Baby-Led Weaning: Week One

Read more about Baby-Led Weaning here . . .

We’d really been hoping to hold off on introducing solids until Squirm was six months old, but it seems that he had his own opinions on that. There’s a number of signs which indicate that babies are ready for solids, including sitting with little or no support, effectively reaching out and grabbing things, taking objects to their mouth quickly and accurately and making gnawing and chewing motions. Squirm had been doing all of these, plus trying to grab for things from our plates and gnawing on the dining table . . . and he’d started to get really, really upset when he saw people eating and he wasn’t joining in.

So we offered him a piece of cucumber, which went straight in his mouth and was gnawed on – and we were all systems go with baby led weaning.

It’s been nearly a week now, and Squirm has been joining us for most breakfasts, lunches and dinners. He pretty much shares what we’re eating, though there’s some food we don’t yet give him for safety reasons. Of course he has much smaller versions of our food! So far he’s tasted a bit of – well almost everything! He’s had bread, yoghurt, cream cheese, weet bix and fruit for breakfast, savoury pancakes, tomato, cucumber and chicken at lunch, vegetables, salad food, rissoles, lamb, salmon and pesto at dinner. Most of the time he doesn’t swallow much, if anything at all – but he has an awful lot of fun picking the food up, squeezing it, putting it near his mouth and moving it around the tray!

What have we discovered so far?

1. Ikea High Chairs are the BEST

Squirm loves his cheap high chair from Ikea. We’ve bought the tray that goes with it, which is perfect for putting his food on (we’ll move him to a plate later) and the whole thing is light to move around (we place it on a plastic mat at meal times) and really quick and easy to clean. If you’re buying a high chair and anywhere near an Ikea, I highly recommend it!

2. The Mess is Big, But Could Be Much Worse

Because Squirm was really ready for solids, we’re finding most of the food is going from the tray to his mouth, so he’s not getting nearly as much on his face as I thought it would. He often drops it back on the tray, or on the floor (thus the mat), but since we’re mostly doing chunked pieces, it’s easy to pick up off his mat (which we clean each time) and pop it back on his tray. His hands get the dirtiest because he likes hitting the food on his tray, and of course he’s using them to eat. The couple of times we’ve been away from home, I’ve made sure to offer less messy food.

3. We Don’t Really Need to Help Him

We put a small range of food on Squirm’s tray and he usually chooses what he wants to eat and puts it up to his mouth to taste – sometimes he grabs two different things in different hands! A couple of times we’ve held food up to him to show him, especially if his attention has wandered, and sometimes he figures out how to do things from watching us. The big surprise was that he can actually handle a spoon pretty well if we put food on it. It started when he kept lunging for my yoghurt, so I popped a bit on a spoon for him, which he then popped straight in his mouth! Most of the time the right end of the spoon goes in the mouth, but part of the time the food goes elsewhere, or he bites on the wrong end – adds to the hilarity.

4. He Likes Food that I’m Still Learning to Like

I’ve moved to natural yoghurt to try and avoid some of the sugars and additives of flavoured yoghurt, but even with fruit in it, I’m still getting used to the taste. Because it’s the only yoghurt Squirm’s ever known he seems to love it. He also enjoys some surprising food like mushrooms, rissoles with cumin and pesto.

5. I’m Cooking Better and Eating Better

Because I want Squirm to have a big range of good food, I’m needing to cook a bigger range of food, from scratch. Too many prepared meals and bases are high in salt, which is probably the number one thing to avoid with baby-led weaning, so that forces me to cook from scratch. Then there’s foods, like salmon, that I’ve never thought about cooking before, but which I was able to cook the other night (with help from the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook)

Because I eat most of my meals with Squirm, I’m also eating better. I’m not eating on the run, but sitting down and enjoying food with him. He copies Mr Pilot and I when we eat, so we’re really enjoying the family time together.

6. It Takes Time

Although Squirm’s pretty quick at picking up the food and putting it near his mouth, he really takes his time with it. He nibbles, sucks, gnaws, moves the food around his tray and takes his time to finish eating – but that’s ok – he’s constantly learning about food! It does mean I need to organise our time a little bit better though, or I feel like we get nothing done during the day!

feeding 2

What was the first week like when you introduced your child to solids?

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14 comments

  1. I wont advocate this – but when my eldest was little solids started at 4 months but at 3 months my doctor said I needed to feed her solids – she was a huge baby (size of a nearly 10 month old) and milk wasn’t cutting it. I don’t think baby led weaning would’ve been wise at that age. I don’t mind how people choose to feed their baby – personally with my three that to fill them up I gave them mashed foods, cereal or yoghurt. And then so they learnt to eat, chew I would always give them the whole foods.

    Goodluck I hope he continues to love food!

    Thanks for linking up with #TUST

    Annaleis – Blogs and PR Team Member

    1. The guidelines for babyled weaning are pretty clear about waiting until 6 months, or close to it, and having babies meet a number of developmental guidelines before they start. Squirm was actually ahead of a number of them – most babies can’t get food straight in their mouth at 6 months, which he did straight away.

      This wasn’t a matter of filling him up – he eats very little solids and is mostly milk fed (and over the 90th percentile) it’s about him experiencing food – he’s desperate to be like his mum and dad!

    2. I certainly hope no one would even try this with a 3 month old. Especially considering the recommendation from the world health organisation is no solids until 6 months…

  2. Mia took to eating like pro, and still has a very god appetite thankfully. Her first week was just some vegemite toast for breakfast and then gradually built up to three meals a day and now she’s having morning and afternoon tea as well. I’d never actually heard of baby-led weaning when I first started feeding her but it was pretty much what we did, mostly because I am lazy and didn’t want to waste time mashing things up and spoon feeding. Which is why she progressed very quickly to to chunky foods and people would often comment on how good she was with her food at a young age. She much prefers to feed herself now and so the only thing I spoon feed her is yoghurt, purely because she hasn’t mastered the spoon yet and gets frustrated when she doesn’t get much in her mouth!

    1. Yeah, laziness is a big reason I love BLW :)

      Squirm really loves yoghurt when I put it on the spoon for him, but hasn’t quite figured out how to get it off the spoon except for putting it in his mouth upside down . . . I try to make sure I have yoghurt on the top and the bottom of the spoon for him (he spent a lot of time playing with clean spoons when I wouldn’t give him solids :) )

  3. Great article. How old is your little boy. We started our little one on solids at just over 4 months and are doing the purée thing however I really like the idea of baby led weaning.

    1. 5 and a half months, but 6 months based on his due date. Baby-led weaning shouldn’t be attempted until the baby can sit up on their own or with minimal support. There’s a great book called Baby-led weaning by Gil Rapley which talks about why purees aren’t necessary and how to approach Baby-led weaning

  4. Oh what a gorgeous photo!! I think it was 5 or so months for all three of mine, but my youngest took to it much better, my middle boy was a boob boy through and through and took awhile to like solids! My biggest angst is my youngest 16 months has to feed himself all the time, which is great, but MAN he makes a mess – 5 times a day – and I’m totally over cleaning it up! He stopped wanting to be spoon fed from 10 months so that’s when it really gets messy! Good luck and enjoy :)

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