Now that Baby S is moving on to bigger, better and tastier foods I thought I’d share a little about how it all started.
We were fortunate enough to skip the pain of purees and mashed up food thanks to the concepts of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) also known as Baby Led Feeding. BLW focuses on a few key things, my favorite being that babies should learn to chew first and then swallow. With purees they learn to swallow first and then are expected to learn how to chew. Why would they want to put extra effort and energy into chewing? Swallowing is so much easier!
BLW allows babies to touch, feel and experience different textures on their hands by allowing them to eat on their own and keeping the foods closer to their original form instead of making everything the same puree texture.
We were ready to give it a shot at 6 months! And looking back I’m so glad we were brave enough to keep trying the BLW approach.
Here’s what our introduction to solids looked like, each food was tried for about 3-5 days before switching to another one.
Months 6 to 10
Food 1 – Avocados, lightly mashed so that it keeps the texture and chunky enough to hold in your fingers if needed
Baby S totally gagged, totally normal reflex for babies. I kept trying with small bits, feeding from a spoon and he eventually got used to the texture and learned to suck on it in his mouth.
Food 2 – Earths Best Oatmeal
I also kept this very chunky. Enough to be able to roll it into tiny, slivery rolls. I would help him eat these. And he eventually would pinch at them to eat them on his own. I only did this for one week and then skipped baby oatmeal all together since I wasn’t pumping, expressing milk was a pain and I wasn’t ready to use water just yet (at about 6.5 months old).
Food 3 – Sweet Potatoes & Zuchinni
I did a few variations with this: baked and steamed, both give different textures so you can see which one baby likes more. Basically cut them into little strips (almost like baby french fries). This helps them grab them on their own.
Baby S liked both initially and then he went through a short phase where he didn’t like the mushy-ness of steamed so I baked but eventually went back to steaming.
Food 4 – Mug (green moong/lentils)
Put these in the pressure cooker, kept them on the dry side so that he could nibble on it on his own.
Food 5 – Cottage Cheese
This was spoon fed but I wanted to introduce it because of it’s unique texture and taste.
Food 6 – Roti’s & thepla
Cut into strips or tiny bits. He was about 7.5 months by this time and familiar with the above variations in textures and really enjoyed gnawing on these.
Steamed Carrots, Blueberries, Cheeses,…almost anything you are comfortable with
Things to keep in mind:
Rule of thumb on size: make sure everything is cooked enough so that it can be smashed between your fingers. I made the pieces the size of the tips of their thumbs (recommended by another mom) and usually in strips so he could try to hold it.
Just like for us, added sugar & salt are nice to haves. I don’t put salt or sugar in any thing but this is a personal preference. Instead, I chose a variety of foods that have natural flavorings. ie: cheese has natural salts, fruits have natural sweetness etc.
Gagging will happen. Babies only exposure up till now has been liquids, so a solid is like putting a foreign object in their mouth. It’s good to learn and look out for the differences between gagging and choking.
I love BLW because they learn to chew before swallowing instead of just swallowing which just makes a lot of sense. It’s amazing to see how very capable they really are!
Trust your baby, they are really smart and figure things out quickly.
At almost 12 months, Baby S ate almost any texture so long as it was soft enough.
Note: he didn’t have his first tooth (just one) till 10 months.