The first 6 months of your baby’s life happen so fast that before you know it it’s time to introduce them to solid foods. If you’re anything like me you will research a lot on this topic before deciding which route to go. For me it only made sense to try baby led weaning. Baby led weaning means you introduce real foods, foods that are soft and mushy, and let your baby feed herself. You don’t give purees nor spoon feed them. Research has shown that this is optimal for the baby’s development and this method is now recommended by most doctors.
By subscribing to baby led weaning you don’t give the baby foods that lack nutritional value, like rice cereal. Your baby will develop her fine motor skills by feeding herself, they will learn to eat at their own pace and explore the textures and flavors. It will be very obvious what they like and dislike by letting them feed themselves finger foods so it’s a great way to introduce them to a variety of flavors.
I love the idea of my kids eating real organic foods and that’s why I decided to try this out. When you start baby led weaning it is recommended that you start with mushy and soft foods that baby can mash with their gums, like avocado, banana, steamed carrots and sweet potatoes. However, as a mother the possibility of them choking when they’re feeding themselves made me really nervous.
Once I started this process I realized a lot of foods are not mushy enough for my baby to chew without me worrying about her choking but I didn’t want to spoon-feed her purees nor give her processed foods and that’s when I came across the silicone feeders. I absolutely love these because you can put any type of food in them: the baby will chew it and the food will come out through little holes so you won’t have to worry about your baby choking on what she’s eating. I can also give this to my baby and not have to watch her like a hawk since the choking hazard is not there.
After they turn 6 months I use the silicone feeders to introduce solid foods to them and I keep using them until I see that they can eat without it. I stopped using the feeder at around 10 months for my first and my second is now 8 months and I still use it about 70% of the time (the other 30% of the time I give her foods that I know she can’t choke on and watch her closely).
My favorite silicone feeders are Boon Pulp Silicone Feeder and Kidsme Food Feeder. For this last one I recommend buying the large because the small is just way too small. I also love that they both have lids so it’s easy to carry in your diaper bag and not get it dirty.
When it comes to eating for the first time…
the best foods to introduce your baby to solids are:
- Prunes (good for constipation)
Make sure you steam the veggies so they’re soft enough for baby to chew them and if possible, buy these organic.
The best way to introduce baby to solids and find out if she is ready to handle them is by giving a new food for 3 days in a row before introducing something else. For example, if you want to start with banana, you give it for 3 days. If you don’t notice anything that would indicate that she’s not ready, like rashes, allergy, abnormal poop, then after day 3 you can introduce one more food, let’s say carrots. This means that baby is now eating bananas and carrots. If you don’t notice a reaction you keep on introducing foods this way. If you see a reaction you stop giving her that and try again a few weeks later.
Eating can get messy even with the feeder so don’t forget to carry bibs in your diaper bag! I also like to carry these table toppers for when we’re at a restaurant since my baby keeps putting the feeder on the table. However, when we’re at home we use ezpz Happy Bowl since it sticks to the table and she can’t spill whatever is in it.
The feeders are meant to help during that transition between the introduction of foods and until baby can eat any and all foods by herself. So I recommend you watch your baby to see what foods you could start giving her without the feeder until you are comfortable enough for your baby to eat without it. In my case, that took about 5 months.
Keep in mind that it is unlikely that your baby will choke on food, but it can happen. Your baby’s gag reflex is closer to the opening of their mouth than an adult’s gag reflex so you might hear them gag easier. When this happens look closely, most babies will spit out the food or move it around their mouth. Never leave a baby unattended if she’s eating foods without the silicone feeder.
Baby led weaning is definitively the way to go for us. It’s a great way to expose your kids to real foods and real nutrients and using the feeders was the way I was able to do it without worrying about my baby choking.
How did you introduce solids to your baby?
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