Aug 23, 2012

Baby Led Weaning

 So many people have inquired about Dell Harper's prolific eating habits, so I thought I would do a brief post on Baby Led Weaning.  We began about a week shy of her six month birthday, after a brief attempt with rice cereal to combat her reflux.  After hearing about BLW from Kate, I was immediately intrigued, ordered the book on my Kindle, and began my compulsive research. Counting the days until her six month birthday, I was thrilled when she grabbed a piece of cantaloupe off my plate at the pool.  We let her gnaw on it, and I spent the afternoon daydreaming about what to try next.

I started with carrots- just a big old bag of organic full size carrots.  I trimmed the ends, and left the peel on for gripping purposes.  Steamed to extreme softness,  I tested them by pretending I had no teeth and gnawing.  Luckily there were no witnesses to this experiment.

Dell Harper immediately picked up the carrots and stuck it in her mouth.  It was a huge hit!  And mess, but that is what baths and dogs are for, right?  My parents laughed that my bathtub is going to get stopped up like Kramer's shower when he washed his produce in there from all the veggie residue rinsed off Miss Priss.

Avocado was next- I left the peel partially on, to allow for gripping.  This was a bit of a mess later when I discovered a large piece of avocado peel in her diaper.  Oops.  We tried avocado a couple weeks later sans peel and Dell Harper gave herself a moisturizing avocado mask in addition to eating it.

 She has gnawed on some more cantaloupe- I started the chewing for her.

Sweet potato wedges roasted with cinnamon with the peel left on worked well (more peel in the diapers was discovered).  She also tried bananas down at the beach, which were a messy delight (although backed up her little system a bit (sorry for all the diaper talk!))  Once again, I left the peel on so she cut hold the banana.  I cut it in half lengthwise, then let her go, periodically trimming the peel.  Another tip I heard is to roll the slippery stuff in Cheerio dust to help the holding.

Her favorites?  BROCCOLI!  She loves to hold the stem and eat the florets.  This is my favorite as well.  The mess is not as bad as avocado or banana, and the florets seem like they pose little choking hazard.

Her other favorites?  Any kind of bread.  She loves French bread- I scoop out the soft middle and give her the crust (the soft bread can gum up and become a choking hazard).  I gave her a frozen bagel to help with teething (Miss Priss got 2 on our vacation, did I tell y'all that?).  She took down the bagel!

 Whole wheat frozen waffles were also popular.  The bread at Red Bar kept her quite occupied.

So far, it's been super fun and much easier than spoon feeding purees.  There are a multitude of advantages, but my favorite part is the entertainment factor.  She loves sitting in her high chair eating with her family. Tonight as we ate with my parents, brother and SIL.  Dell Harper happily munched carrots and zucchini while we enjoyed lasagna and zucchini.

Now for the downside.  All my reading talked about how gagging isn't choking, and warned against hovering, yet emphasized watching the child eat.  I shrugged off this part, thinking "I won't worry about choking. I realize that she will be fine, yet won't leave her alone."

Hmmph.  I watch that kid like a hawk.  I am on edge every meal.  It doesn't help that she will get over enthusiastic, shove food in her mouth, then dramatically gag and cough.  It is terrifying, and Hubs HATES it.  Although we both know as long as she is making noises she is fine, it still scares the bejeezus out of me.  It didn't help when her pediatrician was not very enthusiastic about this process at her last appointment, and warned about choking potential.  This merited a stern look from Hubs to me.

However, this fear is definitely receding as she gets better at eating and gets teeth!  I will also relax a bit when she develops her pincher grip and gets bite-sized pieces of food in the next couple of months.
Some babies don't gag and choke, so please don't let that deter you.

We are starting slow- dinner a few nights a week, and now lunch as well.  She is eating milk for nutrition, and I think of the solids as an added bonus. I am going to start adding in some variety, and dairy and meat in the next few weeks.

So, that is our BLW experience so far.  I'd love to hear your experiences with solids, and answer any questions (ha, about the beginning stage obviously!).


  1. Samma! I can't even take these DH food pics. She is THE CUTEST!

  2. I loooove the BLW so hard!! It's too funny how they have such distinct opinions at this young age - DH's favorites haven't been hits w/ Leighton... I was SO excited about broccoli (as it is one of my favorites) and she acted like it was poison! She was also pretty "meh" about bread (homemade, no less) but I need to try frozen waffles / bagels.

    We did try a little pile of shredded cheese this week and that was a big hit! And she goes nuts for sips of smoothie (Greek yogut + banana + mango).

  3. I was so excited to try BLW but my husband was not having it. It was too far outside of his comfort zone, so pick your battles, right?

    I do do a sort of BLW light while we're eating and she loves almost everything I give her. Bread is a huge hit!

  4. I wanted to try BLW but with our daycare it's just not feasible :( DH is just precious in her avocado mask hehe.

  5. That broccoli picture is to die for! I was interesting in BLW as well but both our pediatrician and my husband weren't too keen on it. So we've been enjoying purées these days. We adding some finger foods now that we are heading home from the beach. His fav is squash, I'm looking forward to sharing lots of my fav soup with him this fall.

  6. I love BLW I did this with my daughter. Her favorites change daily! To day she loved acorn squash and tomorrow she will hate it! Oh these little ladies!

  7. I was so excited to try BLW but my husband was not having it. It was too far outside of his comfort zone, so pick your battles, right?
    I'm impressed with all the lovely work!
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