Q & A: Baby-led Weaning, V. 1

First food, more playing than eating – avocado – 6 months

Jamie from Lucy & Co. and I were recently chatting about baby-led weaning and she had some great questions! I figured I could answer most of the questions here to pass on the goodness of our baby-led weaning journey. Of course, this is all unique to Jemma, so keep that in mind. Without further ado …

Before I get started … baby-led weaning is the idea that babies lead the way when it comes to food. This means that when your little one shows interest in food, that’s when you start offering. Pretty much, ignore the “6 months do this” and “8 months add that”. Mamas know their babies best and books are only supposed to be a guide when it comes to food.

Baby-led weaning encourages table foods rather than purees. You might think that table foods equate to choking, but I’ve seen first hand how table foods actually help babies learn to eat. It’s pretty amazing … you see, purees teach babies to taste and swallow everything in their mouth. On the other hand, table foods teach babies to taste food, feel the texture, use their tongue to toss it around and allow the food to disintegrate, and THEN swallow.

As soon as babies add something besides milk into their diet, they begin the process of weaning. In the US weaning is usually seen as the process cutting back milk. In other countries, weaning is referred to the process of adding foods. Keep that in mind when you read about baby-led weaning — it really through me off in the beginning.

  • What were Jemma’s first foods? Avocado, sweet potatoes, mangoes, and green beans
  • When did you introduce mixed foods or ‘table’ food? Pretty early. I discovered baby-led weaning shortly after I made a whole bunch of purees for the freezer. We used those up and then moved on to table foods. After I introduced a food by itself with no reaction, I allowed it in mixed foods. But, with table foods, most things are single foods rather than the crazy mixes available in jarred food.
  • Did you wait several days with each new food? I tried to be careful with higher allergens like eggs and strawberries, but didn’t wait too long between foods.
  • How did her diet changes affect her bowel movements, poo or gas? Poo definitely thickens up with table foods. It turns more nugget like, but still soft. I haven’t noticed anything crazy with gas. We did find out that Jemma is intolerant to potatoes. Nothing serious, but she does get constipated with those. Like everything, just pay attention to how your baby reacts to different things and if you notice something weird, cut it out for a bit and see if that helps.
  • When do you introduce no-no breastfeeding foods like broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, onions? I didn’t cut out any of these things while breastfeeding and therefore, didn’t worry about them when introducing foods.
  • When did you introduce dairy of any kind? We still haven’t done regular milk. I introduced cheese first on things like enchiladas and lasagna, now she loves cheese slices because she can hold them in her little fists. Around the same time I introduced no sugar yogurt — plain Greek with a drizzle of honey is her favorite. Cheese and yogurt started around 10 or 11 months. I didn’t add the honey until after a year.
  • How many meals did you start with? From 6-9 months, Jemma had a meal in her high chair about every other day. She was nursing 6+ times each day and I focused on food being fun (and when it was convenient for me). By 9 months she was really showing interest in food, before it was like eh, whatever, if you really want me to eat I will, but I’m not hungry because I have mama milk. She ate once with her nanny and dinner with us during 10-12 months. Then the nursing strike/sudden weaning happened at 12.5 months and she now eats 3 times/day plus a snack or two.
  • How did you know to increase the food? I really enjoyed the motto “Food for fun, until age one”. Since we focused on table foods, I would offer something of everything I was having. She made it pretty clear when she wanted more. As long as they are breastfeeding, you don’t really need to worry about calories and such. It’s more about introducing new, fun flavors to their palate. Jemma started signing “more” recently and now she tells me when she is still hungry :) That’s the best!
The beginning of baby-led weaning, holding and inspecting table food – banana – 6 1/2 months

 Alrighty … that’s a good start to things. I’ll be back with more Q&A later! If you have something to add … just leave a comment. I love learning from other mamas and welcome any questions that come to mind!

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  1. Brooke Hammel says

    Hey Gretchen! stopping by for my first visit and your first post is something I am familiar with and a strong proponent of… we did this with both of our little ones. Purees never made any sense to me. My daughter would not let me put a spoon in her mouth and my son would take two bites and then swat it out of my hand. I ran out of patience fast. Plus BLW gets them accustomed to textures early so you don't run into as many issues later. Totally great post! :)

  2. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Thanks for popping in! Glad to here of another mama who had success with BLW! ________________________________

  3. says

    I think I need to keep remembering that babies don't need solids for nutrition for a while. Thanks for the encouragement. Lucy likes table food much more than anything else. I have a freezer full of purees that she just wont touch. :)

  4. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I still have purees in the freezer too! I need to think up some way to use them … maybe let Jem dip bread or pasta into green beans or add them to a pureed soup so they don't go to waste! ________________________________

  5. says

    Rinny-e, I'm with you! I was hung up on how little I was feeding (my) Lucy, but I had some preconceived idea that she should be eating 2-3 'meals' a day at 7 months. ha! Yes, thank, you Gretchen, for the encouragement :)

  6. ThatMamaGretchen says

    At almost 14 months Jemma is just now eating 3 square meals a day, mostly because her mama milk has cut way back. You've got tons of time to get your little ones adjusted to food. Just for fun, until age 1 :) ________________________________From: Disqus <>To: thatmamagretchen@gmail.comSent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:53 PMSubject: [thatmamagretchen] Re: That Mama Gretchen: Q & A: Baby-led Weaning, V. 1 Disqus generic email templateJamie wrote, in response to Rinny-e:Rinny-e, I'm with you! I was hung up on how little I was feeding (my) Lucy, but I had some preconceived idea that she should be eating 2-3 'meals' a day at 7 months. ha! Yes, thank, you Gretchen, for the encouragement :) User's profileLink to commentIP address: