I wanted to bring up the topic of Baby Led Weaning again, because we are once again in that phase of life. My youngest is now 6 months old and we have started with table foods. This is kind of a big deal and crazy to think that our little man is half way to his first birthday.
If you can remember, back 2 years ago, I started William with Baby Led Weaning. If you want to read about that experience - CLICK HERE. With this second time around, I feel more comfortable introducing my little one to table foods, but has been a different experience. William was already sitting up independently at 6 months. Samuel is not sitting unassisted yet, but doing great at pivoting on his belly and rolling from back to front and front to back. He has been sitting with me at the table when we eat dinner and loves to be at the table. I have now been placing him in his high chair and giving him soft foods that we are eating at dinner. He loves being there with the family and is always so excited. He is grabbing the food and working on getting it to his mouth. The large majority of food falls to the floor or into the chair, but he tries so hard. He is doing a great job and I am working hard to not compare him with his brother.
We have tried a large variety of foods already - Chinese noodles were a big hit, he loved veggie straws, cooked veggies like broccoli was fun to try as well. William loves to try to “help” him eat as well. We are trying to teach William to let Samuel learn on his own.
Key Points with Baby Led Weaning to Remember …
Coughing is good. This is one of the biggest initial challenges with baby led weaning. Most parents worry and freak out when their baby coughs, but coughing is a good thing. The baby is working to protect their airway and learning how to properly do that. Remain calm at the table, we often praise the cough and say “good coughing” with a smile.
Eating is for practice. As I mentioned above so much of the food that I give Samuel never makes it into his mouth. Instead it is all over the floor, in his chair or on his clothes, but that is fine. The goal is smelling, touching, tasting and some eating at meal time. It is a complete sensory experience and the goal is a positive interaction with food.
Keep things positive. Some times the amount of time the baby is in the chair isn’t the entire meal time. There have been a couple of meals, where Samuel was not into eating, was tired and cranky. He sat and tried food for maybe 10 minutes and then when he was obviously done, I asked him “all done?” and then once he was calmer, I took him out of his chair. It isn’t about how long the baby sits in the chair, but instead cultivating a positive eating experience.
Variety. The amazing benefit of baby led weaning is the ability to exposure your child to new foods. Work to eat a variety of foods and then give those to your child as well. We always aim for a vegetable, entree/protein and a fruit at dinner. We try to switch things up and then never order kid’s meals at restaurants. We purchase a regular meal and then share it with the child. Normally the kid’s meal is just chicken nuggets, applesauce, more bland foods with limited variety.
Family meal time. Working to have that family time and sitting together at the table is important for teaching your little one how to eat and how that social event occurs. Children who have family meals do better in school, feel more supported by their family and tend to eat a wide array of foods. This is a win, win, win for all involved.
If you have any questions about baby led weaning, let me know. Check out some of these pictures of our meal time. If you want some additional resources check out - Fortified Family, Feeding Littles, The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook.