Baby Led Weaning

by Nov 11th, 2010 // Baby Feeding

Baby Led Weaning

Baby Eats Broccoli from Rebecca Coleman on Vimeo.

Pardon the brief interruption from Thanksgiving Sides, but I’ve been meaning to share something with you about cooking with my other kid. More specifically, my 7 month old. My sister in law, who is a nurse practitioner and a certified lactation consultant, introduced me to a new baby feeding concept called Baby-Led Weaning. The basics premise of Baby Led Waning is that babies do not need to start with pureed food. The book Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater, encourages parents to let their babies explore foods on their own by presenting them with large chunks they can gnaw on. Babies naturally explore everything with their mouths and are actually pre-programmed to be able to feed themselves. I’m not a hippy-dippy mom so I was incredibly skeptical. But, my SIL is on her third kid and she very experienced with children – she ran a clinic at Georgetown Hospital – so I decided to give it a whirl. At 6 months old, I offered the baby a piece of broccoli. As you can see from the video, she put it right up to her mouth and began to gnaw on it! SHOCKING. AMAZING. UNREAL. It’s been a month and I have yet to spoon feed her anything. I’m really loving this concept. It seems so natural. I kind of can’t believe I did it any other way.

I know what you are thinking. You’re afraid she’ll choke, right? Well, the book says that babies are more likely to choke on spoonfed food than gnawed food. Reason being that with a spoon you are moving the food to the back of their mouths, but when they are feeding themselves they need to do this themselves. The book also says they don’t do this before they are ready. I don’t like to parent from books so I asked my pediatrician about this. She actually concurred. She was not worried about my baby choking from gnawing on food. (She, like the book, suggested we stay away from chokeables like raisins, nuts, grapes, hotdogs, etc.)

I know this isn’t for everyone. But I’ll be updating you on our adventures if you’re interested. Oh, and if you want to try this at home, I encourage you to check out the book. I’m not the expert – I’m the guinea pig!

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37 Comments on “Baby Led Weaning”

  1. 1.) Pam
    November 11th, 2010

    we did this with noa! she would suck on chunks of lamb at pampas grill at the farmer's market.

  2. 2.) CookingWithMyKid
    November 11th, 2010

    no wonder she's such a good little eater!

  3. 3.) llsf
    November 11th, 2010

    great info. it's crazy how something so simple and (presumably) ancient is "revolutionary" now. my twins are almost 2, and _especially_ for moms of twins this looks so so so much easier both in terms of the feedings themselves and having independent eaters earlier. and you're absolutely right — it looks totally natural. wish i would've considered it!

  4. 4.) CookingWithMyKid
    November 11th, 2010

    i couldn't agree more. this "new" concept is as old as time. odd that it took my SIL and some fancy book to open my eyes to it.

  5. 5.) paulajakobs
    November 11th, 2010

    I wish I had done that with my kids when they were that age!

  6. 6.) mommylyzz
    November 11th, 2010

    Your children are adorable!

  7. 7.) CookingWithMyKid
    November 11th, 2010

    awe, thanks! i think they are pretty cute, but i'm maybe a wee bit biased.

  8. 8.) Jackie
    November 11th, 2010

    Dove!!!

  9. 9.) Saja
    November 11th, 2010

    We did this with our daughter. Worked great!

  10. 10.) Melissa
    November 11th, 2010

    Hmmm, sounds great! My first daughter was spoon-fed. I would like to try this with our second in a few months when she's ready.

  11. 11.) eMJay
    November 11th, 2010

    This is what we have done and my kids eat anything and everything – most of their spoonfed friends are very picky.

  12. 12.) tryityoumightlikeit
    November 11th, 2010

    Pretty cool! I think baby-led anything is a good idea. I felt like my kids told me when they were ready for the next step in their development and everything went much smoother than if I was deciding they were ready.

  13. 13.) Marketing Mommy
    November 11th, 2010

    I did this with my 2nd daughter (now 3) and loved it. Easier for me…more fun for her! She's also a better (less picky) eater than my baby food-fed daughter. I wonder if there's a connection.

  14. 14.) michelle
    November 11th, 2010

    Absolutely fascinating. I was going to seriously attempt to make my own baby food this time around since I'm not working, but I love the idea of this even more. I'm going to have to check out the book. Thanks for the info!

  15. 15.) misti
    November 12th, 2010

    wow – that is amazing and adorable and it makes so much sense. good for both of you!

  16. 16.) @EasyLunchboxes
    November 12th, 2010

    It amazed me when my middle daughter loved people food at 7 months but I thought it was a fluke and didn't really explore it like you talk about here. Too late for a do-over, lol, but this makes so much sense!!!!

  17. 17.) Michelle
    November 12th, 2010

    This is what I did with my youngest daughter, who's now 7 years old. It was wonderful and easy. Her first food was a banana.

  18. 18.) Tracy
    November 12th, 2010

    why is giving your baby real food "hippy-dippy"? that is ridiculous. i don't understand why people have to label themselves and others when it comes to a natural approach or not. it happens all the time: i.e. anything health related, or introducing the "potty" before age 4 and a half!

  19. 19.) Tracy
    November 12th, 2010

    But that being said, I'm glad to learn about this book and see you putting it out there!

  20. 20.) Jacinda
    November 12th, 2010

    I did this mostly because I was too busy to sit and spoon feed. I didn't realize it was even a "thing" other than a case of "lazy mama" but now I know that I'm actually on the cutting edge of parenting. Go Jacinda!

  21. 21.) Dana
    November 12th, 2010

    That video is not only so cute but just amazing to watch. I think we don't give our babies enough credit for what they're truly capable of. Good for you – keep us posted!!

  22. 22.) Jeanne
    November 12th, 2010

    Love it. Is the broccoli steamed or raw?

  23. 23.) Liz
    November 12th, 2010

    We did this with both of our oldest two and are preparing to start with baby #3 in a couple months. It is by far the easiest way to feed a baby! And there isn't one picky eater in my brood (unless you count the hubby… but he tries)!

  24. 24.) Mariko
    November 12th, 2010

    Our kids are almost exactly the same age, actually.
    I love this idea. Really? Can I do this?
    I'm a little scared, but I think I'll be trying it for sure. My 4-year-old wants me to play the video again for her.

  25. 25.) circetwo
    November 13th, 2010

    That's what we did! All four kids. When they decided they wanted to grab food off my plate, they got to eat it. They're remarkably healthy, and not terribly picky eaters.

  26. 26.) Lisan
    November 13th, 2010

    We tried it with our baby-girl. We read this Dutch book: http://www.borstvoeding.com/boeken/bij.html . It worked great. I was scared at first. Thinking she would choke on everything. So we started of with the squishy stuff: a piece of broccoli, banana, a piece of bread-crust,… She loved it and of course we loved it too.

  27. 27.) Ashley
    November 13th, 2010

    This is a perfectly timed post for me. My baby is 6 1/2 months old now, and I think I'll give the knawing a try.

  28. 28.) DebbieD
    November 16th, 2010

    This is a really interesting concept..So many kids are picky eaters and some have sensory issues with food and you have to kind of wonder if it is because they weren't able to really explore it with their hands and because everything is pureed. I did make all my sons food and pureed it so I could make sure the ingredients were organic/fresh etc. I would have loved to try this with him though.

    Oh and your little girl is so cute Rebecca 🙂 I am enjoying reading your blog and love the new look of it..I can only hope you have a cookbook on the way girly!

  29. 29.) Ariane
    November 18th, 2010

    I also do a hybrid of this – but I give my baby cereal since our milk's iron supply starts to drop around the 6 month mark and cereal ensure that he will get the proper amounts of iron. At your seminar, what did they suggest about iron intake?

  30. 30.) Baby Led Chewing | Cooking with My Kid
    November 27th, 2010

    […] few weeks ago I mentioned that I’ve been trying a new feeding technique called Baby Led Weaning. Actually, it’s not really new it’s likely as old as man, but it’s not something […]

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  33. 33.) Melane
    January 5th, 2011

    Ariane, cereal still isn't necessary. Make sure you are getting iron in your diet and that your baby gets iron through meat, etc and they are fine. The book does discuss the iron debate.

  34. 34.) Karin
    January 13th, 2011

    Actually, more so than fear of her choking, I’m curious how much food actually gets in her system. How long does it take for her to eat a meal?

    …not like I need to worry about this, seeing as I have no baby and no intention of having a baby any time soon… but I’m curious!

  35. […] still loving Baby Led Weaning, but it sure can be M-E-S-S-Y. This new Messy Baby Bib was a gift from my SIL who also happens to […]

  36. 36.) Greta
    February 24th, 2011

    Okay, wow, I’m intrigued…. I started our 7 month old on smashed bananas last month, followed by pureed squash and avocado, a month ago and she hates it! She looks like she thinks we’re poisoning her! I might have to check into this…. Thanks for the info!

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