Baby led weaning… our introduction to solids

baby led weaning

Last week I posted an Instagram story (if you’re not following us on Instagram please do…) on baby led weaning.

Baby led weaning corn on the cob

PJ decided to try my corn (I hadn’t planned to give him this).

It was a poll and 88% of you said you were fans of it. I was also flooded with questions asking me about ages and types of foods my boys enjoyed. Therefore, today I thought I’d share a little of our experience and set myself a challenge. At the moment we are about 50:50 with baby led weaning and purees with PJ (7 months). However, we are definitely transitioning towards 100% baby led  weaning in the coming months.

What is baby led weaning?

According to One Handed Cooks (an amazing cookbook for

Baby led weaning dinner finger foods

Freddy eating his dinner of broccolini sweet potato and chicken at approx 9 months

introducing solids) baby led weaning “is a method of introducing solid foods to babies at around 6 months of age whereby they feed themselves without the need for spoons or pureed food of any kind”. The trick with it is making sure foods are appropriate, nutritionally balanced. Most importantly food is selected so babies can feed them to themselves.

A few rules of baby led weaning include making sure babies are well supervised, foods are not hard or inappropriate and are easy to pick up. For us this meant transitioning foods we usually pureed into a mash for our boys to scoop into their mouths themselves while we started to add more finger foods. Baby led weaning is definitely messy but Freddy is one of the least fussy eaters I know so for me its worth the mess to do it again with PJ. Luckily our waterproof playmats are easy to clean making them perfect for baby led weaning.

Starting solids: Our journey

When Freddy (now almost 3) first started solids I didn’t know much about baby led weaning and instead home made lots of purees. I made single fruit or vege purees such as apple, pear, sweet potato, carrot etc, and mixed and matched them for each meal. I kept Freddy on purees making them more and more lumpy until about 9 months of age when he started to refuse to be spoon feed. It was only then that I really got brave and started giving him more whole foods to enjoy – to be honest I was terrified of choking. This time around with PJ I still introduced solids with purees but with every puree from around 6 months onward he also had a whole piece of fruit.

Whole fruits:

Queensland Health now recommends starting solids at 6 months of age.

Baby led weaning with fruit such as apricots

PJ eating an apricot sliced into segments.

However, when Freddy was a baby it was 4 months. Therefore, we’ve still used that as our base (I’m not recommending this necessarily, it simply worked best for our boys). As we were already fans of baby led weaning we introduced whole fruits at a younger age (approx 6 months) than we did with Freddy. The first whole fruits I gave PJ were strawberries (really large ripe ones) which he could mash up with his gums and his newly sprouted teeth.

He didn’t always eat it all but he loved chewing and sucking on them and this is all part of the baby led weaning journey.

Early fruits they loved:

  • Strawberries
  • Steamed pear and apple
  • Mangoes
  • Apricots (halves or sliced into segments)
  • Plums (slices)
  • nectarines (slices or halves)
  • peaches (slices or halves)

 

In the early days of baby led weaning I used to peel the skin off as it can cause choking. Now I will often leave it on but supervise very closely. More recently I’ve also added watermelon and chopped blueberries and grapes (must be chopped as these can also cause choking).

Where to…

PJ loves eating solid foods with his hands. This means he is quickly losing interest in purees so I’m starting to offer him more baby led weaning options. These include foods such as roast veges, tiny shreds of fish or chicken, and soft foods such as sushi (I remove the nori). I also make a cheat vegetable frittata for his dinner which introduces allergens – egg and milk. I’ll include this recipe at the end.

Our challenge:

Over the next two months we are planning to shift to entirely baby led weaning and therefore I’m going to be sharing on Instagram and Facebook the recipes we try (mostly from the One Handed Cooks book). We will also share videos and photos of our journey in the hopes it gives you the confidence to try. Furthermore, if you have any baby led weaning recipe suggestions please send them through or tag us on social media. We would love to give them a try.

Cheat vege frittata:

  • 1 egg whisked
  • ½ tablespoon milk
  • ¼ cup frozen carrots, corn and peas mix

Method:

In a microwave proof dish heat the frozen vege mix for two minutes. While heating whisk egg and milk in a small microwave proof bowel. Once vege are cooked mash with a fork until suitable texture for your baby. Stir mashed veges into your egg mixture. Cover with glad-wrap and microwave for 1-2mins depending on your microwave strength until cooked through. Scoop and slice in to fingers to serve.

Note: this can be done with other veges, and you can add small amounts of grated cheese or meats as your babies range of foods increases.

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