Authored by Holly: Holly is a founding member of Puffworks and currently handles our brand strategy – among other things! She lives in Oregon with her husband, Matt and has three kids (ages 6, 3 and 10 months).
I remember when we were introducing our daughter (now six years old!) to solid foods for the first time and baby-led weaning (BLW) was a very new concept for me, since most babies I knew started with the traditional rice cereal or baby purees. Fast forward a few months and we (Puffworks) started working more closely with Katie Ferraro, so naturally my personal BLW journey with my daughter benefited. I am now in the beginning stages of doing BLW with our third baby (Owen) so I thought I would capture his feeding adventure, since I know so many of you are starting (or researching!) BLW during your “spare” time – aka while your baby sleeps on you.
Spoiler alert: Owen LOVES discovering new foods – and it’s messy!
8-month-old baby boy eating oatmeal and yogurt in a baby bowl
Here’s some things I did to make this transition easier:
Pre-BLW Prep: Even though this is my third baby, introducing new foods and watching any baby discover how to eat real food is still very nerve-wracking! I loved having Katie Ferraro’s 100 First Foods™ checklist (get your free download here) pinned to our fridge. I also would spend time watching and saving videos from her Instagram (@babyledweanteam) or listening to her Baby-Led Weaning Made Easy podcast episodes. Getting a refresher on how to cut and serve food for an infant (vs.my older kids!) was really helpful. We also got out our highchair and my husband and I would put him in it without giving him food (since he didn’t seem quite ready yet), so he got used to sitting in it. And then of course making sure all our bibs were clean, and we had baby spoons, bowls, and plates clean and at the ready!
Wait until your baby is ready! Owen had to come early due to some pregnancy complications, so while I was eager to get started, we waited to introduce foods using his adjusted age of 6 months (8-9 months) while also watching for signs of readiness, most notably being able to hold up his neck/sit up on his own.
Limit distractions and have confidence in your little one: I do not know if it was the trauma of him needing to come early or the three weeks in the NICU, but my husband and I have been a little more on edge about Owen’s BLW journey compared to our older kids. The first few foods we gave Owen he gagged more frequently, but after some initial scares we both got better at watching his reaction and trusting that we knew what to do if he started choking. I think trusting that your baby can do it is also about giving yourself the patience to let them figure it out too – but of course as safe as possible.
Checkout our Reel for some highlights of Owen’s first foods and follow along as we introduce more solids, including all 9 common allergens – from egg and peanut to sesame - in a safe form. If you're gearing up to try BLW, don't forget to stock up on our Puffworks baby puffs to make early introduction to peanut (and almond!) less stressful.
Have questions or concerns about BLW or early introduction? Email us at hello @ puffworks.com or comment on our BLW-related Instagram posts.