This is a pic of J just before we started solids trying on his first bib.
I remember starting Baby Led Weaning and being so overwhelmed. I had so many questions. What food should I start with? Should I offer one food at a time? What should I do if he can't grab the food? Why is he just making a mess instead of eating?
One of the things that attracted me to BLW was the idea of cooking one meal but when we first started out I didn't feel like J was at all ready to eat the same meals as us. Now a few months later so much has changed. We are still relatively near the beginning of our BLW journey but we are enough passed that first stage now that I feel like I can reflect on it and give some advice.
If you feel comfortable jumping into full meals with baby right off the bat go ahead. If you wanna go one food at a time for a bit that's ok too. We started with single foods. I tried to incorporate whatever J was eating in our family meal though. So if we had a sweet potato dish he would have plain sweet potatoes. At some point you'll see baby is ready to move on to full family meals. For us it was somewhere between 7-8 months. This will vary between babies but use your parental judgement and you will know the right time.
Don't get discouraged. J is a great eater now but he went through some pretty frustrating phases before that and I'm sure he will go through more. At first he couldn't grab things well. Then he went through a phase where he didn't want any food. Then there was the "id rather make a huge mess and smoosh everything" phase. Eventually he got the hang of it but it took a month and a half to two months. I know it's a downer when you spend all this time preparing and it goes nowhere. Keep offering and don't worry – let baby do what baby has to do.
If you have the time read Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley. It's a good read and will help you understand the research behind BLW as well as a lot of troubleshooting and advice. Most library systems have it and so does Amazon and major book stores. It is available in several languages as well.
Be ready for a mess and take precautions. Dress baby appropriately for meals. Unless it's a special occasion you really can't help don't put baby in nice clothes that you don't want stained. Don't put long sleeves for dinner. Use a drop sheet under the highchair. Check out #blgmess on facebook or Instagram for more tips.
Cut or mold food into finger shaped pieces for beginners. It's easier to grasp.
Be ready for gags. Don't panic or scare baby when it happens. Take a baby CPR class. Not because BLW causes choking just because all parents should take one. Check out #blggagging on facebook or instagram for more advice.
Have fun with it! Don't stress over weaning. Babies will not starve themselves nor will the refuse to eat for the rest of their lives. Enjoy teaching your LO how to eat and to love food.
Anything I missed?
Leave advice or questions below!