Confessions of a Baby-Led Weaning Mom (hint: it just means your baby feeds herself what you eat)

Confessions of a Baby-Led Weaning Mom | Twin Cities Moms Blog

It sounds so complicated, and it’s so simple: baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solids where babies feed themselves the same foods adults eat. If you want to be strict about it (I’m not): no purees, no spoons, no pouches, no forays into the baby food aisle, period. “They” say it helps kids develop healthy and adventurous eating habits and quickly learn how to feed themselves.

The interwebs are full of great info on baby-led weaning, and I’ll let you Google yourself down that rabbit hole. But as a food-loving mom of a one-year-old, I’ll shout its praises from the rooftops and can’t imagine our mealtimes any other way. I also have some confessions:

Confession: I hate the term “baby-led weaning.” What does that even mean?! Talk about making something that’s totally normal sound as snooty as possible. (Apparently, it’s a British thing – while we think of “weaning” as subtracting breastfeeding or formula, across the pond, they consider it adding other foods.) Let’s just call it what it is: having babies feed themselves non-smushed food. It’s really not that snobby or that hippie-crunchy or that strict. Some variation of baby-led weaning can work for anyone who’s interested in trying it.

Confession: I do it because I’m lazy. Because my tiny human eats the same stuff I do, I don’t have to add anything to my grocery list. And I don’t have to panic if I forget or run out of something. I don’t have to mulch things up in the food processor and freeze them in ice cube trays and then wash the food processor’s gazillion pieces and, later, the ice cube trays. Massive extra credit goes to the fact that, while any kind of baby-feeding requires parental presence and attention, I don’t have to feed the baby before eating my own meal – we can truly eat together.

Confession: I do it because I’m cheap. A single pouch of baby sludge can be well over a dollar, and mama’s wallet just ain’t having that. The puffs, the little melty pellets, the crunchy sticks – that stuff adds up. (I know, because I’m a recovering Nibbly Fingers addict. When I learned to make them myself – game changer.) Granted, as our little one gets bigger, she puts a bigger and bigger dent into our weekly groceries, but we hardly notice the cost of an extra, kid-size portion of cobb salad.

Confession: I don’t do it all the time. Yes, I’ve fed my kid applesauce off a spoon. A pouch has touched her pouty little lips. And dang, do puffs buy me stroller-running time in emergencies. Hello, travel, sickness, should-have-grocery-shopped-two-days-ago. We appreciate the flexibility, and we appreciate having options for all situations. But 99 percent of the time, my daughter’s pulled up to the table, shoveling in whatever she can gets her hands on, from a spread that looks the same as mine. And that makes my food-loving heart – and her food-loving belly – happy.

3 Responses to Confessions of a Baby-Led Weaning Mom (hint: it just means your baby feeds herself what you eat)

  1. samantha May 18, 2016 at 12:05 AM #

    My baby boy just turned 6 months(3rd baby) and my mom tells me he should only have like 3 or 4 formula bottles a day and I should be giving him grown up food… I’m so scared of him choking. What do I give him??

    • Kate
      Kate May 18, 2016 at 8:15 AM #

      There’s lots of great info/tips/food idease online if you search for “baby-led weaning” (like http://www.babyledweaning.com/) — and always best to talk to your pediatrician about your plans first.

      I got some great advice to read up and watch some videos about the difference between choking and gagging. Babies can have a really sensitive gag reflex — which is a good thing! — but it can be scary if it sounds like they could be choking. Luckily we’ve only had a few gags and no choking scares, but both my husband and I learned the infant Heimlich Maneuver just in case.

      Good luck!

  2. Katie August 11, 2016 at 5:36 PM #

    Yes thank you 🙂 not sure why this is even a thing! Baby-led weaning = Having your child eat what you eat. Baby-wearing = Just carrying your child around more than not. Why make mom-ing more effort than it is 🙂

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