Before I started baby led weaning, I had a lot of misconceptions. In fact,I didn’t know what it was: I had like-minded friends who told me that they did it, so I decided I was going to do it. Initially, I thought it just meant that you make your own baby food instead of buying it in jars. Then I learned that you actually give your baby food, from your own plate basically.
You don’t purée it or anything.
To a baby.
Once Alexander hit 6 months old (this was the end of the 2013), we jumped right in. We were bold! We were brave!
Just kidding; he had banana and avocado every day for 2 weeks. I had no experience in the kitchen and no clue what I was doing with this whole baby food thing. That’s when I decided to buy The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook. I learned from a few Facebook groups that the author (Rapley) wrote a BLW book and a BLW cookbook, but that the cookbook has a giant introduction that is a review of the first book. So I bought the cookbook on its own.
I started trying different recipes from the book: different fritters and
scones and so on. And after a while, I started making up my own ideas, as I was getting better and more confident in the kitchen.
By the time Alexander was a year old, I was well versed in BLW but didn’t know where to find and share food ideas. That’s why I started BLW Ideas on Instagram. And now, two years later, I have learned even more about BLW than I thought was possible. Holly asked me for a general post about BLW,
so I’ll share 5 sets of things:
– 5 things to know about BLW
– 5 types of foods to avoid
– 5 great first foods
– my 5 favorite meals to throw together
– 5 FAQs I’ve gotten over the years
1. With BLW you skip the purées and jump to the finger food stage!
2. Gagging is part of the process.
3. Teeth are not necessary.
4. 6 months is just a guideline for starting solids; you want to wait until your baby can sit up at least in a chair (not a Bumbo!), has lost the tongue thrust reflex, and can bring objects to his mouth. (Sometimes, there’s a medical reason for starting earlier. Your doctor will let you know!)
5. It’s just one way to wean. Traditional weaning (various levels of purées leading to finger foods) is the other common way babies are weaned these days. There’s no right or wrong, better or worse. It’s just different!
5 types of foods to avoid
1. Choking hazards! Those are the foods that are most likely to cause
choking and, if choked on, they are hardest to retrieve. Sure, anything
CAN be choked on, and anyone of any age can choke! The list that’s out there is just for the common issues. For a baby, that’s whole grapes,whole hot dogs and sausages, chunks of meat/cheese/fruit/veggie, whole nuts, popcorn, and chips. Sticky foods aren’t recommended either, since they are hard to manage at first.
2. Common allergens! Okay, there’s no need to avoid them forever, but the common allergens and intolerances (eggs, dairy, strawberries, etc) should be introduced more cautiously. In other words, don’t give strawberries mixed into yogurt with a side of egg, all on day 1. It’s good to introduce them separately so you can spot any reactions. (I won’t get into allergies or allergic reactions since those are big topics on their own!)
3. Honey! Not until at least 12 months old. Molasses is also a
4. Added salt and sugar! Add salt at the table, and for sugar? Use unsweetened applesauce or a mashed banana to replace sugar in most recipes.
5. Bland foods! There’s no good reason to stick to super bland foods for your baby. I wouldn’t try something super spicy right out of the gate, but include lots of flavor in your foods. Some babies LOVE spicy foods, believe it or not!
5 great first foods
1. Sweet potato
5. Egg yolk
1. Chicken and vegetables: Chop some root and other vegetables (I use carrot, potato, parsnip, and Brussels sprouts), toss them in a little oil,and place them in a baking dish. Place a whole chicken or pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken on top. Wipe the chicken down with a little oil as well, plus a salt-free rub. Pour about 1 cup of chicken broth over everything. Then bake the whole thing, uncovered, for 1.5 hours at 400 degrees F.
2. Frittata: Quickly cut a green onion and a handful of spinach, and sauté them on the stovetop. Add 5-6 eggs, a splash of milk, and pour it into a greased pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375F. Add chopped bits of ham, potato (cooked), sautéd mushrooms, cheese, etc!
3. Sweet potato pancakes: I bake several sweet potatoes at a time. Then I scoop out the insides and use it to make these pancakes! I just mix mashed sweet potato with two or three eggs (I add eggs until I reach a pancake batter consistency). I add a pinch of cinnamon. Then I fry them like pancakes!
4. Beef cabbage and tomato: Here’s a link to the recipe:
5. Pizza spaghetti pie: This is not my recipe, but we eat it at least once a week. It’s great! paleomg.com/almost-5-ingredient-pizza-spaghetti-pie
5 FAQs I’ve gotten over the years
1. When should my baby be able to use a fork? You can start using utensils
as early as you want. Most babies are good with a fork first, around 12-15
months. Most are good with a spoon shortly after!
2. What about beverages? A small glass of water at each meal is great. But
for beginners, be sure to offer breast or bottle 20-30 minutes before meals.
3. When can I start cutting food into bite sizes? That happens around 8-9 months, when the pincer grasp develops!
4. What is your favorite high chair, bib, etc? Check out
5. What about baby sign language? Start early! Learn the signs for more,done, milk, please, and thank you, and use them a lot! It really helps with BLW and every other aspect of life!
For more info on starting BLW, you can visit blwideas.com/start!
Thanks for reading!
Photos are copyrighted and property of Holly Charis Sneath