We started Liam on solid foods right around 6 months. Baby-led weaning happened pretty naturally for us, as Liam started to become very interested in whatever we were eating toward the end of 5 months. His first food was actually a raw carrot – of course he didn’t eat it, but he thought he was pretty cool to be gnawing on a carrot like Dada.
Baby-led weaning essentially means you skip spoon-feeding altogether and head straight to finger foods. Allowing baby to choose what and how much they eat. Research shows that babies who are introduced to foods through this method are more likely to develop healthy food preferences. They’re also less likely to become overweight than children who are spoon fed because spoon-fed babies often eat faster and more than they really need, causing them to develop a habit of ignoring their feelings of fullness.
How did we start? We skipped the rice cereal and store-bought purees that everyone is so familiar with, and started with softer foods like avocado, applesauce, and banana. We let him try different foods as he is interested in them, and never force him to eat anything. We put it on his highchair and if he grabs it and eats it great, if not, that’s ok too. Over the past couple of months, we’ve given him things like:
- refried beans
- green beans
- cooked carrots
- sweet potato
- banana bread
He’s tried a lot of different foods for being 8 months old, and loves to eat when we’re eating! He loves fruit (just like his mama), and seems like a pretty adventurous eater. It’s fun to watch him try new flavors and textures.
The great thing about baby-led weaning is that you really don’t need much, but here are a few things that we’ve found helpful!
1. Ikea Antelop Highchair $19.99 – This highchair is the best!! No it does not recline or have any fancy features really, but it is THE best when it comes to cleaning! You can literally hose it off if you need to. There is nothing to throw in the washing machine – all you have to do is wipe it down and you’re good to go! And you can’t beat the price!
2. Tommee Tippee Bibs $6.78 – Great food-catcher bibs, saves a little on clean-up when eating solids, and the best thing is they can be washed in the sink with the rest of the dishes. Easy!
3. Munchkin Soft-Tip Infant Spoon, 6 Count $5.69 – Liam loves to grab ahold of these spoons and feed himself. I wish the handles were a bit shorter, but they are great overall, and super affordable!
4. Sugarbooger Jumbo Floor Splat Mat $40.00 – Baby-led weaning can be pretty messy, so this is great for catching those slippery dropped bananas and avocados, so they don’t end up all over your kitchen floor or dining room.
5. Rubbermaid 42-Piece Easy Find Lid Food Storage Set $19.99 – I love this food storage set, and I use the little ones for Liam’s food all the time! It’s so nice to have fruit cut up and ready for meals and snack time. I love that they snap on top of each other too, so it’s easy to keep everything organized.
6. GoGo Squeez appleapple, Applesauce on the Go, 3.2-oz. Pouches, Count of 48 $23.88 – This is Liam’s favorite applesauce – we’ve tried apple apple, apple berry, apple banana, apple cinnamon, and apple strawberry. They are especially great when traveling – I always try to keep a couple in our diaper bag so he always has a snack when we need one.
I was a little nervous about starting Liam on solid foods at first. I was worried that my milk supply would go down (for the most part he has still been getting most of his “food” from breast milk), or that he would choke, but we haven’t had any issues. Baby-led weaning has been a great experience so far and we will continue with it as Liam gets older. We are a vegetarian family, so aren’t planning on giving him any cow’s milk or meat products. If there are any other vegetarian moms out there that are doing baby-led weaning, I’d love to hear some ideas on what you feed your little one!