So… It’s taken me almost 2 months to finish a blog post :)
Baby A is already 8 months old, and has become an exuberant, chatty ball of chub that never ceases to amaze me. These past 8 months have been a never-ending roller coaster; we’re teething (but no teeth yet), rocking, rolling, army-crawling, and eating food with the best of them. We decided to do “baby led weaning” (or as I like to call it, baby let feeding, as the definition of weaning differs here vs the UK which can confuse people) when it was time to introduce solids. Our pediatrician is pro BLW which we were glad to hear. With BLW, instead of purees we give A large chunks of super ripe or steamed foods so that he can learn to chew first, and then learn to swallow. It’s super easy to do as there’s minimal food prep involved (yay!), and it’s teaching A how to chew and move food around his mouth before swallowing, so it may reduce his risk of choking (double yay!). And of course it’s ridiculously cute watching a baby devour a kiwi. I’m amazed at how quickly he got the hang of things; in the beginning he’d use his gag reflex a lot as he practiced moving food around his mouth, but now he rips through things and actively chews and swallows! We have given him some super mashed foods when caregivers who aren’t familiar with BLW have fed him, or when we were out of large pieces or produce- we just left the food super chunky so that he can still chew it. When spoon feeding, we use a Num Num Dipper spoon so that he can still feed himself. It’s pretty simple; you dip the spoon and hand it over, and the baby takes care of the feeding part. Baby A has yet to refuse or dislike something we’ve given him- Babies have a heightened taste for sweet, and most of the things we’ve given him fall under that category, so everything has been agreeable so far.
Once he develops his pincer grip I’ll be able to give him beans and peas. * As of recently I’ve been giving him beans to help him practice pinching, and I can’t help but pop one in his mouth for him, he LOVES them so much!
One thing I love about BLW vs spoon feeding is that A doesn’t get angry or frustrated when feeding himself like he does waiting for me to load up a spoon to give to him. I also can’t help love how simple food prep is; pop a couple things in the steamer, grab a couple extra fruits at the grocery store, and boom: done. Only a few friends have been apprehensive when they learned what we were doing, “You don’t cut the food up?! What if he chokes?”, but once they actually watch A eat, they quickly realize how much control he really has, that he is actually chewing/gumming the food, , and how big the pieces really are in relation to his mouth. For example, If I were to give pieces of bell pepper, I would cut a pepper length wise from stalk to end, and leave the strips 2 inches wide. Also, since babies receive the bulk of their calories and nutrients through breastfeeding or formula until their first birthday, you don’t need to obsess or worry over how much food your baby actually swallows when first starting out.
Foods we’ve given thus far;
Avocado – too hard to eat with hands for the first month
Steamed carrots mixed with curry, and cashew butter
Sweet potato with curry and cashew butter
Butternut squash with- you guessed it- cashew butter and curry powder! I swear I’m trying to get the kid hooked on indian food early.
Apple halves, sprinkled with cinnamon and steamed until soft
Bell Peppers, cut lengthwise and left several inches wide
Broccoli, large florets with plenty of stem
Cauliflower, same as broccoli
Sweet potato, roasted or steamed, skin removed. large half moons as thick as his fist
Black beans, whole, unsalted
Pinto beans, whole, unsalted
Melon, long slices one inch wide
Seedless watermelon, large wedges
Banana, half at a time. *these can be constipating, so don’t give too many in a week
Avocado, a third of an avocado, peeled
Champagne mango, roughly half at a time, excess peel removed as needed during mealtime
Pear, half at a time, cored
Peach, half at a time, skin removed
Strawberry, whole large berries * our pediatrician gave the a-ok on all nut butters and fruits
Roma tomato, half of an egg-sized tomato at a time. *these can give kiddos a raw tush, so don’t do too many in a week.
Kiwi, peeled, cored and left whole. I though kiwi would be too tart but A gobbled one down in 30 seconds!
Unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt
His first veggie- Broccoli!
Showing off his “num num dipper”
*sigh. his hair
We don’t plan on giving any grains to Little Dude until he’s a year old, which is already in four months (*tear). I’ve read conflicting info on whether or not grain intolerances can be prevented by waiting, but since it’s been proven that rice cereals and other grains don’t cause a baby to sleep better, longer, or have prolonged satiety, I’m not going to worry about them til later. He seems more than thrilled with his fruits and veggies, so I’ll enjoy his exuberance while it lasts.
When we first started BLW, he was nursing or getting expressed milk in a bottle every 2-3 hours, with one solids meal at dinnertime. At 8 months, he’s getting two solids meals a day; one between nursing/bottles in the early afternoon, and another at dinnertime. I plan on adding in breakfast around 10 months, and between meal snacks after a year. My plan is to nurse Baby A until he self-weans, so depending on teething, growth spurts, etc, his nursing schedule will fluctuate. Some babies will still nurse several times a day, others might only before naps or bedtime, so we’ll see what happens!