If you are thinking about starting baby led weaning with your baby it can seem a little overwhelming, but with these baby led weaning tips you will be set up for a successful baby led feeding adventure!
The Best Baby Led Weaning Tips from Moms Who Have Done it a Time or Two
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As I sit here and think back over the years of raising littles some of my best motherhood memories were teaching those sweet little babies to eat! I remember my first, Colby, I was a little bit of a control freak. LOL. I was used to a clean house and being in control of everything. I remember about that time hearing about the benefits of baby led weaning and realizing that baby led weaning was a great opportunity to help him learn and grow and express some independence.
So, at that moment, I read up on how to start BLW and decided to go on an adventure of a lifetime allowing my kids the opportunity to feed themselves.
Baby led weaning means letting go of our inner self a bit and of course, being a mom means wanting to keep things nice and neat and be in control. When you commit to BLW you have to let those things go and I am sharing how to do that with these 12 BLW Tips that will help you succeed at baby led weaning…
12 Baby Led Weaning Tips to help with Baby Led Weaning
Embrace the mess
The number one baby led weaning tip is definitely to embrace the mess!
This can be one of the most challenging BLW tips for Moms, but you can do it! Things are going to get messy… Baby Led Weaning is definitely messier than spoon feeding, but that’s ok! The point of baby led weaning is to let your baby explore new foods.
There is going to be a whole lot of mashing, smooshing and smearing as they discover a variety of foods. Take a deep breath and do your best to enjoy the process. Simply just embrace the mess!
It might be a good idea to invest in a wipeable mat to put under the high chair, like this Leather Splat Mat. This will make the cleanup process much easier, even Investing in a good plastic bib with a pocket to catch food is a good idea as well.
Getting the right Baby Led Weaning products to help fight the mess will solve a lot of mealtime messes! This is one of the baby led weaning tips you will be thanking us for later!
Start with Soft Foods
When it comes to BLW you want to always start with soft foods. Cooked vegetables and soft fruits such as avocados, bananas, and steamed broccoli are great foods to start with. As your baby gets more and more used to eating, you can start to give them other food like strips of toast with a spread of jelly or nut butter on them. There are some great baby led weaning starter foods out there.
Give Food That’s Easy to Hold
Offer your baby food that they can easily hold in their fist with enough sticking up for them to be able to chew on it. For example, you could cut a banana in half and remove the top part of the peel so your baby can hold on to the banana with a little bit sticking out for them to gnaw on.
Pay attention to textures! A strip of avocado might be hard for a baby to get ahold of. A quick BLW tip to help them hold onto something slippery like avocado is to roll that strip in almond meal or baby cereal. It gives them something to grab and adds some extra nutrients. You can also use a crinkle cutter to cut veggies for that extra grip.
The process of baby transitioning to solids might seem slow but remember to be patient! If they don’t seem all that interested at first, that’s ok! It will come. Don’t give up! Continue to give them the option at each meal to eat, and then supplement with formula or breastmilk after.
Just be there to lovingly encourage and support them every step of the way!
Always Watch Your Baby While They’re Eating
Another one of our baby led weaning tips that you don’t want to forget is to always watch your baby while they’re eating. They are still new to solid food and should never be left unattended while eating. Make sure you’re always nearby in case you do need to quickly intervene. There is sometimes fear with baby led weaning choking which we help you recognize the signs of choking in our baby led weaning gagging post.
Less is More
Try to just offer your baby one or two different items at a time. If too many options are placed in front of them, they could get overwhelmed.
Don’t Cut Food Too Small
I know it makes since to give your baby small pieces of food when baby led weaning, but you want to make sure you don’t cut the food too small.
A good guideline is to cut food in strips that are the width of one-two adult fingers so they have enough to grab. If certain foods are cut too small, they can present more of a choking hazard. Be sure to check out this baby led weaning food size guide.
Don’t Wait Until They’re Too Hungry
Time your baby’s meals to be in between a milk feeding. Hunger can be really frustrating for a baby and can make them too agitated to even eat what you put food in front of them. It’s important to give them meals before they reach that point!
Along with this baby led weaning tip, don’t wait for your baby to be too tired. This will cause the same frustration as well.
Avoid Foods That Present a Choking Hazard
One of the absolute most important baby bed weaning tips is to remember to stay away from choking hazards. Food like whole grapes, raw vegetables, popcorn, raisins, sticky nut butters, hot dogs and foods with pieces that could obviously break off and get stuck are all foods that could cause choking.
One of the BLW tips to remember how to avoid foods that present as a choking hazard is that if it’s the size of a coin, it is best to avoid it.
Don’t Panic if Baby Gags
Gagging and choking are two different things. Gagging is actually a safety reflex that prevents choking, so really it is your baby protecting himself!
Gagging will happen as your baby gets used to having something different in their mouth, but they will learn and eventually get the hang of eating new textures and taste.
It is always nerve-racking to hear your baby gagging, but do your best to let him work through and don’t panic if baby gags it is their way or learning new foods. It is also important to don’t panic if baby gags because you could scare them even more!
To learn more about BLW gagging and BLW choking visit our post on this!
Sometimes you need to just take a step back and let them try to feed themselves. Do your best to let them explore on their own. If you put food in baby’s mouth it actually presents more of a choking hazard because they aren’t in control anymore, so do your best to let them feed themselves!
Don’t worry if they aren’t eating much. Especially at the beginning, the point is to get baby used to different tastes and textures and isn’t as much about the calories. He will be getting the nutrition his body needs from breastmilk/formula!
Offer Baby the Same Foods That You are Eating
It is important to offer your baby the same foods that you are eating. Your baby will start to show interest in family meal time, especially as you offer them the same food that you are eating. This is one of the greatest BLW tips because it’s a little bit less work for you since you can serve them the same food as the rest of the family
Just be sure that you set baby’s food aside before adding salt, sugar or spicy sauces.