I’ve gotten a TON of questions about how I started Brady on solid foods, so it was definitely time for an update!
when the twins were four months old our pediatrician mentioned at their well check that we could offer them baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. I hadn’t done a ton of research about feeding feeding babies because, well, hello I had two at once and I was just trying to make it to the next day and keep them alive. so, I did what I assumed I was supposed to do and started with oatmeal and proceeded to months and months of homemade purees. I would spend an entire Saturday making homemade food for them and couldn’t even look at a sweet potato to eat for myself. when they hit 12 months old I had yet to offer them anything other than puffs or yogurt melts (huge mom mistake on my part) so the transition to table foods was pretty exhausting.
I learned about baby led weaning long after the twins would benefit but decided that I would give it a whirl with Baker. a little apprehensive, I still felt inclined to feed her from a spoon. I started with baby oatmeal at six months old and eventually got up the courage to offer her table foods only, and it went pretty well! she was only halfway interested in food, so even still I wasn’t super impressed with solely doing BLW.this third time around, baby led weaning has sort of (un-intentionally) fallen into our lap. I had decided I was going to make Brady purees, starting with baby cereals and working our way through the vegetables. I was excited to be making baby food again but I hadn’t figured out when I would fit it in- ha! around 7 months Brady showed interest in real food (aka started swatting/grabbing/dive bombing for whatever food I was eating), and its been really fun to see what else he might like to eat. initially I was going to do a mixture of both purees and solid foods but thinking about it now, he hasn’t has a pureed food in almost 2 weeks.
I started with avocado:: literally cut open an avocado and scooped out a slice to put it on his tray and it was gone in about a minute:: and I have gradually increased to other foods and we’ve got a fun list going of things he likes to eat! something to also keep in mind is that breastmilk/formula should still be your baby’s main source of nutrition. BLW “meals” should not replace a bottle feeding but it is okay if it lengthens the time between feedings. Brady is eating “breakfast” meal and a “dinner” meal which has pushed his bottles from about 3 hours in between to four hours before he’s ready for more milk. a mid-day meal is hit or miss because of his nap schedule, but I do offer him something informally if we are eating out during the day (and he is awake). B A B Y – L E D W E A N I N G
basically:: baby-led weaning is all about babies feeding themselves real food. instead of buying or making pureed foods, give them “table” foods starting around 6 months of age. instead of spooning bites into their mouth, put the food on the tray and let them feed themselves. while this is the technical term for BLW, I do more of a modified BLW approach and offer Brady some things on a spoon like whole milk yogurt and oatmeal.T H E P R O S to B L W:
- greater exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods from a jar.
- early introduction to different textures and flavors- in hopes that they might be less picky eaters
- Baker is a prime example to this benefit. the twins remain pretty picky and Baker will eat/try anything I give her.
- skip the cost of jarred baby food (organic “fresh” jarred foods cost on average greater than $1 each)
- your child literally just eats what you’re already eating, so there is no additional prep for the baby and prep for the family.
- there’s no kid food vs adult food, there’s just food.
- we’ve been able to sit down as a family more often and eat together rather than they all eat and I feed the baby.
- hand/eye coordination development and fine motor “pincer grasp” control.
- perhaps the biggest benefit in my eyes, it’s easier to go places, because you don’t have to pack up special food for the baby in addition to whatever you’re already bringing or buying for yourself.
T H E C O N S to B L W:
- your baby will sometimes gag when they’re learning with solid foods. the biggest concept you have to understand as the parent is that gagging is different from choking. babies will gag as a way to move food around in their mouth and it’s totally fine and normal! obviously you have to be watching your kid when they eat no matter what.
- I don’t give large whole grapes, or any other food that’s a choking hazard in the beginning.
- in the beginning it is MESSY. you can expect that at least half of the food will end up on the floor or smushed in the high chair. but in just the short time Brady has been eating real food he’s gotten a lot less messy and has seemed to pick up this whole “eating real food” thing faster than I thought he would!
F I R S T F O O D S
- scrambled eggs + shredded mozzarella cheese
- organic refried beans // we like Amy’s vegetarian organic beans
- brown rice
- macaroni + cheese // we like Annie’s macaroni
- whole milk yogurt // we like stonyfield farms organic yogurt
- toasted whole grain waffles + nut butter // we like the VAN’s or Kashi brand waffles
- sliced strawberries
- homemade baby pancakes // we like Kodiak Cakes protein mix + breastmilk or water
- grilled cheese sandwich cut into stripes
- graham crackers (plain)
- sprouted whole grain toast + all natural peanut butter
- crock pot chicken // chicken breast + zesty italian dressing on LOW for 6 hours.
- rolled oats + peanut butter // whole oats cooked with water and 1 tbsp PB mixed in
- grilled chicken breast cut into strips
- hummus + wheat toast
- toasted English muffin + butter
pin for later!
I’m always looking for fun food ideas for my kids! recommendations + corrections + fun new things to try are definitely welcome!