As we approached little one turning six months, I was becoming increasingly anxious over how to start Baby Led Weaning. I was completely clueless, and as the majority of my family members had never chosen this method of weaning, I didn't really have anyone to turn to for advice either. I can't even begin to tell you how many hours I spent on Google and Pinterest trying to find some advice, or at least something to help ease my anxiety, alas, nothing availed. Considering that I'd never actually heard of Baby Led Weaning until I was six months pregnant, it didn't really come as much of a shock that aside from the general weaning advice, there was little information out there on Baby Led Weaning. So at six months old, we apprehensively handed over the food and started weaning our little man. Now four months later, we're a lot less clueless so I thought I'd start sharing parts of our weaning journey. Last week I introduced you all to Baby Led Weaning, so now you know what it is, I thought I'd continue with how to start Baby Led Weaning...
What Do I Need?
One of the best things about Baby Led Weaning is that you only really need two things to get started; a safe place to sit and healthy finger foods. A highchair is the best choice for baby to sit whilst they eat, but they can always sit on your lap at first, although it's worth remembering that BLW can get very messy.
What Foods Should I Start With?
Baby's first foods should be a range of soft cooked vegetables and fresh fruits; healthy carbohydrates and fats. Around six months, most of baby's teeth are still coming in so the best finger foods are those that are soft enough that baby can gum and swallow. Choose foods with no added sugar or salt, and don't add these to your baby's food. It's best to give them finger foods, these are just pieces of food about the size of your index finger.
Vegetables and fruits that are easy to grab are great to start with and then you can move on to different tastes and textures.
Some of our favourite first foods were;
- Avocado on toast
- Sweet Potato, mashed or roasted
- Meat & Fish, strips and no bones
- Butternut squash soup
- Carrot & Parsnip, roasted
What Foods Shouldn't I Give My Baby?
There are just a few foods you should absolutely avoid giving your baby before they are 12 months old, these are:
- Baby Shark, Swordfish & Marlin
- Raw Shellfish
Please remember that if you're following Baby Led Weaning then solids are not recommended before six months. If you want to offer solids before then, I'd suggest speaking with your GP or HV for some advice. You should avoid giving children under six months foods containing; wheat, gluten, nuts, seeds, egg and fish. There's some great advice on the Start 4 Life website; lots of information regarding salt/sugar intake and what not to give your baby.
Things To Remember
- 'Food before one is just for fun', ultimately the first year is to introduce baby to new tastes and textures whilst teaching them to chew and swallow food. So, don't stress if it doesn't happen straight away, remember this is BABY LED, so it may be a slow process.
- Baby Led Weaning is messy, but it's a learning experience for your baby.
- Serve foods that are large enough for your baby to hold, and make sure they're soft (if you can squish the food between your thumb and finger then it should be okay for baby).
- Gagging and choking are different; gagging is ultimately a safety mechanism which helps to bring large pieces of food forward, therefore safeguarding against choking. It's worth knowing the difference, I'd recommend you check out the signs of choking and what to do if your child is choking.
We're having great fun weaning and love introducing baby to new foods, let me know if you decide to try it and how you get on. If you need further advice then contact your Health Visitor, or check out Gill Rapley - she's the queen of Baby Led Weaning. Please do share this post if you've found it useful.