and flavors and is now a very adventurous eater. I’m so happy to see other moms trying it out. My daughter’s very first food was sliced avocado.

    Weaning is often used in other parts of the world to refer to the introduction of solids, which is really the start of the greater weaning process, so it’s not and entirely incorrect term. :)

  2. Hello – I never liked being a short-order puree line cook for my first – and I wonder sometimes (when I’m awake in the middle of the night – does that ever pass??) if it was a disservice to him as he’s still not a very adventurous eater at age 10 – real aversions to texture and perceived spiciness. By the time no. 2 & no. 3 came around, my hubby and I decided to feed them what we were eating once they could sit up reliably and showed interest in dining. It wasn’t really something we’d read or heard about – more like a family meal solidarity thing (and to help out tired momma!). Wow. What a difference! Yes, ridiculously messy, but so good for exposing their curious little senses to tastes, temperatures, and texture – plus all of the fun “extras” such as our babies developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, parents focusing on the family rather than a spoon, etc. It’s interesting to contemplate that they’re hardly picky eaters at ages 4 and 3. We have other “power struggles” but food ain’t on the list! Best wishes to you and your crew : )

  3. This is what we’ve done with my kids, relying on the guidance of our pediatrician and Dr. Sears, but I didn’t know it had a name! I feel so enlightened :) I love how today’s post focuses on feeding the *whole* family well, Aimee!

    And these pictures of Clara are too adorable!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s last post: How I Accidentally Figured Out How to Make Money Blogging

  4. We did the whole homemade puree thing with our daughter but when we have subsequent children I’d really like to try BLW. We quickly moved our kiddo to solid foods but I’d love to skip the first step.
    Steph’s last post: Bedtime Learning

  5. I spoon-fed baby food to my first child, and for some reason never really enjoyed it. I was so happy when he could feed himself – it was easier for me and I liked that I could eat, too! When my second was ready for solids, I mostly let her feed herself with whatever we were eating, and I’ve never looked back! I loved it so much that I never used any baby food with our third at all. I, too, didn’t know that this was a specific philosophy/method with a name – I just did it because it seemed to be what worked for us! It’s such a simple, easy, and fun way to feed baby – I definitely recommend it!

  6. What a sweetie pie… love her munching on the corn!!! Who knew this had a name!!! We have fed all our children like this, I wrote about it here: http://www.se7en.org.za/2010/06/10/se7en-1-starts-solids I always thought I would have heaps of uses for all those baby food jars, turns out I have never needed them!!!
    se7en’s last post: It’s a Wrap… Se7en + 1 Books Covered…

  7. When I was in high school working at a day care, I haaaaated spoon feeding the babies. Most of them hated it too. I think BLW makes complete and total sense, and I’ve been paying close attention since you started tweeting about it. If we’re lucky enough to have kids, I definitely want to feed them this way. It just seems more natural, on so many levels.
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Cranberry Orange Yogurt Muffins

  8. Good for you guys! Having lived in the UK where BLW is popular I was keen to try it. Turns out not only does baby not enjoy putting food in his mouth (once it reaches his lips he makes a face and throws it), he won’t even do purees includng the traditional rice. A long road ahead, but we’ll have to just keep trying.
    Michelle’s last post: Food Events and Restaurant Openings for Friday, Sept 7th

    • Sounds like you’ve got a great attitude, Michelle, despite the little guys protests. Keep it up!

    • We started with BLW when our now 3 year old was 6 months. I can attest that this phase (and the funny faces) will pass. It is a learning and developmental process for the baby: new flavors and textures, and moving from liquids only to learning to manage solids in their mouth. Hang in there! Our experience was that she turned the corner to actually biting and swallowing bits of food deliberately around 8-9 months old.

  9. The first time around I tried the brown rice cereal, my daughter wanted none of it. None of the purees, not even banana would satisfy her. So I stopped pushing it. She nursed for the first year and then I just started giving her whatever we were eating. So the second time around, I didn’t even bother with any of the “baby” food. We went straight for real people food. My son and daughter both eat like champs now. I also think the fact that I do extended breast feeding made them not really care for the other food, which was so bland and probably not close to what they were getting from me (i eat a diet full of extremely strong flavors), now they like to eat spicy foods just like me :-)
    Heather’s last post: what i am eating #6

    • I guess each child is so different, right? I certainly never expected Clara to be so darn interested in real food, cause, like you, we’re nursing full time.
      Thanks for sharing!

  10. Love this, Aimee… Thanks so much for sharing. This is definitely something I want to try with our little one, so I am bookmarking this post for later. It just makes so much sense.
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction’s last post: Spiced Caramel Sauce

  11. Yay for Baby Led Weaning! Our family embraced this when I learned about it as our daughter was beginning solids, and she is now 3 and eats everything under the sun. We started with rice cereal, and a couple purees but she wanted none of it. So we gave it a go and have never looked back. Family, friends, and strangers alike comment on her hearty appetite, range of foods she eats, and also how quickly she mastered using her own fork and spoon as a toddler. Now with a 6 month old son, we are happy to have him join us at our family table and his current favorites are sweet potato fries and chicken! You gave a great summary of the benefits of BLW for the family and of course, the child. Our favorite benefit is seeing our daughter learn to take ownership of what she eats, trusting her to only eat what he is hungry for, and seeing her grow to have such a healthy relationship with food. A wonderful gift for any child!

    • Thank you for sharing this glowing testament to BLW!! I’m excited. When exactly did you put a fork/spoon in your baby’s hand?

      • It’s hard to recall exactly – sometime around 2 years old I think…. but again, we let her lead the way. So all those months and months of seeing us use forks, knives, and spoons around the table, when she wanted to have her own and exercise her independence, we let her. We first let her use a spoon and some plastic/dull-ended forks and once she got the hang of it she graduated to mini versions of our regular flatware.

  12. Anne Marie says:

    I would loved advice on BLW for daycare. I will be going back to work with my second one. I know my center always set up the kids and spoon fed them so we pureed a bunch fresh food. It would be fantastic to just move right to food, but have any parents run into road blocks with BLW at a daycare center and have any advice to offer?

    • I’m hoping one of the readers will pipe up here with some wisdom. I know that if I was a worker, I’d prefer BLW babies, because although they still need to be supervised while eating, they don’t have to be spoon fed…

    • It probably depends on who provides the food. If your center is providing the food, then you might just go along with their system during the day and provide real solids at the meals you do at home. And there are ways to gently encourage them to move to more whole versions of foods earlier in the process. And just asking the question might result in some ideas from your provider.

      With our daycare, parents provided all foods for kids under a year. While we started with purées, we were sending steamed veggies and soft fruits by 8-9 months.

      Also, I think it’s worth noting that BLW kids likely need a larger portion of calories from mama’s milk, so kids at daycare may need mom to be sending extra milk. With my son, he didn’t each much at school, so he was pretty hungry at home and consequently up multiple times/night to nurse through the whole first year. Honestly, I would have loved for him to enjoy purées to make it easier on all of us!
      Alissa’s last post: Owen at 5

  13. I have to say that I love baby-lead weaning (feeding!). With my first I did the traditional cereals, baby food, etc. With my second it just sort of happened that I did baby-led feeding and it was amazing. And with my 3rd I did that again. Such a perfect way to do it. I really don’t know why we have aisles of baby food in the stores…
    I have definitely noticed that my 2 younger ones are less picky than my oldest. It would be difficult to know if that is exactly why, but I do think it contributes to it.
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau’s last post: The One Thing I’ve Learned to Help Me Read More

  14. We are doing BLW with our second after the traditional brown rice cereal and baby foods with our first. I feel like a bit of a sucker for buying off the baby aisle everytime I watch my seven month old devour her favorite foods: steamed broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt, hamburger and, recently, pate (for the iron needs). My husband recently said he loves this method simply because he doesn’t have to spoon feed her a meal while serving our 3 yr old and trying to eat himself. He just sits everyone down in front of their meals. And then sweeps up afterwards… Thank goodness for our chickens :)

    • Note our friends all look at us like we are crazy when they see the baby devouring a hamburger. We did feed our son whole foods along with the baby foods, so we aren’t completely in new territory. We are just skipping the extra steps in between!

      • Yes, we got crazy stares when our 11 month old was eating strips of filet mignon at a family party. Its amazing what they want to try when you expose them and let them go with their own instincts!

  15. The most important thing baby-led weaning did for me was help me relax. It drove home the point that that first year of trying foods is all about exploration – nothing else. All the nutrition she needs for the first year, she gets from breast milk. So when she only eats 1/4 teaspoon of something – or nothing at all – no big whup. No “here comes the airplane” forcing the eating, which is what really feels wrong to me.

    Though, at 8 months (two months into it, we started her at 6 months when she was really able to sit up on her own), she’s really starting to enjoy her solids! I ended up doing sort of a hybrid baby-led weaning approach. She got (and still gets) homemade purees for certain foods, but she feeds herself with her spoon. I help if she obviously wants help, but otherwise, it’s up to her. She loves feeling like a big shot and feeding herself!

    Thanks for a great post.
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty’s last post: Grilled Teriyaki Chicken or Tofu with Fresh Grilled Pineapple

  16. I just got the BLW Cookbook in the mail last week! We’ve been offering Ava whatever we’re eating for about a month now (she’s 7 mo) and she loves getting to have a bit of whatever we’re eating. She hasn’t really had a ton of interest in actually eating any of it, but she tastes it all, mashes it around and then eventually throws it on the floor. :-P I love that we can just let her move at her own pace though and expose her to all sorts of flavors! It’s also helpful when I’m out working in our garden… I just hand her a bean or a tomato and she mushes away to her hearts content! BTW, as a mama to three big dogs…. GET ONE. :-) Best thing to have when BLW, hands down. Happy baby, happy mama, happy dogs!
    Becca S’s last post: My Green(er) Kitchen

  17. Wow. I never knew that this was like, an idea. Like I found out with attachment parenting and ecological breastfeeding, BLW is something I did, without even knowing it was an idea- I just did it because it “felt right”. Amazing how God ingrains this stuff in us!
    Jennifer Campbell’s last post: Knobby Crochet Gnome Baby Hat (6-9 Months, Multi Fall Colors) by PlainOldUnromantic

  18. I did this w/ my son (2nd child), now age 5.5. I loved it and felt as enthusiastic as you at the time. But beware that its not a magic bullet. Hopefully its just the age, but currently my son eats yogurt and pasta, and not a lot more. Well, actually he’s great about eating fruits and vegetables (as is my daughter who was fed purees), but its the rest of it he’s particular about, currently at least.

  19. I’m definitely going to bookmark this post for if/when we have kids. I had no idea! Thanks for sharing, Aimée!

  20. My son is almost 9 months old, and we’ve done a hybrid. He actually loved eating homemade purees until this past month, when his new trick is slamming his hands up or down right before the spoon enters his mouth – spraying the food everywhere!!! Pretty comical. While we’ve introduced some finger foods, he has no teeth yet and it seems like all the food just ends up on his body and food tray. So how long till he won’t look like he needs two baths a day? ;)

    He still gets about 85% of his nutrition through nursing, so this whole process is a slow and exciting transition.

  21. Would love some advice! Our 8 month old has been on purées for 2 months and happily gobbles it down 3/day. Is it too late to transition and how would you do so?

    Also are there major choking hazards?

    Thanks for any thoughts!! :)

    • PS she does have 5 teeth :)
      Angie Warren’s last post: iPhoneography 101 – simple design.

      • Hang on….this *exact* question is in the book..let me check, because I honestly don’t know!

        • So they say to give your baby a chance to feed herself when she isn’t hungry. It’s more of a discovery/playing with food. Purees will still need to be given, but you can offer some finger foods too to help her begin to develop self-feeding. You probably do this already!

      • Hi Angie – I would follow your instincts and maybe try some small chunks of soft food to transition with – bananas, avocados, cooked carrots, sweet potatoes or squash (cooked VERY soft at first) all worked out well for us. You will be amazed at how quickly they progress at this point. I did a modified version of BLW – my LO showed no interest in food until around 9 mos, and then just once every 2-3 days, and not really interested in chewing or gumming (perhaps due to being ebf, maybe cause she was a late-term preemie, who knows?). Everyone says gagging is normal at first but seriously, one feeding in particular took a few years off my life, so I decided to start with mashed bananas, avocados or runnt oatmeal on a spoon – this gave her enough texture to practice working with and an extra spoon in her hand gave her plenty to explore. I’d put some on her high chair tray to play with too, and when she started putting her fingers in her mouth I knew we were on our way. We very quickly moved to a chunkier mash and then on to all kinds of whole foods (but naturally soft/cooked soft/cut up into dices or cubes – what helped me was to start by keeping the pieces around the size of the tip of her thumb at first). Also, I would say she didn’t really get serious about eating (to where it finally satisfied my family who had been telling me to give her jarred purees at four months) til around her first birthday (where I annoyed them further by not feeding her cake – we hadn’t been doing any bready textures yet – I made a mini semi-soft frozen greek yogurt “cake” for her). Although we started with sweeter foods like banana and sweet potatoes I never noticed any aversion to savory foods. She is now 15 mos, a chubby little picture of health, and steamed broccoli is one of her favorite things to gobble up. She still nurses but eats a variety of fruits, veggies, grains and proteins (I should eat so well! darn sweet tooth). My only other advice is, when they get better at putting food in their mouths don’t put out too many pieces at once – they can start to squirrel it quickly into their mouths and then have too much to deal with – this hasn’t happened alot but cheese in particular will turn into one giant choke-hazard-glob if too much goes in. Otherwise – follow your intuition – you know your baby best – and have the camera handy!!!

  22. High fives for BLW!! Wish I would have discovered it 2 kids ago. ;)
    Nicole @ Simple Homemade’s last post: No Posts Were Found!

  23. Thanks for the info. I think this is great. My son is 12 months now and even though he didn’t start eating solid foods (not jarred food) quite as early as Clara does, he does really well with food as far as chewing and swallowing like he should. I did start him on jar food though as young as 3 months. I think that is what helped him out a lot. I have two children, my first one was a picky picky eater, still is. He would gag on everything you would feed him. But my little boy does not gag at all. I might try the avocado because I love avocado. You’re right, it’s so much easier when you don’t have to make extra meals or drip rice cereal or have the puree foods (yuck). Thanks again!

  24. We’re doing this with our Clara, too. :) We waited until six months, just because she had some digestive issues in her early days and I didn’t want to push it. So far, it’s been a huge success, and I’m so glad to see you guys are doing it too! Just another reason I wish we lived closer.

  25. We did this more with our second child, and she is far less picky than her brother (though she’s oddly suspicious of sweets). Not that he’s terribly picky, but his sister enjoys things like meat, cheese and eggs that he doesn’t.

    I think society as a whole has listened to “experts” for so long that we’ve forgotten to listen to instinct first. Thanks for using your platform at Simple Bites to encourage parents to believe in themselves and their children again.
    Mama B’s last post: Autumn Pinspiration

  26. Thank you for sharing this! Our girl is just about at the 4 month mark and I’ve been thinking a lot about this next phase of introducing foods. She doesn’t seem interested in food just yet but I have a feeling we’re all going to be pretty excited when that day comes.

    • I thought of you and hope you’d catch this. Honestly I wish I had heard of it with my first baby, heck, even my second. Feel like I’m getting it right – for me- this time around.

  27. I don’t have any kids, and no plans for them any time soon, but this is definitely an interesting concept… Something I’ll be keeping in mind when I have my own kiddos. But mostly I just wanted to say, Clara is SUCH a cutie pie! And that photo of her munching on an ear of corn is so precious!

  28. I did this, by accident, with my second. He was a very “do it by myself” kid and this worked great for him. We continued this method with#3 because of the ease. She did slow her eating a bit about 7-8 months but she is growing fast right now and eating almost as much as her brothers. It’s helpful to really know what she is eating. P

  29. You know what I love about this? It’s so much good, old fashioned, common sense. We ended up almost doing this by accident with my second because she wasn’t really into purées. I would have skipped them altogether if only Clara came LAST year and I knew about BLW! Thanks for the info. Glad to see she’s fitting in so well with the rest of you foodies!
    Theresa’s last post: Animal Style

  30. This is the only way we’ve fed our kids, and I’ve had great results with it. I started mostly because I was a poor single mom and college student with my first, and there was no plausible way I was buying baby food. Instead, we cooked from scratch and she ate what I was eating. So glad you’re loving it, too.
    Shaina’s last post: A Back-to-School Eat Well, Spend Less: ABC Ideas for Your Lunchbox

  31. We did real food to varying degrees with all 4 of my children. With my 1st child we spoon-fed real foods processed in my kitchen. The one exception to this was Granny Smith apples, which she enjoyed just eating from my hand. I learned quickly that only crisp apples would do, and not that mushy stuff that filled the produce section at my store.
    With my next 2 children, I planned on doing the same thing, but processing food took more energy than I had. We quickly found that they could handle eating food off of my plate. By the time that my 4th came around, BLW had now become a popular thing, so we didn’t look like the only wild parents out there.
    One last note, we’ve never dulled down the spices for the little ones, unless they show that the food is distasteful or we find an irritation in the diaper area. They’re used to the seasonings from my breastmilk anyway, so it’s one less thing to do.

  32. For what it’s worth, I know I didn’t own a food processor and I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a blender when my son was small – he ate what we were eating from about 4 months on, gradually at first, but more and more as he grew. He literally cut his teeth on broccoli from the garden! (At about 10 months old, I’d swap him a floret of broccoli or a freshly pulled and rinsed carrot for the rocks he was gnawing on!) He was weaned from the breast at about 10 months old (he was chewing instead of sucking). He just turned 24 and has done quite well – hasn’t starved, is still more than happy to try new flavors and textures.

  33. Hearing how others feed their babies is always fascinating to me! I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing with BLW, really – my 3 concerns/problems:
    1. What about things like yogurt and soup? Still spoon feed those, right?
    2. My John LOVES to have a slice of cucumber or a carrot stick or apple slice, but then he just bites off pieces and spits them out all over (the high chair tray or the house). Drives me nuts! Is that normal?
    3. I would love to just cut up a hamburger on his tray, but he always stuffs it ALL in at once, then spits it all out, so it doesn’t get eaten and he risks choking/gagging. If we put one bite at a time on the tray, all is well, but that’s almost as much work as spoon feeding. Any ideas?

    ‘Wonderful post and adorable little girl, Aimee! :) Katie
    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship’s last post: Cloth Diaper Myths Revealed (& Longevity Updates to the Big Review)

  34. It’s so interesting how baby food had become a whole industry. Even the traditional books seem to indicate that purées are a short term part of introducing foods, but now the baby aisle has all these foods for different ages and the marketing would have you believe that even toddlers need “special” foods.

    I still remember a good friend of mine talking about how her oldest (at 8 month) was such a good eater “… But I just can’t get him to eat quinoa!” at the time, I didn’t even know what quinoa was, but it wasn’t long before I started understanding this much more wholistic few of feeding our kids. And with my second child, he was so adverse to pretty much any foods that we just gave up on the purées and ended up doing BLW by accident!

  35. Very interesting post. I wonder how things might have been different, if at all, 9 years ago, if I’d thought more about this. From the beginning, my 10-yr old has been a choker – she’s choked on so many different types of food when she was little. I nursed for 2 years, and we did organic jarred baby food (didn’t choke on that), but we had a tough transition to table food, with many aversions (still). A couple years ago we found she has tongue problems (I’ve never seen a tongue as long as hers) and didn’t swallow correctly, so it was 6 months of “swallowing therapy” for her. Sounds crazy, we’d never heard of such a thing. She does swallow correctly now, but the food aversions haven’t changed. I wonder if we’d tried solids earlier, or something, if that would have helped, or if things wouldn’t have been any different because of whatever her swallowing problem was (not tongue-tied, just incorrect swallow). Or, we would have had more choking, who knows. Very interesting to ponder anyway, thanks!

  36. THANK YOU for posting about BLW. I read about it when pregnant with my first child and it has been the most fantastic experience for us as a family to enjoy food with both our children. We have found it encourages intuitive, nutritious eating, and eliminates mealtime battles. Our 3 year old is fussier now than she was as a baby but in a week-long period her nutritional intake is perfect and we don’t have to fight about what and how much she eats. Remember that self-feeding using a spoon is a part of the process – our little boy loves eating that way. The philosophy of the BLW method is just so sound and although it’s messy (we use a shower curtain under the high chair) the joy of watching food exploration far outweighs the effect of the mess.

  37. Great article! We started doing BLW with our 1st “by accident,” too, not realizing it was a “thing,” just offering him whatever was on our plates. The only problem I ran into was with my 2nd, who loved eating, ate any and everything, but had trouble keeping her weight up between about 9 months and 15 months (maybe she had trouble gaining because we avoided grains? I don’t know). I did offer some really calorie-rich purees during this time, and fed her with a spoon, to supplement her normal eating, just because I was concerned about her weight. Have you ever heard about BLW babies having trouble gaining weight while they’re still learning to eat? She was totally healthy in every other way, developing normally, etc., just couldn’t gain without some supplemental feeding.
    Danielle @ Analytical Mom’s last post: Summery Salmon Salad

  38. We did something like this for my babies; it made weening way more natural and easy.

    :-/ You have a lot of beautiful pics, but they aren’t realistic. Or my children are messy eaters, I had to keep a burp rag, or dish rag, or whole towel just to keep from having to mop afterwards.
    Durante’s last post: Comment on Daily Dose – 9/6/2012; Rocky by Paula J

  39. After 1 week of doing purées (and not quite puréeing apple enough), I’m wondering if we should try BLW with our little one. I had thought that we had to wait until 6 months to start, and our son (5.5 months) has been ready for food for awhile. Hmm… thanks for the thoughts to think about!

  40. We unknowingly practiced “BLW” with all 4 of our sons. At the time I called it “Lazy Parenting.” ;)
    I know every family is different, but I question the need to begin solids before 6 months. In fact, one of my sons showed no significant interest in food until he was 10 months old.

  41. I am in love with that photo of her enjoying an ear of corn!!

    We did BLW with my 2 year old daughter, and I am never going back to that land of mushy, pureed food. Something that I heard when doing research was something to the effect of, “is it easier for you to choke when you’re feeding yourself or when someone is sticking a spoon in your mouth?” It just makes so much sense to let them control what goes into their mouth.

    I just wanted to comment too on the fact that you started at 4 months. I think it’s awesome that you looked at Clara and chose to start when SHE was ready, not at a time that someone else was telling you she SHOULD be ready. My son was ready at 6 months, your daughter at 4, my daughter at 5 1/2, and my MIL tells me that at 3 months my hubby took a potato off her plate and ate it before she realized what was going on. Every kid is different and there is no standard age at which they are magically ready to eat solids-we need to make that decision based on their individual development.
    Amanda @ The Fun Mommy’s last post: Updated Goals

  42. Wow! What can I say! I just found your site from a Google alert and am excited at the positive stories. So many of you guys just did BLW spontaneously, which is, to me, what proves it makes sense. All I did was to write about it, so that moms can be proud to ‘admit’ to being lazy parents!! But it’s you folks who are really spreading the word. By the way, did anyone see Steve Harvey on Thursday (Sept 6th)??
    Gill

  43. I have a 5 month old who started blw last week. She loves it and I love it. So glad my friend recommended it.

  44. What a beautiful well written post (with gorgeous photos too, of course). With my first (15 yrs ago) we did the baby food stuff. By the time the second came along we introduced only solids, no purees, and continued doing this with the last two kids as well. I had no idea it had a name. Wish I knew that then and I could have defended myself from those crazy looks and comments for family and strangers. I now have 4 kids who are pretty great eaters (even though one has chosen to be a vegetarian!!).
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets’s last post: Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Frosting

  45. I read this hoping it’d be informative and it was but I also must point out the flaws here:

    The word weaning is a British term meaning to add complimentary foods. It has nothing to do with weaning. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for the first 6 months because before then babies can’t properly digest foods. I also highly suggest you research ‘virgin/open gut’ on Kellymom.com. Another thing that really makes me upset is your guidelines for when a baby is ready. Drooling is NOT a sign of food readiness. Baby reaching isn’t a sign of food readiness either, a baby will reach for a sharp knife or lit candle, it’s curiosity. The TRUE signs of readiness are: sitting completely UNASSISTED, loss of tongue thrust reflex, and pincher grasp(meaning baby can pick up food with thumb and finger but doesn’t scoop food into palm aka as palmer grasp.

    Please research before putting misinformation out there.

  46. LOVE seeing a post on BLW! (Though I wish it were mentioned more as baby led solids — there’s no *weaning* per say!) We did this my son and he is now 2.5 and will eat anything and everything. I love it! Everyone always comments on how amazing it is, both the variety and how well. It’s never a battle to get him to eat…actually it’s usually a battle to get him to stop eating as he eats such healthy foods.

    The only thing I’d reiterate with those not familiar with BLW, is it’s really not about them taking food off your plate or smacking their lips while they watch you eat. They’re interested in what you’re eating, yes (because they’re interested in everything you do), but their digestive systems aren’t ready for solids until at least 6 months old. Also, unassisted sitting up and no more tongue reflex are a MUST before any parent allows their baby to experience solid food.

  47. Yay for BLW/BLF… We do it too.

    Tip for clean-up: I bought 5 cheapish square tablecloths made of a synthetic blend. I pop them under the highchair, and then just pick them up & either just shake out, or wash after each meal. Simple and effective. Especially when you have something like porridge for breakfast :)
    rakster’s last post: Busted – burgers and chips

  48. Wow! Thanks for sharing your experience — and great pics! I definitely think there’s something to be said for not relying on baby purees for too long (the tastes are often bland and they don’t teach your children to accept and enjoy different flavors). I also think children are ready for more ‘real’ foods much sooner than most parents feeling comfortable giving them. All that said, I have to be honest: seeing a photo of a 4 month old (is that how old your adorable daughter is in the pic? You mentioned that you started her at 4 months) sucking on a chicken bone is shocking! I would not feel comfortable doing this, not knowing what might splinter. In any event, again, thank you for sharing this. Amelia

  49. Hi there,
    So my neighbor has been telling me about this way of feeding (she did it with 2/3). But until tonight i didnt know it had a name and have looked all over the internet for info on it (found u on pintrest). I have a 2yr old and a 7mo old. I have used the spoon feeding method with both but would love to transition my 7mo old. How do i go about doing it? Im so concerned about him choking.
    Thank you for sharing! Samara

  50. Ok, Ms. Aimee – I could text you, but thought I’d start to reply right on your page. You’ve convinced us. We will start (a little late) with BLW this week. Léa has been eating cereal, which we’ve increased to 3x’s per day. We were going to start puréed veggies this week (she’s a late started mostly due to my nervousness and listening to the doctor’s advice about not feeding our colicky baby (other than breastmilk) until after 6 months. But now, purées seem to be off the table! I’ve lots of reading to do to figure this out…..what do I start with, is it for every meal, do we do cereal in the morning for breakfast……? So many questions…..I’ll read up on the subject, then hit you with my questions. Thank you for the education! This mama is learning as she goes! What a blessing to have you as a friend :) xx

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge