Baby Led Weaning

March 1, 2017

IMG_6807 When Maddox was young and it was time to introduce him to solid food, we started him on purées. I made all of his food and we introduced one new food at a time. Maddox loved baby food. I couldn’t shovel it in fast enough for him. However, Marlow was a different story. I started the same way and made her purees. She would take maybe a bite or two and that was it. I quickly realized I was wasting a ton of food. Then Marlow went on an antibiotic that was really hard on her stomach and hard to get her to take so I had to hide it in her food. That’s when her eating habits really changed. She went from eating a bite or two to complete refusal to eat anything I tried to give her. She would eat things that she could feed herself but didn’t trust me at all anymore. She was sure I was hiding medicine and about to force feed her ?. That’s when I decided to try baby led weaning.

“Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by ‘self-feeding’ from the very beginning of their experiences with food. The term weaning should not be taken to imply giving up formula or breastmilk, but simply the introduction of foods other than formula or breastmilk.”

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I started to give Marlow small bites of food she could pick up. We started with small pieces of soft fruits and cooked veggies. However, because she is only 9 months old, feeding herself purées did not come easily to her. So I did some research. I needed something that would allow Marlow to feed herself. I tried with the baby spoons I already had from Maddox, but by the time she got the spoon to her mouth the food had all fallen off and then she was mad.

A quick google search for “baby spoon self feeding” helped me to find NumNum! I bought their pre-spoons on Amazon but you can see the link to their website and read more here. I can’t say enough about these pre-spoons! The spoon has a textured, dimpled surface that helps grab the food so it doesn’t fall off while its on the way to the mouth, and it’s completely flat so there’s no “right” way to hold it and no upside down. What I really love is that they are “designed to introduce the concept of utensils to kids eager to learn, reduce frustration and encourage independence.”

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While I was ordering the spoons, I saw that NumNum also makes a beginner bowl. The inside of the bowl is small and sloped so the spoon can easily find the food. The base is broad with a no-slip grip, making it hard to tip over. Once the bowl and pre-spoons arrived, I was able to give her yogurts and purées that she can feed herself. Just an example of some of the things I give her either in puree form or cooked/cut up into tiny pieces:

Fruits: Bananas, pears, strawberries, blueberries, melons, pineapple. Veggies: avocado, sweet potato, pickles (she LOVES them but doesn’t chew them so I cut them extremely small), butternut squash, asparagus, peas, carrots, zucchini. Others: Yogurt (specific for babies), hummus, cheerios.

Marlow is loving feeding herself. With her NumNum pre-spoon and bowl for the soft foods and her fingers for the small pieces she can pick up, she is willing to try almost anything I give her. Of course, I am introducing foods one at a time to watch for allergies or reactions, but I could not be more pleased with our progress. This weaning process is not just baby-led; it is baby-loved.

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