So we have officially started baby-led weaning, and now that we’re about a month in I wanted to share a little bit what the beginning is like. There are a lot of seasoned BLW’ers out there with lots of great advice, but once you’re in it its easy to forget what it was like at the very beginning.
We started Deacon on avocado on his 6 month birthday. Since then he has had things like cucumber, roasted carrots, steamed broccoli, noodles (without sauce), banana, chicken, pork, strawberries, watermelon, things like that. He has done great, picking things up, putting them in his mouth, and tasting.
We have already given him all major allergens, per our doctor’s recommendation. They now say that early introduction can reduce risk of developing an allergy, and since there is no family history of food allergies, we dove right in.
Here are some of the things that surprised me or caught me off guard about the process:
- They gag a lot. I knew to expect this, but it can be very disconcerting when you’re in it! however, it is normal and is actually a sign that they are learning how to eat. This graphic was a super helpful reminder on the difference between gagging and choking:
- They make a mess. Oh goodness do they make a mess! Because they are learning how to chew, food gets spit out most of the time. Even a month in, Deacon still spits out probably half of what he puts in.
- Get CPR certified. Before we started, I purchased an infant CPR training kit, and I was really glad that I did. I haven’t had to use these skills, thankfully, but it gives me so much peace of mind knowing that I know what to do in an emergency.
- Make sure baby is in a good mood. We found that if Deacon was tired or hungry (ironically) he would be fussy and frustrated when he had trouble picking up food. I always try to nurse him before each meal so he is full and ready to enjoy exploring new foods.
- Food waste. This was definitely something I hadn’t anticipated. When your baby is dropping and spitting everything out, a fair amount of food just goes to waste! I’m pretty frugal, and it felt strange throwing away perfectly good broccoli just because it had fallen on the floor. Some things that helped were only giving him one or two pieces of food at a time, and laying a drop cloth under the high chair so when it inevitably fell on the floor I could just pick it up and hand it back.
So those are some of the things I learned in our first month! Hopefully it can help you be better prepared for BLW!