Baby Food Be Gone: Our Successful First Attempts at Baby Led Weaning

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

How to feed your baby is one of the biggest decisions that new parents face. For us, the decision was initially simple: Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. After the initial difficulties, I am proud to say I have not only been able to exclusively feed my son this way, but I also enjoy it tremendously. Judging from the huge smiles that Jac exudes every time he lies down to nurse, I think he enjoys it tremendously too.

The World Health Organization says that the optimal way to feed an infant is six months of exclusive breastfeeding. When we reached this goal, we were ready to introduce Jac to some solid food in addition to his full breastfeeding schedule. I have to admit that we decided to start Jac on homemade baby food based on his age and not on visible signs of readiness. Signs of readiness for solids include sitting up well without support, losing the tongue thrust reflex, reaching for food and showing eagerness to take part in meals, and developing a pincer grasp where the baby can use her thumb and forefinger to pick things up. Jac was definitely not exhibiting all of these signs, but we ploughed ahead anyway.

Jac was initially reluctant to eat the purees, but he got into it for a couple of weeks. Then he suddenly went on strike. He only wanted to breastfeed and wanted nothing to do with the spoon or his baby food.

I had been reading about Baby Led Weaning since pregnancy and it really interested me, but it also made me a bit nervous. When I realized Jac was done with baby food and was actually finally exhibiting all signs of readiness for solids at seven months, I decided to give Baby Led Weaning a try.

For a full description and instructions, check out: Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater Basically, the baby joins the rest of the family at mealtimes, is offered regular food shaped in a way that is easily handleable, and feeds himself what he wants. The idea is that babies learn about food naturally, learn to eat safely, and gain confidence as eaters.

Please don’t try this without first consulting the aforementioned book or a resource such as I’m only sharing our personal experiences with Baby Led Weaning and not providing a tutorial, although I’m happy to answer questions in the comments section below if you have any.

We officially started BLW a few days ago, and so far, it has been an amazing experience. We can’t get over how capable our little baby is! We just had to let go a little and give him the opportunity to learn on his own. (That’s probably a parenting lesson we’ll be learning over and over again over the next sixty or so years, right?)

Enjoy the photo essay below of Jac’s first attempts at eating regular food. Note that he does not have teeth, and he has not choked or even gagged. He’s displayed nothing but excitement, curiosity, and satisfaction in this process so far.

1st food: Cucumber sticks
2nd food: Unsalted multigrain rice cake
Cucumber dipped in hummus. Jac LOVES hummus!
Very clearly telling me he would like to move to his high chair
and have some multigrain toast with strawberry rhubarb jam!
Multigrain toast with hummus for dinner.
Figuring out how to use the tray to balance a slippery banana. Smart boy!
Don’t even think about trying to take my banana!

Here are some additional baby led weaning tips.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 1grown2togo January 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Wow can't believe how much he loves hummus!! Your newest GFC follower Found you on the Relax & Surf Hop~Shari


2 Heather January 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I love this idea!! I think it also helps in aiding baby to develop taste buds for things on his own instead of forcing it upon him with a spoon like I did. This might be the plan for the next baby.

I'm following from relax and surf sunday, would love for you to follow back!

Heather From and Mommy Only Has Two Hands! and Lynhea Designs


3 MamaPSU January 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Hi, thanks for following me thru the breastfeeding blog hop! We're trying BLW, too, but have had a rough start. I'll be watching your blog for tips!


4 Lisa January 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

That last picture is fantastic! That's exciting that he's learning to eat all on his own! I really don't understand how he could eat a cucumber or toast without teeth :)


5 I Thought I Knew Mama Charise January 24, 2011 at 1:52 am

Thanks, everyone!

Lisa, I know… it's weird that babies can ingest solid food without teeth! To be clear, he is not fully consuming each item you see in the pictures, BUT he does gum it and suck on it to the point where it reduces and small pieces become manageable to swallow. :-)


6 Mommy Head January 24, 2011 at 2:33 am

Thanks for linking up with the Say HI Sunday Blog Hop. I am following you back now.

Nice blog entry on Baby Led Weaning. Lion, my 6 1/2 mo with Down syndrome is a lot like your son. He hasn't showed us any readiness for food, and we feel the pressure to start him. I want to do Baby Led Weaning with him, since i think it is the safer way. Your little Jac is a great example on how it works. Thanks for the resources.


7 Heavenly Savings January 24, 2011 at 4:01 am

Nice Blog! I now follow you! Happy Sunday! I would love for you to stop and take a look at my blog as well!! Have a happy day!


8 Closer to Lucy January 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Too cute! I've never seen a lil guy who liked his hummus so much! Can't even get the big kids to eat it now…but that leaves more for me!
Have fun with the solids!

come by Lucy's when you get a chance


9 Liisa January 27, 2011 at 12:18 am

Hi Charise,
this is too cute. I don’t know how you have time for this, but it’s awesome. i love the pics of baby Jac. He’s getting so big. Grace, Luke, & Cami all loved all dif kinds of crazy foods, but once their taste buds developed a little bit more, they stopped eating things like hummus, beans, tofu, etc. enjoy the new world of food. it’s a lot of fun.
I just ordered vista print labels too, thanks! i’ve never really followed a blog or even know how to tweet so i’m not sure if i’m doing this right. I’ll keep checking in.
Love to you, Jeff, Jac, & the kitties.
Big Hugs,


10 Megan L March 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I love your BLW pics! My daughter is loving feeding herself, too.
Megan L recently posted..10 Differences in Pregnancy and Parenting in Japan and the US from the Viewpoint of a Natural MamaMy Profile


11 huggies coupons May 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thanks for mentioning the website – we’re so glad your little one is enjoying homemade baby food and that she’s proving to be an adventurous eater :)
huggies coupons recently posted..Huggies Coupons May 2011My Profile


12 Helene Glenn December 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

enjoy the new world of food. I love this idea!!


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