No shirt, munchin' on a strawberry, and the windows are open..... summer is here my friends! Ok it might not be yet, but we are really loving this nice weather! After a few avocado stained shirts, I've decided this Baby Led Weaning business is a better off in just a diaper. Beckett likes it too. Let's be honest, we would all be a lot happier if we could eat dinner in our unds.
I've had more questions and interest in Beckett doing Baby Led Weaning than I expected. I wish I was doing a better job of taking pictures and documenting what he was eating and the little tricks I'm figuring out along the way, but dinner time is one of the busier parts of our day. If you're really interested in what it's all about and good recipes to use, just search "Baby Led Weaning" on Pinterest and you'll find some great blogs and websites that are really helpful! But I do want to address some of the questions I've received and also explain how I'm doing things a little differently than I first planned.
One of the main concerns many people have is that if a baby isn't eating rice cereal, they won't be getting enough iron. After doing a bit of research and talking with my doctor I've learned that this isn't true. In the past 5 or so years they are finding that we are over doing it a bit with the iron and calcium supplements babies are getting. Nursing will still be excellent source of iron for several months, and as he begins to eat more and more solids I can make sure that I'm giving him foods high in iron. Another reason to love hummus!
I've written before on the difference between gagging and choking, and this is also one of the topics the book discuss quite a bit. When I first read about BLW I was under the impression that he would gag on large chunks of food a few times and quickly learn what sizes of food he can and can't swallow. I think this will happen, but it will take a little more time than I originally thought. I pretty much avoid giving Beckett anything that can be easily broken off into a chunk big enough to cause choking or gagging. Although I understand the difference, gagging still scares me. This means that there are many things he can't eat, and I often prepare something different for him that what we're having for dinner, but I think this phase will only last for a few months while he is learning.
Hard core BLWers (I made up) don't do any spoon feeding and pretty much let their baby figure out how to feed themselves without any assistance. I've decided to do a little bit of everything minus the baby food and rice cereal. Lately I've been spoon feeding Beckett apple sauce, smashed carrots, green smoothies, chicken, cous cous and....... maybe a little taste or two of coconut ice cream. I like combining the two methods because we can all eat together and while I'm eating my dinner Beckett can feed himself, but then when I have a little break I can feed him a few bites of something on a spoon.
I've already written about these once before, but it is worth writing about them again because that is just how much I love them. Beckett is finally starting to be able to hold it himself and I can turn my back for a minute or two without worrying that there is a possibility he could choke. The foods I've found that work the best so far are banana, avocado, oranges, pears, and strawberries. Sweet potato didn't squish through as much as I had hoped. I've heard that frozen bananas and berries are great for teething, but right now he does the best with juicy stuff that doesn't require a lot of effort to get through the mesh.
Foods that Work Well for Feeding Himself
There are several foods I read would be great to start out with that haven't worked so well because the are either too hard to hold, too slippery, or cause gagging. Here's what we've found works great so far: bananas, sweet potato slices, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, steamed carrots, toast or chewy bread, cucumber, pears, oranges, and beef jerky (thanks Grandpa). It also works well to preload a cucumber with some hummus.
Foods That Don't Work Well
Soft breads, even tiny pieces, are hard to swallow. Avocados slices are too slippery, but like I said before, they work really well in the mesh feeder. I've tried roasted bell pepper a few times and it's too soft to hold well, and even when he chews on it he doesn't really get anything. I think that one requires teeth.