When To Introduce Solids
What is Baby-Led Weaning?
Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is an approach for introducing babies to solid foods around the age of 6 months. My favorite part about this entire process is how it encourages your baby from a young age to eat intuitively, as they learn how to self-feed. And BONUS - you can skip the runny purees and mealtime battles of trying to spoon feed your baby!
I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about this process and trying it with my own kids. To my pleasant surprise, our babies all did great with baby-led weaning, and I feel that this was an important foundation for them in creating a healthy relationship with food.
While I will cover this topic in greater depth in upcoming blog posts, here are five key tips for transitioning your baby to solids using the baby-led weaning approach, so you can also get them started on a lifelong appreciation of food:
1. Look for Signs of Readiness Before Introducing Solid Food
A common question asked is, "When can I start feeding my baby solids?"
Many well-meaning professionals and loved ones might push you to start solid foods at a certain age, but it is important to look to your baby for signs that they are ready for the transition. Ideally, your baby should show the following signs of readiness for starting solids:
Able to sit up and hold their head, unassisted
Shows an interest in food (may reach out for food)
Takes objects to their mouth accurately
Makes gnawing/chewing movements
These signs are usually evident around six months, but this may vary from baby to baby.
2. Involve Your Baby In Mealtimes
With our first baby, I initially would feed her before we would eat, as “her” food took its own time to prepare.
As I moved toward baby-led weaning, I began to understand the importance of including her in all of our meals.
Make your baby part of your mealtime experience with the rest of your family. Giving them the chance to observe feedings is an important part of their learning process.
While this may take additional planning and make meal times longer, it will be well worth the effort, especially in the long run.
As your baby starts transitioning to solids, family mealtimes can feel like an overwhelming production. Do you need to prepare something for the baby, while also making something separate for the entire family? The good news is that if you are following baby-led weaning, you can easily and strategically put together family friendly meals that will also be suitable for your baby as well!
Transitioning to solids is an exciting time for your baby, so remember to include baby in family meals whenever possible. Your baby is learning from interacting with other family members and observing mealtimes, so make the effort to keep them part of the process, rather than feeding them at a separate time. Though this may not always be possible due to your baby’s schedule and family needs, including your baby on the mealtime fun can be a positive milestone for their development.