Parenting

The Best Baby Led Weaning Books & Gear That Set Your LO Up For Mealtime Success

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baby led weaning
Lauren Volo

Starting to wean your baby is one of the most exciting adventures full of new tastes and smells, one that relies on mama to spoon feed jarred purees of interesting flavor combinations for months (aka, the end of hot meals for all mamas). However, moms all across the UK and into the US are taking back meal time with baby led weaning. By giving BB the choice of what to eat and how much (hence the baby-led part), us mamas are free to enjoy mealtime ourselves. One where we never, EVER have to say the phrase, “Here comes the airplane!” We promise!

What is baby-led feeding?

Baby cookbook author (among many other things!) Jenna Helwig, shares her twist on baby led weaning that she calls baby led feeding in her book, Baby-Led Feeding: A Natural Way to Raise Happy, Independent Eaters. This is a method of starting solids that skips spoon-feeding and introduces finger foods right from the beginning, exposing baby to a variety of shapes and textures right away. Helwig notes, “I hadn’t heard of baby-led weaning when my baby was starting solids, but we did start finger foods on the early side, at around 7-8 months, so when I did learn about BLW it felt natural to me.”

Benefits to baby led weaning are impressive, such as developing eye-hand coordination and encouraging BB’s independence while listening to their own hunger cues. We love that it brings baby to the table early on, making meal time a thing for the whole family! Helwig says, “What I love most about it is that baby-led feeding can help babies develop a strong, happy relationship with food. BLW encourages babies to explore, play, and discover the world through food, and it often helps them become more adventurous eaters over the long term.” Don’t we all want the kid who eats everything without complaint? Yes please! (BLW doesn’t mean your toddler won’t go through a choosy phase, but it does mean they will be life long lovers of food).

But wait won’t they choke?!

The research says not anymore than with traditional puree feeding. Ever have BB chomp down on your finger while teething? Yowzers that hurts! Babies are powerful chewers even before they have any actual chompers, which is a major reason why baby-led weaning is so successful. Helwig shares these helpful tips for preventing potentially dangerous situations, “Everything needs to be soft enough to mash with gentle pressure between your thumb and forefinger and either cut into small pieces or pinky-finger sized sticks. No raw carrots or apples, no big gobs of nut butter. Always stay with your baby when they’re eating, and know how to handle the situation if your baby does choke. So be vigilant, but remember that babies are successfully learning to eat this way all the time!”

The best part of baby led feeding is that chances are your kitchen is already ready to go without the need for tons of extra stuff. However, we’ve compiled our list of the top must have items to make the transition to BLW a little easier on everyone (including reluctant Grandma) and even fun! Helwig says, “Just do what works for you and your baby, and you’ll be fine. There are very few hard and fast rules here…other than no honey for baby before age 1.” So embrace the mess (it will get messy — think drop cloth messy) and get the camera ready to capture all of the funny faces as BB navigates this strange new world of food!

Must Have Gear For Baby Led Weaning Mamas

Must Have Baby Gear For Baby Led Weaning

Looking for more great ideas for BB? Check off everything on your list from our mom approved must have baby gear.

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