baby led weaning

The most requested topics I have received lately are all about Knox / parenting.  I usually try not to talk too  much about these kind of things as I am a first time mom myself just trying to figure things out as we go.  I certainly don’t feel that I am in any position to give advice, but then I realized I can share our experiences as just that, our experiences.  This is not an advice column, but for those who are interested, here is an update on our Baby-Led Weaning journey.

*To read our first post and see cute pictures of Knox covered in avocado, click here.

We started Baby Led Weaning with Knox on his 6 month birthday.  Before this, he was strictly breast-fed.  In the first few weeks, he was just learning to chew and swallow and struggling to actually get the food in his mouth.  This is okay in the beginning because they are still primarily getting their nutrition from formula or breast milk.

Babies have a strong gag reflex that causes them to thrust their tongue forward when the back of their throat is stimulated.  This can cause them to gag a lot in the beginning as they are learning to chew and swallow.  It’s hard not to be alarmed, but try to just sit back and let your baby figure it out.  You will be able to tell if they are truly choking or just gaging.  For Knox, this only lasted a few days before he got use to the sensation.

I would help Knox eat a few bites as he was working on his hand eye coördination (although I am pretty sure this isn’t recommended).  I also didn’t limit spoon fed foods.  I made apple sauce (with spinach leaves + apples) a few times and would spoon fed him avocado when we were on the go. I think it is good for them to get use to eating both ways.

Now, at 9 months, Knox can completely feed himself.  We put food on his high chair or on the table at a restaurant and he eats healthy portions.  I am always amazed at how much he can eat.  We honestly haven’t found a food he doesn’t like and I believe it is because we started feeding him real foods with real flavors and textures so he never got use to bland, pureed baby food.

My favorite benefit of baby led weaning is the nutritious meals Knox is eating.  Since we are only feeding him fresh, natural foods he is not getting any chemicals or preservatives that are found in canned baby food or pre-packaged foods.   Additionally, since we are not steaming and pureeing most of his food, it is not losing the nutrition that can happen in the steaming process.  Lastly (and selfishly), it is just so easy.  Feeding babies table food elminates most the prep work for mom and it works great on the go.  I don’t have to cook food before we leave the house and store it in little containers and if we are eating at a restaurant, I can order food off the menu for Knox. It’s a win, win for both of us!

Here are some of our favorite foods:

salmon, chicken (shredded), sliced turkey, beans, scramble eggs (*this is a potential allergy so make sure to introduce only egg whites first and use the 3 day rule to make sure your baby is not allergic)

Fruit: (cut into bite sizes)
avocado, strawberries, blue berries (cut in half), bananas, melons, apple sauce

peas, carrots (steamed & cut into bite sizes), spinach, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes (baked and cut into cubes)

yogurt (whole milk), cheese

*At 6 months Knox was only eating solids at dinner, at 7 months we incorporated lunch and now at 9 months he is eating 3 meals a day (and nursing 3 x a day).

I would love to hear your comments on healthy food ideas and your experience with Baby Led Weaning in the comments below.  Also, if you have any questions, ask them below and I will answer for everyone to see in case someone else has the same questions.