You can check out the first part of this post where I talk about our journey with Baby Led Weaning (BLW) here. Like I mentioned before, we started BLW with my son when he was 6 months old. It has now been one and a half years since then.
Looking Back Now: Thoughts, Tips, and Triumphs with BLW
-Ok so first off, like I mentioned, I was terrified he was going to choke (which is a reasonable fear when you are giving someone solid food who has only had a liquid diet up until then). I would only feed him when my husband was home so that I would not be alone. And I did not leave his side the entire time he was eating and I was watching him like a hawk 😉
Anyway, I learned that at that age their gag reflex is actually closer in their throats. So if they were gagging (which does happen a LOT as they are learning), it is triggered much closer to the front of their mouth and they can easily get the food out. So one important thing that I had to learn was to figure out the difference of when he was gagging verses when he was choking (just so you know, he never actually did choke. He gagged a TON, but never to the point of choking).
The hardest thing for me with BLW was to not jump in to help him if he was gagging. Part of the process is letting them figure out how this whole food thing works. I kept reminding myself that he would eventually have to learn this even if I did mushed baby food first, and that I would rather it be at six months when his gag reflex was closer to the front of his mouth so that by the time it moved back, he would have figured it all out.
-Moving on…somewhat. Due to the whole gagging issue and letting them figure out this whole eating thing, I did find it very difficult to feed him around any other family members (other than my husband since he knew what was going on). We would have family over and I would try to wait to feed him until they left. (This was only when we first started). Unless you have gone over everything with your family, they might now totally understand (or might not even agree) with what you are doing. Well-meaning grandmas may grab your child and scoop food out of his mouth because he starts to gag a little. Like I mentioned before, it was hard not to jump in and help him, but it is a learning process (and if he isn’t actually choking, he is fine.) So I would either wait until they left or ask them to leave the kitchen so they were not tempted to “help” him.
-Restaurants! Let me tell you, it was so nice to be able to go out and just order a side of steamed veggies and let him eat them on his own. There was no opening up yucky baby food containers and spending the whole time spooning it into his mouth. I was able to sit and enjoy my dinner while my little guy ate his veggies. Though, of course, you have to spend some time waiting for them to cool down to a reasonable temperature.
-It is messy! BLW is very messy. There will be food everywhere; I’m talking all over the baby, the walls, the floor (well the entire kitchen basically), and you if you are sitting close enough. Your child is learning! They are learning about the different tastes, smells, and textures! This is something they don’t get if all their food is pureed. It is just a phase though. Like I said we are in this journey one and a half years and he is still pretty messy, but now it is mostly contained to just him, his chair, and maybe a few things on the floor (which is mostly from him attempting to scoop things with this fork). The picture below was pretty normal after a meal. Here he had just finished some blueberries and bananas! Needless to say, he had a lot of baths! 😉
-My toddler is obsessed with vegetables! I mean, he loves food in general and I keep mentioning that he is going to eat us out of house and home because he eats a ton of food. But I was literally having the discussion with him (two nights in a row!) that if he ate some of his chicken (or pasta) then I would give him more broccoli or carrots. He cannot get enough vegetables! I always see all these people who are trying their hardest to sneak vegetables into their toddlers food so they can get just a little in them, and I just don’t have that problem. Yes, he is a toddler, so one day he loves corn and the next he is crying because well…there is corn on his plate and he doesn’t want to even look at it… (insert eye roll, haha) But seriously, if I had to list his current favorite foods in order of what he likes most it would be broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cheese, clementines, grapes, pasta (Italian kid here 😉 ), bananas, chicken, etc. (like seriously, the list could go on and on!)
I honestly have no idea if that is because we used BLW or if I just have one strange child on my hands, ha! But I would like to think BLW has something to do with it.
-The last point I am going to make is how easy it was! I didn’t have to spend money on extra food for my son and I didn’t have to spend hours making him food. He really would just eat what we were having for dinner. I tried my best to keep fresh veggies on hand, but I did keep a good stock in my freezer and it was really easy to warm those up when I needed something quick for him.
A few ideas:
Lunch was always the hardest for me, so I thought I would share a few of our lunches we had once he was eating more than just veggies.
Have you heard of Baby Led Weaning? Did this convince you to look into it a little more? Feel free to email me if you have any questions.
**I mentioned this before, but please be sure to research this more before you try it. I am not a professional or a doctor, just a mom sharing what worked for her. 😉