TTM about introducing solids/Baby Led Weaning — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

TTM about introducing solids/Baby Led Weaning

Not sure where to come and ask this but here goes...

LO is 4 months old, obviously a couple months shy of intro'ing solids but I want to ask early. I will see ped next week and get their 411 also BUT...

The more research I do, the more I do not want to give LO baby food. I am 100% opposed to cereal, somewhat opposed to baby food. I have done minor research on BLW but like most parents, am kinda concerned about the choking aspect.

Can you all tell me what your experiences have been like? Have any of you done BLW? Since I'm a FTM whose nannied a zillion kids who did things the regular way (bottles, cereal, etc.) I'm lost. Plus I can't listen to a thing my mom says bc her ways are not up to par with today.


PCOS // Loss 3/2010 // Single Mom // Natural Birth // DC Metro // Baby Girl Born 2/2/2014

Re: TTM about introducing solids/Baby Led Weaning

  • We did BLW and loved it! So good for baby, and so good for your wallet! ;)

    Baby is not ready for solids at some arbitrary day on a calendar (i.e. 6mo). Even just showing an interest in solids at mealtime does not indicate readiness: oftentimes baby just wants to be a part of what everyone else is doing (and clearly enjoying!), and giving baby a spoon or some plastic cups to play with is enough to make him happy.

    Baby is ready for solids when he shows ALL the physical signs that his digestive system is mature enough to process them well. These include:

    Sitting up unassisted
    Improved pincer grasp
    Loss of tongue-thrust reflex
    Baby is able to chew (often has a couple teeth)
    Baby will pick up solid foods happily and put them in his mouth

    Solids in the first year of a breastfed baby's life are mostly just for play, exploring textures and flavors, future eating practice, and fine motor development. You can start by just making healthy and safe solid foods available on his tray during mealtimes for him to play with. He may just play with the cool-feeling foods. He might smell them and he might even taste them! Yum. :)

    This way, he's eating just what he needs/wants, and breastmilk remains his primary source of nutrition for his first year of life.

    We started offering DS solids between 7 and 8 months, and we offered pear slices, banana, sweet potato, and avocado. He didn't like avocado (which I too bad because it's a great source of healthy fat!), but he loved the others. Between 8 and 9 months, we would still offer those foods, but we transitioned to putting on his tray whatever we were eating for lunch/dinner. Sometimes he would eat it. Sometimes he would just play. That's the BLW way!
  • eg214eg214 member
    Thank you for your input! I was worried about what to put out for her that would be less choke-ish. She has started taking a big interest in what I'm eating but I know she isn't ready for solids, nor do I want to give them to her anytime soon. 

    PCOS // Loss 3/2010 // Single Mom // Natural Birth // DC Metro // Baby Girl Born 2/2/2014
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  • we also did BLW and loved it. it is so much less work than spoon feeding! your LO can eat while you eat. it's also a great sensory activity for them. we started DS with cooked sweet potato, chunks of banana, apple and carrot slices, and cooked strips of chicken. we also did some yogurt and oatmeal (you can put the stuff on the spoon for your LO, and then hand it to them so they're in charge of actually putting it in their mouth). when they develop the pincer grip, you can give raisins, cooked ground turkey or beef, small fruits like blueberries, etc.

    as PP said, don't worry about choking. their own gag reflex will push the food back out if it's too big for them to handle. there are lots of BLW videos on youtube if you want to watch kids eat various foods to get an idea of what the whole process is like.

    here's a PDF with a good overview:

  • Robi1Robi1 member
    We started baby-led weaning at six months. We gave avocado and sweet potato first, in large chunks. For a little while she just gummed stuff and made a big mess, but within a few weeks she was able to chew, move things around her mouth and swallow small pieces of food. We did not introduce foods slowly, we mostly just gave her pieces of whatever we were eating. The only things we avoided were very hard or crunchy things (and of course, unhealthy stuff - we only do vegetables, fruits and meats). 

    Pretty quickly we had to start cutting her food up small because she would try to swallow larger pieces. Her pincer grasp developed and she can now pick up microscopic pieces easily. We never fed her anything with a spoon/fork at all until she was much older and very capable of feeding herself. She gagged up pieces a few times, but no choking, and she very rarely even gags now. 

    It's slightly more work to start with but quickly becomes much easier because I can just set a pile of food out and she'll eat on her own. It's so nice at restaurants to just order a kids meal and she feeds herself while we eat. She has eaten every thing we have offered her (shrimp, salmon, crab, swordfish, meatballs, onions, asparagus, flax seeds, nuts, every fruit and vegetable) and we have never had to give her any sort of "kid food" like animal crackers, puffs, jarred baby food, etc. It's nice that we won't have to have any sort of transition from one type of food to another, she's already eating what she'll be eating as she gets older. 

    She only got her first tooth at 10 months, and she still only has one. Hasn't affected her chewing at all. 
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  • @blu-eyedwife‌ I should have been more clear. I didn't mean that they had to have a fully developed pincer grasp. I listed that criteria thinking "they need to be able to grasp and pick up food." They have to have at least a somewhat improved grasp to get started with BLW...if they can't pick it up, they can't eat it. That's all I meant. :)

    And with the teeth, kids get teeth at all sorts of ages. Sometimes kids will have teeth when they're ready to start solids. Sometimes not. They should be able to chew, though...or make the chewing motion with their mouths. :)
  • Looking back on that stage, I think one thing that was harder for me than I had anticipated was making the shift from "feeding" to "eating."  When your baby is small, FEEDING encompasses a lot of your relationship, and it's THE big task during the early months of parenting.  Much of what you're doing to care for your infant involves feeding in some way.  Learning to relinquish control over what your child eats takes years!  As recently as this afternoon I was nagging my 13 y/o daughter about her choice of snack and suggesting (ahem!) that she would rather eat an orange than Ritz crackers.

    If I could go back and give advice to myself when I was at the stage where you are now, I'd say, "Don't bother with jars of baby food.  It's a gigantic waste of time and money.  Continue to count on milk as the baby's primary source of nutrition, and let her experiment with self-feeding for a while.  Just give the baby whatever healthy food you're eating, in a form that's safe and manageable given the baby's motor development.  Mush up veggies with your fork, and let her play with them.  Let her gnaw and slobber on a pizza crust. Let it go from there.  Don't worry so much!"
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • eg214eg214 member
    Thanks all! I am excited when this time comes for her and confident in not choosing baby food. Will be a sad day though when the time comes she no longer needs my milk as often or at all. Hopefully not for a long time! :)

    PCOS // Loss 3/2010 // Single Mom // Natural Birth // DC Metro // Baby Girl Born 2/2/2014
  • My only suggestion is do NOT buy the BLW book.
    Instead, buy the BLW cookbook.
    The cookbook really has all the info you want/need, and as an added plus, has recipes to try.  The other book has a lot of stories and is kind of repetitive after a while.

    We've been doing BLW since our son was just shy of 6 months (he swiped a tortellini from my bowl).
    We've offered him all sorts of things, but his current favorites are yogurt, filled pasta (tortellini, ravioli, gyoza), anything chicken, or anything curry.
    He really loves his curry lol.

    Teeth are definitely not a prerequisite for BLW, but they do make biting bits off a lot easier.
    If you don't already have a high chair, look for one that's super easy to clean.
  • mmookimmooki member
    DD was not interested or ready for food until about 7-8 months.  She was EBF until then.  She was 6.5w early so this may have had something to do with it.  We gave her some foods to play with while we were eating but just for fun.  We did a bit of cereal (which she did not like) and yogurt (she still eats to this day).  She didn't cut a tooth until after her first birthday.  Her molars did not come in until almost 18 months and she still doesn't have her canines fully in or her 2 year molars (was 2 in March).  Listen to your kid and pay attention to their cues.  Now at 2, DD eats everything in sight!  I swear she has a hollow leg. 
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  • =Lee=B=Lee=B member

    My 15month old started BLW at 6months we experienced zero choking...but some gagging.  Learn the difference between the two before you begin.  Fully encourage BLW. 

    Our daughter is an amazing eater and I do believe that BLW is largely the reason for this. 


  • I blogged about our wonderful journey with DS1. I really should do one about DS2 someday, too. he had different preferences (pickier and not as coordinated), but it was equally as great.  We loved the BLW book. As for recipes, we just made modifications to whatever we were eating.

  • LC122LC122 member
    Eh, I've heard many a story about actual choking, not gagging, but chunk of food caught in throat, back thrusts given choking with BLW. It seems to be a trend lately. BLW, not choking.

    In the grand scheme of things, your baby will go from not eating any "food" (other than milk or formula) to eating anything that isn't physically a choking hazard or allergen in a relatively short period of time. So, as much as we all like to research and debate these things, it will be a very brief stage.

    I can make an argument against or negate about every point that a BLWer will make. I have yet to find a Pediatrician that recommends it, though some will say "if you want to try it, go ahead". And I have never seen any research supporting it.

    That being said, can you imagine a time before commercial baby food? It actually wasn't that long ago.

    When you say "baby food" are you referring to commercially-made baby food or all puréed baby food? Just curious.

    Anyway, keep doing your research and talk to people who have done both. BLW does not ensure a non-picky eater, nor does it protect your milk supply more than purées. It is one of the many choices we have as parents. Just make sure you're at peace with whatever you decide.
  • @LC122 BLW actually does protect your milk supply vs. spoon feeding purees. It's not about purees vs. finger foods, though. It's that spoon feeding baby can easily lead to over-feeding solids. When baby is the one feeding himself, he's more likely to stop when he's full.

    We did BLW but offered plenty of purée-style foods, like applesauce or mashed potato, mashed sweet potato, etc. They're great textures to explore.

    I feel like the main ideas behind BLW are:

    1. Wait until child is physiologically ready to introduce solids
    2. Allow child to feed himself (which can even be done with some purees...just messily). ;)

    Finger foods ARE great for fine motor development, though! :)
  • LC122LC122 member
    This part:
    "It's that spoon feeding baby can easily lead to over-feeding solids. When baby is the one feeding himself, he's more likely to stop when he's full."

    Yeah, I don't buy that either. A baby being spoon-fed will communicate when they are full and/or disinterested in eating any more. Just because you "can" overfeed, doesn't mean you will. And if you are timing/spacing your nursing and feedings, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Again, I've never met a BLW point I couldn't argue/negate. I think it boasts a lot of things that sound sensical to a lot of people, but just aren't facts.

    Also BLW tends to act like feeding purées is a process of single consistency foods. It's not. Nor does it mean your kid never gets finger foods.
  • We do a combination of both, and I feel like it's a happy medium. I spoon feed him some things, and let him play with others, depending on what we're eating and what he's eating, if we're out and about and trying to keep an outfit clean, etc. I did want to add that DS can definitely communicate when he's full or wants more, he is 7 months old. Right now it's mostly body language, but we're working on sign language to help :-)
  • eg214eg214 member
    Thanks everyone. I think I've decided on some BLW with mashed/mushy foods also like apple sauce and mashed potatoes and all that. 

    PCOS // Loss 3/2010 // Single Mom // Natural Birth // DC Metro // Baby Girl Born 2/2/2014
  • We also did BLW - started with stick-shaped foods, but let her try all sorts of things. She made gagging noises a couple of times, but easily worked it out. Overall, I was surprised at how little gagging we experienced. We definitely waited until she was able to sit unassisted - if they are leaning back/slumping, then there *is* the potential for a serious choking hazard. We also weren't opposed to her eating foods that come in puree form - she ate applesauce, and yogurt, and mashed potatoes, etc.

    The one thing I'll say is, regardless of the feeding "method" you go with, make sure baby gets to eat a lot of different tastes/spices/etc (minus salt). Feed her whatever you eat. DD hasn't yet hit the "2 years old and will only eat plain pasta" phase, but for now, she happily eats pretty much anything (today, she has had oatmeal, a nectarine, a piece of bagel with PB, peas/carrots/corn, and a chicken quesadilla with spinach, avocado and salsa).
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