Our official unofficial guide to Baby Led Weaning

BLW. Baby Led Weaning. Not to be confused with BLT.

When Luke was a baby, I wasn't a believer in BLW. Simple reason? I didn't believe a 6 month old could chew food. I actually made fun of it when I would read articles describing how to BLW. Honestly, I was terrified of Luke choking and being a new mom I just wanted to feed him the easy way. I was also working full time (making it easy to throw a jar in the diaper bag and go).

So Gerber purees it was. I graduated from the Gerber purees to making my own purees. I spent countless hours steaming, blending and freezing food. It saved a TON of money to make our own babyfood!

But he turned one and absolutely revolted against food. Coincidence? Maybe. But he absolutely refused to eat things with texture. Big surprise since everything he was fed for 6 months was pureed.  It was and still is a long drawn out process when we get him to try new food and he's four. I don't expect him to eat broccoli and pot roast, but chicken nuggets would be nice. And what's funny is he likes certain things with crazy amounts of texture. Salad? Check. Tortilla chips? Check.

Because Luke always thrived his nutrition was never a concern with our pediatrician. We never forced him to eat meat, and in a way he may be a self proclaimed vegetarian. He really doesn't like meat at all (except hotdogs- which I RARELY serve and almost never eat myself). And I'm okay with that. But I do wish he'd expand his pallet. Potatoes? Nope. Tomatoes? Nope. Cucumbers? Nope. Rice? Nope. Pickles? You betcha.

When Emberly came along I was determined to do things differently. Will she end up the same way? Maybe. But at least I'll know that I tried a different method. Enter our attempt at BLW.

At 5.5 months she was ready for solids. She suddenly showed an interest in what we were eating and I busted out the purees. I wasn't about to start her on spaghetti and meatballs.

Around 7 months is when we went into full fledged BLW mode. If you're not familiar with BLW it's basically a fancy way to say the baby eats what you eat (and I add... to an extent).  Of course I'm not going to give her pizza yet, or seafood ravioli, or chili. But if we're having chili with baked potatoes I make an extra potato for her. They're not actually "weaning" yet so that part is a little misleading. In fact she still gets 30oz. of formula a day on top of 3 meals. Also if you are interested in this method, ask around. Alot of my friends had awesome insights about the topic. I also searched some blogs to come up with food ideas. One thing that stuck with me and what most people question is knowing the difference between coughing and choking. Emberly has never choked. She has gagged a few times and coughed to get food down. She also has never thrown up from the gagging. Apparently their gag reflex is closer to front of their tongue than ours, so they have to figure out how to swallow on their own. BLW greatly helps them figure it out. Luke still has an issue with gagging. In fact he can throw up everything he just ate by gagging once or twice.

Without blabbing on and on, here's my official {note: completely unofficial} guide to Josef BLW.

What's on the menu?
Bananas
Hummus
Avocados
Eggs- scrambled and hard boiled
Carrots
Green Beans
Potatoes- baked or mashed
Rice

I still introduce all this like I did purees. Slowly over time making sure to allow plenty of time between introductions (typically 4 days) in case of an allergic reaction. Thankfully we've never had one (between both kids). When we did eggs I did have the bottle of benadryl  just in case. I will probably do the same thing I did with Luke with introducing peanuts. I took a jar to his one year doctor appointment and we had a snack in the waiting room. That way if he did have a reaction, we were there.

Many times I just feed her directly from my plate. This gets tricky because I don't like to give her overly seasoned, buttery food, so sometimes I just whip up her own batch.
Bananas and avocados are awesome. They are ready to eat and need no prep. This is typically our go to foods as we are running out the door.

Hummus- I just buy this in the store. I make sure it's plain (no seasoning) and let her go to town. I'm hoping to add chick peas to her menu soon. And I can't wait to smear hummus on toast/crackers/pita when she gets bread down.

Eggs- If Josh and I are having eggs I will give her a little of ours. I have to be sure not to salt and pepper them until I've pulled her portion out. Sometimes I will make these ahead if I know we are going to have an unusually busy week (like this week).

Carrots. I  buy fresh organic carrots, peel and cut them and the freeze them in little bags ahead of time. Then I will just pull a bag as needed and I steam the whole bag and refrigerate what we don't use. I'll pull them out throughout the week for lunch and dinner. Confession? I don't eat steamed carrots, so if I left it up to feeding her from my plate she would never get these (and they are one of her favs!).

Green Beans. We are huge green bean eaters. Fresh, frozen or canned. I tend to stay away from canned just because I'm prefer the taste of fresh/frozen, but I try to keep cans on hand in a pinch. I grabbed a huge bag of frozen green beans at Sams and there were a few individually wrapped bags inside. So we've been working through those. Again I like to steam them ahead of time so I can just reheat as needed.
Potatoes (baked or mashed). These are one of her favorites. Actually she really likes eating in general. But this gets the most beats on the highchair for more. I prefer to bake our potatoes with the crock pot method mentioned here. She gets half a potato and I put a TEENY trace of butter for taste.
Rice. I will occasionally make a casserole that had rice in it (either broccoli, cheese, chicken and rice, or just rice) and give her some. Also if we go to a mexican or chinese restaurant she'll get a portion of my rice. Love that she loves rice and I'd love to incorporate more brown rice into our diets.

A few things I'm going to try working on:

She doesn't get a ton of fruit. Honestly? I'm okay with that for now. I tried strawberries once and they were too tart for her. I'd love to incorporate apples, peaches, and pears into her diet. She has had those in purees (pears were her favorites).

Peas and beans are other foods I'm looking to start next. Black beans, pinto beans, and northern beans are all on my list. I don't want to do too much too soon, but I also don't want to wait too long.

Also bread. I tried giving her little pieces of toast and it all got caught at the top of her mouth and started to go down her throat in one chunk. That kind of scared me, so I took a bread break- not to be confused with baked bread. Hoping to get started back soon.

I am HOPING that she will have a less picky pallet when it comes to food, but I know that once they hit a year things change. This was almost a social experiment for my own curiosity. Even if she isn't picky it may still be coincidence. All children are different and that is SO IMPORTANT to remember.

I will also say that BLW is SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying jarred food and it's SO MUCH EASIER to feed them! I can actually eat with 2 hands and let her go to town on her food. The only exception is avocados- they stain clothes something fierce so I spoon feed her those.

So glad I tried this method after making fun of it something terrible!

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