Baby-led Solids: Part 2: Overview

This post gives an overview of Dos and Don’ts for child-led introduction of solids. Other posts include information on choking, a photo gallery of skill development, and a reflection of my own experience. See all posts on this topic here.

*********************************

“Baby-led Solids is an exercise in Trust.”This statement is at the top of the Tribal Baby site, a wonderful resource for baby-led solids/weaning and EC, which compliments BLS/W.

Before 6 months, if mama has no health problems, breastfeeding is ideal and worth the effort of seeking support, trying new things and persisting. Breastmilk is liquid gold (from Kellymom — a major resource to the breastfeeding mama).

Around 6 months, most babies grab at food showing unmistakable readiness to explore and begin the long-term weaning process.

15 DO’s for Baby-led Solids (based on resources below) in my own words and from my own experience:

  • Breastfeeding is baby’s primary source of  water (and nutrients and immunity). We offer water at each meal for learning purposes. I still breastfeed on demand at 13 months for health and nutrition…and joy of connection.
  • Baby can and wants to eat when and what you eat. This makes it easy to know what types of foods to offer.
  • Whole fruit and foods are more fun and stimulating. These allow baby to learn what the food actually looks like.
  • Think “handle.” If you do make pieces, make them long and grabbable.
  • This is an opportunity for the whole family to eat healthy and diverse foods. These are the same types of foods that mama should be eating during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Slow the pace down. You can relax and enjoy baby’s learning and growing before your eyes. Children are slow processors (half-speed) and need time and experience to learn.
  • Let go of the food, and then let go of your expectations. Resist the urge to “help.” You know how to eat; your baby still needs to learn. Letting your baby explore does help them learn more readily.
  • Baby will eat little or nothing at first but more over time. They will surprise you with what they can do if you give them a time and a chance.
  • Continue to offer “rejected” foods. Throwing food on the floor isn’t necessarily dislike now and forever. Again, if you’re eating it, offer baby some.
  • Holding or sitting baby in an upright position allows nature to work and can thus relieve your fears.
  • Expect mess at first, less over time. With more skill, your baby will make less mess, but only if given frequent and consistent opportunities over time. Possible tip: Use an old sheet underneath the chair for an easier cleanup.
  • Don’t want a mess right this minute? Hand baby a carrot or apple. “Meals” don’t have to be big productions.
  • Keep at it. Don’t let expectation (yours or other people’s) stop the fun and learning. Frustrated? Take a break for a meal or two and try again.
  • Observe your child to see what they are learning and working on. Offer food that provides opportunities for learning those things.
  • ENJOY the EXPERIENCE. These can be some of the most fun and deep bonding moments when you see clear development and learning.

Only 3 DON’Ts for Baby-led Solids, from a Dutch Breastfeeding site:

  • DON’T leave your baby on his own with food.
  • DON’T offer foods which present an obvious danger, such as peanuts.
  • DON’T offer ‘fast’ foods, ready meals or foods that have added salt or sugar.

Concerned about choking? 

Babies are made to learn everything; eating is no exception. They have strong gag reflexes and can cough up pieces that get stuck. In fact, the baby-led method might cause less choking than traditional spoon-feeding of purees. (More on choking, here and here.)

Resources:

Rapley Weaning article

Tribal Baby

Adventures in Solid Foods Blog

Babyled Weaning (.com)

Natural Mothering

Wikipedia: Baby-led Weaning

Blog Story: Nourished Kitchen

Book: Baby-led Weaning

5 responses to this post.

  1. […] Club « Baby-led Solids: Part 2: Overview Baby-led Solids: Photo Gallery of Skill Development […]

    Reply

  2. […] then wants the merry-go-round to spin while she’s suspended up there. Maybe my 6 mo son is eating and exploring his first peach, all stringy and juicy–ripe moment for choking. Maybe my husband needs to do […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: