Baby Pearl turned 6 months old on the 8th. Can you believe it? I can’t. She’s also now crawling (the army crawl). Which is shocking to me. Lula and Jane didn’t crawl until about 11 months, so this is new territory!
In the past, I’ve posted about homemade baby food and even homemade whole grain rice cereal. I made all the food that Lula and Jane ate as babies. But, I decided to try something new this time around and since we’ve been doing it for a few weeks, I thought I’d share how it’s going. We are trying baby led weaning (a modified version) with Pearl.
I heard about BLW when Jane was a baby but didn’t feel confident enough to try it. However, after reading about it and knowing that life right now is crazy, I thought I would give it a try out of sheer convenience. Being able to feed Pearl without having to make any homemade baby food? Yes please! Being able to feed her without having to buy expensive baby food? Yes please! I figured we could always try it out and revert back to homemade purees if we didn’t like it.
I checked out the BLW book from the library and was honestly really skeptical. Statements that your baby will naturally not like foods they are allergic to, so you don’t have to worry are a bit silly. But other aspects of the book are really interesting. The whole concept is to never offer your baby purees, but just give them soft finger shaped foods to chew on. This only works if you wait until your baby is at least 6 months old. We waited until all three of ours were at least 6 months to start solids anyway, and actually the American Academy of Pediatrics are now recommending everyone wait until 6 months. This article is interesting. What about rice cereal? A lot of people are saying that it’s not actually a good thing to feed your baby. I fed Lula store bought rice cereal and Jane homemade brown rice cereal, so I’ve really done everything. Do whatever you want, but also feel the freedom to skip it!
I decided to give Pearl oatmeal mixed with prune juice. She has problems with really bad constipation (like going 2 weeks at a time without pooping!) plus, we were giving her iron supplements which are nasty, so doing store bought oatmeal (iron fortified) allows us to skip that step, plus it helps with constipation. BLW purists would say to never feed your child anything from a spoon. That just isn’t realistic for us.
For Pearl’s first meal (we waited until she was about 6 months and 1 week old), I sliced up some avocado spears and put them on her tray. I was kind of excited to see what would happen. I never even considered giving Lula or Jane finger foods until they were 9 months.
To my astonishment, she easily picked them up and was able to suck on them and mash them in her mouth. And she loved it!
The next night, we tried roasted broccoli spears. These were even easier for her to hold. She could easily suck on the tops and once again, loved it! She also tries to suck them directly off her tray.
Since then, we’ve given her pineapple spears, roasted sweet potatoes and white potatoes, pears, squash, bananas and cucumbers
At first, she didn’t realize that the things we were giving her were food. But now she picks everything up and sucks on them. She’s already getting better at figuring out how to mash things with her gums and actually eat them. It’s really so interesting!
What about choking? Well, with BLW your child is actually supposed to gag and choke LESS than if you were spoon feeding them because they have developed better swallowing skills. She actually has never gagged, but we did have one choking incident. I left the peel on a potato and she choked on it, so I learned my lesson there.
I still spoon feed Pearl things. Sometimes when she’s done trying to eat her banana or avocado spears, I will go ahead and mash up the leftovers and feed them to her or mix them in with her oatmeal. I also plan to start giving her plain yogurt soon.
Overall, I feel like this method is much more convenient for us right now. Like I said, I’ve done everything with my kids, store bought, homemade and now BLW, so I judge no one. It’s all about what works for you and your kid. But this is definitely an option to consider!