My son Kai was born on August 28th 2010. Being passionate about nutrition I was eager to give him a great start with food. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that an infant not be started on solid foods until after 6 months of age. Babies have very individual timelines for their developmental milestones, and it’s important to look for and follow your own baby’s cues.
I ended up introducing Kai to solid food on his 7 month birthday. I came across “Baby-Led Weaning” on one of my favorite baby food websites-
It really is nothing more than letting your baby explore and discover foods rather than the parent controlling the food. It removes the need to puree and spoon feed baby meals. The baby is given food in chunks that they can pick up, play with and put in their mouths if they want to.
This approach made sense to me. Since birth Kai has been a master at feeding himself. He got himself to the breast and instinctively suckled for nourishment. He is fed on demand, so since his birth he is in control of when to eat and how much. Baby led weaning seemed a natural progression. I wanted to give Kai a chance to really experience the different textures, colors and tastes of what he was putting in his mouth. This was a great way to foster healthy family meal times. I purposely chose a high chair that would enable him to sit at the table with us.
First foods for baby-led weaning are the same types of foods regular spoon fed weaned babies would get, avocado, sweet potato, apple, pear, butternut squash. The difference is that instead of pureeing the food and having a specific amount in mind that you want the baby to eat, you cut the vegetables and fruit into chunks that they can pick up and feed themselves with.
Kais first meal was avocado. I did mash it up for him, and by the time he finished playing with it, it ended up “pureed” anyway. He seemed to enjoy it and it was lovely to see him eagerly grabbing at the avocado and putting it in his mouth. It was messy, and to do this you definitely need to be armed with patience and a cleaning cloth!
The nice thing is that babies learn really quickly, and it only took 4 days for him to get the hang of putting the food in his mouth effectively and being able to drink from his sippy cup independently. It’s awesome to see.
Good Luck on your food journey with your baby!
Check out my baby food recipes page for more ideas.
For more information on baby-led weaning, check out: