Hi hi hi! Since showing snippets of Ellie eating, I have gotten so many questions from friends and readers about what we have done so far. I love that you guys are asking questions and that you’re trying to determine what is best to do with your child! Please keep doing that! I’m not an expert at this whatsoever but I can point you in the direction of the ones that are and share what we’ve done/learned so far since we started this only two months ago. As always, this is just what works for us. Please please please do what you think is best for your baby, your family, and your mama heart!
We are using what is called a Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) approach. The gist of it is that instead of spoon-feeding Ellie purees, she feeds herself safe, solid foods. Now, I will say there are some differences with what we do that are shared in the book and podcast below: One is that instead of cutting most items into finger shapes for Ellie to use a palmer grasp, we cut them into small pieces for her to use a pincer grasp. She developed a very good pincer grasp very early on (right around the 6 month mark) and we learned quickly that with the finger shaped foods, she likes to shove the entire thing into her mouth at one time vs taking smaller bites of it. There are probably ways to teach your baby to not shove the entire finger of food into their mouth and there are probably opinions on why it’s important to let a baby do this to develop their gag reflex but it makes us super nervous so we don’t do it. Another thing we do differently (especially from the podcast I mention below) is that we pretty much just feed her whatever we’re eating as long as it is safe for her to eat. Baby-Led Weaning Made Easy provides a really great structure for how to introduce solids to your baby. It’s extremely informative and an amazing resource. We don’t follow it to a T though because we eat well to begin with so in general, she just eats what we eat but prepared in a way that is safe for her.
I feel like I can’t stress this enough so I’m going to say it again – do what is best for your baby and your mama heart. Not only with baby feeding but with everything. If you look into these resources and you don’t want to implement anything that they suggest, then don’t! If you want to use it as your holy grail, do that. Whatever is best for your family.
***I highly HIGHLY recommend taking a CPR course and having knowledge on CPR. Shannon Tripp’s Instagram is a phenomenal resource. It’s also very important to be able to recognize the difference between gagging and choking. They are not the same. Listen to THIS episode to learn more about how to recognize each.
I don’t have tons to say on this yet but so far we really love this smock from Ikea because of how affordable and functional they are. We have I think like 6 or 7 of them at this point. If you’re looking into BLW approved plates/utensils THESE are the best by far.
Recommendations for highchairs/boosters are HERE. I wouldn’t recommend the one that we have. As a seat it’s great! But for BLW it needs to be modified.
A friend of mine that did BLW with her daughter recommended THESE! I’m going to get some to try out!
I didn’t start listening to the Baby Led Weaning Made Easy podcast until after we had started feeding Ellie solids. I was just going off of what I had learned from the Baby-Led Weaning the Essential Guide, the plethora of random knowledge I had gained over the years on the topic, and my mama gut. With that in mind, we didn’t feed her any purees but we did incorporate plain (no sugars added) yogurt to make some foods more moist. For example, with shredded chicken breasts. In the podcast Katie talks about incorporating fattier chicken because it tends to be more moist which is such a helpful tip! Since we were cooking chicken breasts at the beginning, we used the yogurt to combat the dryness. Basically making it into a sauce that she picked up with her hands and fed herself.
I did get some spinach and apple pouches for when we were out and I had nothing to give her. I prefer not to do that because they’re expensive but they work for on-the-go. To feed those to her, I’ll either let her feed herself with it or I’ll put a little in a plate and let her use her hands to put it in her mouth or load a spoon and give her the spoon. I still don’t feed her with it.
We have not bought anything you’d find in the baby aisle or marketed for babies for Ellie. With very few exceptions, most of that stuff is all a marketing ploy and is full of sugar (if you want to get me fired up about something let’s talk about this!). My encouragement to you is to read your labels and shop towards the outside of the store. That is where the more nutrient-dense foods tend to be located. In general, especially with Ellie, we try to avoid foods with any added sugars or with high sodium (anything over 100 mg specifically) content. You should do this for yourself too!
Honey is a no no for babies until they turn one (honey can contain Clostridium botulinum which can produce a toxin that causes infant botulism), even as an ingredient in a food, so that is the biggest thing we avoid. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children don’t consume sugar until they are two. I know that’s probably the absolute best for children but…… We all know this is Jordan Tupta writing, right? One of my favorite things on God’s green Earth is a beloved donut. Heck this blog originally started as a way to celebrate donuts. I’m not going to keep that joy from my child for two whole years. Nope. Overall, we don’t really avoid anything unless it’s super spicy. The whole point is to let them experience a very wide variety of flavors and textures so we don’t limit much (as long as it is safe).
We don’t! At the beginning she used just her hands to pick everything up and that’s still what she does mostly. However, she’s gotten really great at using a spoon if we load it and hand it to her. It’s really cool to watch her skills progress!
YES! Very much so. Now that we’re about two months into this she’s gotten very good at it but we still get nervous from time to time. We always watch her very very closely. If something makes us too nervous, we just don’t do it or we modify it so that it makes us feel more comfortable. For example, using the yogurt as a “carrier” of sorts or breaking up zucchini into small pieces vs. a finger shape. Some would argue that’s not BLW “to a t” but I don’t care. It works for us!
Yes! It is a mess especially with foods like yogurt. The smocks definitely help and make the clean up easier! I joke that I’m excited for the summer time because I’ll be able to just hose her off after she eats but I’m serious about that! After dinner we usually take her straight to the tub to get rinsed off. It looks a lot worse than it seems. Or maybe I’m just used to it now? The benefits of BLW in our opinion are worth it! It feels like she’s gotten less messy as we’ve progressed but maybe I’m imagining things…
Start by listening to THIS podcast episode and then THIS episode is super helpful with exact steps to take! Our first week looked similar to what is described in the episode even though I hadn’t listened to it before we started the first week. Avocado, banana, yogurt, and eggs were some of Ellie Joy’s first foods!
There are five criterion your baby should be able to meet before starting solids. You can learn all about them in detail HERE!
We have learned so much (as you can see from our plateless high chair pictures!) and still have so much to learn but I hope this is helpful for now! Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to get them answered.
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