Baby Led Weaning: Did it really work?

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Today, I am honored to have a post running on Natural Parents Network: Baby Food Be Gone: A Beginner’s Tips on Introducing Your Baby to Baby Led Weaning. As I look through the post’s photo essay, which shows Baby eating first foods such as toast with hummus, cucumber sticks, and multigrain rice cake at 7 months old, I’m amazed at how far Baby has come with his eating habits now that he is 13 months and how thankful I am that we did Baby Led Weaning.

For a complete description of Baby Led Weaning and for tips on getting started, please see the post on Natural Parents Network, but if you just want to know if Baby Led Weaning really works in the long run, then my answer is: YES!

Here is why I consider Baby Led Weaning to be a success:
- Baby has had a lot of fun exploring food. Discovering different textures with both his hands and his mouth made eating especially enjoyable for him. He still displays lots of enthusiasm during meal times.


- We never had to teach Baby to feed himself or transition from purees to table food. It just always was that way, which made things easy.

- It’s always been easy, for the most part, to eat with Baby at restaurants or when we are out. We can eat our meals while Baby feeds himself his own food.

- Baby is an adventurous eater. He may not like every food, but he will at least try it.

- Baby learned early on to stop eating when he is full and to let us know he is done. Because he has been in control of the eating process, I think it helped him communicate his food related needs from a very early age.

- Baby has always been able to share our meals with us and feeding him has required less prep and special purchases.

baby eats kale chips

Baby explores the texture of a kale chip before devouring a batch of them.



For more tips on Baby Led Weaning, please see 5 New Baby Led Weaning Tips.

Have you had success with Baby Led Weaning? Do you have any questions about BLW that I could try to answer for you in the comments section?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gaby @ Tmuffin August 11, 2011 at 9:26 am

I love this post. I like the idea of letting baby explore textures–in his mouth or his hands, hair or face. :)

I tried purees with Baby T. He wasn’t that interested. I switched to BLW around 7 months, but he gagged/choked on everything, and he wasn’t that interested either. I think I tried so hard to be able to say “I didn’t feed baby purees, I did BLW” that I didn’t listen to my baby and I pushed the BLW the way other moms might push purees.

He always had gas and seemed to have digestive issues, but I could never trace them to anything. I think he was telling me by his gag reflex that he just wasn’t ready for food, period. It’s important to listen to your baby and do what is right for them, not what the books say. He didn’t really end up eating solids until he was 12 months old.

He’s a little bit picky now, but doesn’t have digestive issues or gagging issues anymore. He will try anything I put in front of him, and he’ll just let me know if he doesn’t like it or if he does.

I give my 6-month-old purees now, but he holds the spoon or just dips his fingers into what I put on his tray and sucks on them. Sometimes I give him something like a green bean to hold, but he prefers to make a mess with his purees, and I’m ok with that. He’s exploring.
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2 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama August 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thanks, Gaby! You bring up what is probably the most important lesson out of all baby feeding related topics: What’s right for one baby is not right for another and only your baby can tell you what’s best for him or her. Some babies are truly not ready to eat solids for quite a while and knowing the signs of readiness is so important. Thanks for sharing!!

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3 sarah August 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm

My husband’s concerned about choking, like when our 6-month-old DD gums off a little piece of cucumber and then gags it up. What would you say about this fear he has that our daughter will choke? Thanks!

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4 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama August 12, 2011 at 10:24 am

Sarah, that’s a really common concern and we were concerned about that at first too. To make your husband feel safer about the process, maybe start with just steamed foods like steamed sweet potato or squash and soft foods like banana and avocado. The foods should be the size of baby’s fist and you’ll notice that your baby will take very tiny bites. If she gags, that is okay and it is a natural process of learning to eat. We quickly realized that the little bit of light gagging that Baby did was actually helpful. It made us feel safe that Baby knew what needed to come in and out of his mouth. Even today, he’ll reach in his mouth and take a chunk out that is slightly too big or not chewed enough. Sometimes he’ll nibble that piece until it is small enough to go all the way back into his mouth. I really think he learned this from BLW. Also, emphasize to your DH that gagging is NOT choking, although of course, it is always best to be certified in infant CPR and first aid no matter how you feed your baby.

Another big thing is to make sure that DD has displayed ALL the signs of readiness for eating solids. If she has not displayed every single one, then it’s not time to start solids anyway. http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/solids-when.html

I hope this helps!

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5 Elle August 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I am glad that it was a success. The program sounds very similar to what we did, but I just didn’t have a name for it. As children get older that really should start exploring different food options. Congratulations!
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6 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama August 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

Thank you, Elle!

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7 Bob Lipply@clearwater homes September 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

Weaning period is tough for both the baby and the parents. I think mashed potatoes, carrots, squash and avocados are great foods to try. These are the most common foods fed to babies since most babies likes the texture of these foods.

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8 Mama B December 12, 2012 at 12:43 am

Thanks so much for this article! I am hoping to do BLW with my daughter and I love reading success stories and hearing more about the benefits of BLW! When was your baby showing signs of readiness?
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9 Charise Rohm Nulsen December 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

You’re welcome! My son, now two years old, didn’t show signs of readiness until 7 months. My baby girl showed signs of readiness very early, but I wanted to make sure to do six full months of exclusive breastfeeding, so I waited until that point and started then. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!

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