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BABY LED WEANING: HOW TO START (& DO IT RIGHT!)

hey guys my name is Ashley and I'm a mom

of two little girls I have a two and a

half year old toddler named Kylie and I

have a six-month-old baby named Mia who

is just about to start solid foods a lot

of you guys have asked me about my plan

for how we're going to introduce all the

foods to Mia and we are going to do

exactly what we did with my first

daughter which is baby led weaning so

this video is going to be an

introduction to kind of how to get

started with baby led weaning based on

my own experience because we were very

successful with it with my first

daughter and I am planning to do a total

of about four or five videos for this

little mini series just to kind of dig

into some of the nitty-gritty details on

the different aspects of baby led

weaning just a quick disclaimer I am NOT

a nutritionist I am NOT a pediatrician I

am in no way an expert on this topic

however I did go through this entire

process with my two and a half year old

and I would say for the most part she's

a pretty good eater so I thought that I

might have a few tips to share with some

of you first-time parents who have never

done this before and hopefully you'll

find something that's helpful so first

off let's start with what exactly is

baby led weaning it's just a fancy way

of saying that you skip the purees and

go straight to solid finger foods for

your baby from day one and by the way

the term baby led weaning is actually a

bit of a misnomer the term originated in

the UK where weaning actually refers to

starting your baby on solid foods

whereas in the US where I live

weaning typically is associated with

getting your baby off of breast milk or

formula and technically when you do

start your baby on solid foods you kind

of are decreasing their milk intake but

in no way does that mean that you are

pointedly sitting down and saying okay

I'm giving my baby less milk now that

they're having solids it's actually

quite the opposite for baby led weaning

your job is basically to just start

introducing different solid foods and

you don't touch your baby's milk

schedule whatsoever however many times

your baby is still nursing or getting a

bottle throughout the day you're going

to continue doing that straight up

through their first year there's a

popular saying that food before one is

just for fun so that's important to

remember during baby led weaning you're

only introducing foods to help them

explore and kind of figure out how to

eat but otherwise the milk stays exactly

the same

and what's interesting is that as your

baby gets a little bit older like closer

to the nine to twelve month mark you're

going to see yourself that your baby is

actually starting to consume more of the

solid foods and naturally on your baby's

own he or she will start decreasing

their milk intake but that's entirely

baby less on their own now because the

use of rice cereals and purees have been

pushed by pediatricians for so long for

many of us parents right now the idea of

introducing your baby to solid foods

from the get-go seems like it's kind of

a new thing maybe it's hip or trendy but

if you think about it baby led weaning

has actually been around for centuries

just put yourself in the shoes of

cavemen or even people in today's

society but in third-world countries

where they don't have access to jars of

baby food or the little pouches they're

introducing their babies to the same

things that they eat it's not something

special just for a baby they might mash

it up a little if that's what they feel

more comfortable with doing but

otherwise they're just getting the same

foods that the rest of the family is

getting and if you find yourself gagging

at the thought of pureed turkey do you

really think your baby is going to enjoy

it it's not exactly a first class

introduction to the joy of eating food

so I know that my general rule of thumb

as a mom is if I wouldn't eat it myself

I am most certainly not serving it to my

baby now this might sound all well and

good to a lot of parents out there but

then their first question is what about

choking and that is a totally valid

concern as parents especially first-time

parents we're going to be very worried

about our baby and their safety and you

should be I know that I am very vigilant

about making sure that my baby is not

choking every single time she eats I

never leave her side while she's having

a meal just in case there's actually

research out there that shows that

babies are not any more likely to choke

on solid foods than they are on pureed

foods when they first start eating I

will be sure to include some links to

some resources about it in the

description box below in case you're

interested in reading a little bit more

about that the one thing that you do

want to make sure that you read up on

before you start baby led weaning though

is that you understand how to handle

choking if true choking were to occur of

course you can always take an infant

first aid CPR class to make sure that

you are

100% in the know on how to handle such a

situation and I will also include links

to a couple of videos that I personally

found and watch that I thought were

really helpful that kind of taught me

how to approach choking if my infant

were to start choking which by the way

has never happened the one thing that I

am well-versed in is when a baby gags

gagging is 100% totally normal it's a

baby's natural reflex to get food out of

their mouth that has gone too far back

and it's nothing to be scared of it's

pretty easy to tell the difference

between gagging and choking generally

gagging comes with lots of sounds and

facial expressions which you'll actually

see in this video today and it's very

common for babies in the first couple of

weeks of starting solid foods to gag up

a little bit because they're learning

how to maneuver food around in their

mouths even babies who start on purees

will do this sometimes too so it's not

exclusive to baby led weaning if a baby

is choking it will be very obvious

because they will have a look of terror

on their face and there will be no air

no choking sounds nothing passing

through and in that case of course that

is an emergency but for the most part

you're just gonna see a lot of gagging

and spitting and things like that in the

beginning and then once baby gets

accustomed to the feeling of food in

their mouth and learning how to swallow

little bits of food the gagging stops

some babies do get a lot more than

others

you just kind of have to feel it out and

to be totally honest you have to like

sit on your hands in the first couple of

weeks while this is happening and try

not to freak out because you want to

remain calm you do not want to alarm

your baby oftentimes it's a lot scarier

for the parent to watch than it is for

the baby I can't tell you how many times

my toddler Kylie when she first started

doing this would gag things up and then

just go right back to eating like

nothing happened

one other thing that you might be

wondering is doesn't my baby need teeth

in order to eat solid food and the

answer to that is no when my toddler

Kylie first started she only had I think

one tooth and it had just barely broken

through the guns and she had no problem

chomping down on some broccoli they

figure it out just fine their jaws are

very strong their gums are very strong

and they power through it without a

problem if your child happens to have

teeth already then it's just a bonus all

right so let's jump into what tools do

you need in order to do baby led weaning

I'm gonna come out right now and say you

don't need any

special if you want to sit your child in

your lap in a diaper and hand them a

piece of avocado to eat then that's

totally fine however with that said

there are a couple of tools that will

make things a little bit easier and a

little less messy for you as a parent so

I wanted to share some of those things a

few guys they're things that we use in

our house and I would recommend them to

other parents if it would make you feel

more comfortable to have some of these

things on hand

the first thing are bibs you can use the

traditional fabric bibs that most people

have laying around

personally I prefer these little

silicone pocket bibs because they

they're really really easy to wash and

reuse you don't have to do constant

laundry you just rinse it off as soon as

they're done and let it dry and it's

ready for the next meal but also the

pocket on the front is really convenient

because babies drop a lot of food

especially with solid foods there's

chunks of things constantly falling down

and this the pockets just so big on this

thing that it really prevents most of it

from getting down into the high chair

and getting squished all over the

clothes and all over the highchair so

this is incredibly helpful these are

actually the same ones that I used with

Kylie and we are now using them with Mia

twos as you can see they hold up really

well we have two of them and that's it

for slightly Messier foods like yogurt

and things like that when you get around

to it

some parents also like to use the

sleeved bins which is kind of like a

glorified art smock in my opinion it's

basically just like a waterproof kind of

cover that you put over your baby like a

little shirt and then it's open in the

back right here and then it just ties

around and you just tie it around their

neck and that's it so they're completely

covered on the front and on their arms

and then the back is open and I found

that really helpful for anything

involving a sauce like spaghetti or

yogurt things that tend to just get all

over the place things are still going to

be pretty messy oftentimes the abuse

will just rub it all in their hair it'll

be all over their eating space but at

least you can kind of reduce the amount

of food that is getting all over their

clothing again you don't need these

things if you want to just leave your

baby in just a diaper with no shirt on

at all and hose them down when they're

done eating them that's fine too another

great tool to have on hand is a crinkle

cutter this is perfect for cutting out

the big chunks of food that baby is

gonna try to pick up in the beginning

they're not very good at it and some

foods tend to be a little more slippery

than others so having the crinkly wavy

texture on some of those foods

especially things like bananas or

avocados is really helpful in enabling

your baby to actually pick it up

successfully on their own and get it to

their mouth so it basically just kind of

reduces frustration again not necessary

in fact I didn't even have one with

Kylie I just bought this for Mia and

we've just started using it as far as

where your baby is going to be eating

their meals typically most people start

out in a highchair I feel like a lot of

people really like the IKEA antelope

highchair because it pulls up to the

table there is a tray option as well

which I'm actually using right now with

my daughter because she's a little bit

short for the height of our table but as

she gets bigger we can eliminate the

tray and she can eat dinner at the table

with the rest of the family the other

bonus is that it's a very basic

highchair no frills no fabric

attachments nothing no little crevices

so it's really easy to just wipe down

and clean off when baby is done with

their meal and I can personally attest

to that because Kylie had a different

highchair and it was a pain in the butt

to clean once baby is crawling and

sitting up really well and able to sit

at a Montessori weaning table which if

you don't know what that is I will link

the Montessori eating video that I have

also filmed this week up for you guys

that you can check that out as well but

basically once baby is ready to sit up

in a chair on his or her own

I recommend moving baby from a highchair

to a weaning table but that is obviously

entirely up to your personal preference

if you choose to leave your baby in a

highchair for the entire first two years

of their life then that's your decision

baby led weaning will work whether or

not they're in a highchair or at a table

you also want to invest in something for

your child to learn how to start taking

sips of water out of for some people

this is going to be a sippy cup of some

kind but personally our family follows

Montessori philosophies when it comes to

eating so we've started out both of our

daughters on a small child size or baby

size in this case glass yes this is made

of real glass so it does have the

possibility of breaking these kinder

actually made of tempered glass and

we've dropped them on the floor several

times and they

not broken yet in fact the only ones

that have broken have been two that I

broke accidentally while I was washing

the dishes because I somehow flung it

across the kitchen and it landed on the

floor at a really high speed

but my babies have both dropped these

several times from the highchair and

they've never broken I will put a link

in the description box to the exact set

that we have but these are literally

just shot glasses and they're perfect

for a baby's hands they're just the

right size the fact that this one has

ridges around the edges really helps the

baby to kind of learn how to grip on to

the cuff when they first start one of

the videos that I'm going to be doing in

this series is about teaching your baby

to drink from an open Cup and you're

gonna do this basically from day one so

look forward to that video I'll go into

a lot more detail on how to do that and

finally once your baby is ready to start

using a fork and a spoon it will be wise

to invest in a small child size fork and

spoon the kind that both of my girls use

are just a simple set that I purchased

from a Montessori supply service but

honestly there are tons of different

types of toddler utensils out there that

you can purchase and it doesn't really

matter which ones they use the one thing

that I will recommend is that they are

made of metal and I remember when Kylie

first started using this fork a lot of

people including my own parents were

very concerned about her poking herself

on the tines of the fork it never

happened honestly I think as parents we

worry about a lot more things than we

need to next up is the foods what type

of food are you feeding your baby

basically anything you're eating is fair

game the one thing that you do want to

make sure of is that the food is soft

enough that your baby can eat it in the

beginning so the rule of thumb is if you

can squish it between your two fingers

pretty easily and then it's soft enough

for your baby to eat you can introduce

foods to your baby in whatever order you

want I know that I personally started

out with roasted or steamed fruits and

vegetables and then I kind of slowly

worked my way through some of the grains

and eventually meats it honestly depends

on your culture and what type of diet

your family eats there really are no

hard and fast rules for this so whatever

you're comfortable with I say go for it

the one thing that you want to avoid

though for baby especially in the

beginning are highly processed foods as

well as anything that has a lot of salt

or a lot of excess sugar in it it's not

healthy for baby and you've definitely

not something that you want to start out

their food journey with this

if you are preparing something for your

family for dinner that you're planning

to share bits of with your baby you want

to make sure that you pull out bits of

it for your baby before you add any

extra salt to it seasonings are totally

okay even spicy ones I definitely heard

of some babies who actually really liked

spicy food but I would urge you to start

out small and give them just little bits

at a time and kind of play it by ear you

also need to take into consideration

your family's history of food allergies

obviously if there's something that

someone in your family is highly

allergic to then it's a possibility that

perhaps your baby could also have that

same allergy so you definitely want to

consult your pediatrician before you

introduce any of those types of foods to

your baby and in case you were not aware

of this babies are not allowed to have

honey or cow's milk before the age of

one honey actually contains botulism

spores which can poison your baby

basically and could actually kill them

so you want to make sure you steer clear

of honey and cow's milk just doesn't

have the right levels of nutrients in it

for a baby so they always tell you to

wait until one before you introduce that

before the age of one you want to stick

exclusively to either formula or breast

milk all right so how do you actually do

baby led weaning first you want to make

sure that your baby is very good at

sitting up mostly unassisted this way

they can actually sit in their high

chair or weaning table chair by

themselves if they're slumping over

constantly and they're not able to hold

themselves up then that presents a

choking hazard

so sitting up is very important your

baby should be showing a genuine

interest in food are they reaching out

for things on your plate are they making

chewing motions with their mouths as

they're watching you eat these are all

signs that your baby is interested and

ready for solid food baby should also be

capable of picking things up and

bringing them to their mouths on their

own pretty well you're really not

supposed to put food in your baby's

mouth for him or her because again that

could create a choking risk so baby

should be able to handle food entirely

independently and again realize that

gagging is totally normal and it's gonna

happen a lot in the beginning I put

videos down below that you can recognize

the difference between gagging and

choking and what to do if your child

does actually happen to choke and

finally realize that in the beginning

not a lot of eating and swallowing is

actually going to happen for the most

part the very beginning stages of baby

led weaning are just about exploration

babies learning how to pick foods up

bring it to their

I'll kind of get little bits off move

those bits around in their mouths

probably spit a whole bunch of it right

back out some bits might get swallowed

but again it's about exploration and

learning how to do this whole solid food

thing so if you start a meal with your

baby and hardly anything has been eaten

by the end of it it's just kind of been

smashed around realize that that's

totally normal and to be expected your

baby is really not going to start

actually sitting down and thinking to

himself Oh food I'm hungry until closer

to the nine to twelve month mark so

don't expect a whole lot for those first

couple of months again you want to make

sure that any food you serve is able to

be squished between your two fingers so

that it's soft enough for your baby to

kind of gum to death and then swallow if

they actually get a piece off once they

have more teeth and they're a little bit

better at chewing then you can start

introducing things that are not quite as

soft until your baby gets better at

picking things up with their pincer grip

so they're still using their whole hand

in the beginning you want to offer

little sticks of food that are about the

size of your finger it's a lot easier

for a baby to grab something of that

size off of the tray and hold it

independently than it is something

that's super small around nine months

when they actually start mastering their

pincer grip that's when you can start

offering little bite-sized pieces of

food and smaller foods like green peas

and Cheerios and things like that and if

anything is super slippery again don't

forget the crinkle cutter is really

helpful in creating that texture that

enables the baby to pick it up a lot

more easily the one exception to the

squishy rule is introducing meats to

your baby and in that case you want to

make sure that it's a pretty sizable

piece they're likely not going to be

able to get pieces off of it in the

beginning especially if they don't have

any teeth so stick to the finger sized

pieces of meat or like a whole chicken

drumstick or something like that

this way they can kind of get the taste

and the flavor and kind of experiment

with the texture but they're not ripping

off huge chunks that they could

potentially choke on as far as when to

feed your baby I would say start out

with one meal per day you can make it

either breakfast lunch or dinner

whatever you're most comfortable with or

whenever your baby is in his or her best

mood but just start out with that and

then as baby gets a little bit more

adept at eating and it will be obvious

you'll notice that your baby is actually

taking off chunks of food and chewing

them and swallowing them once your baby

is capable of doing that

you can start kind of upping their

number of meals to two and then three

times a day plus snacks just like the

rest of the family and you can expect a

typical feeding session to take anywhere

from five minutes to twenty five minutes

a half-hour it honestly just depends on

your baby and how interested they are in

the food that you've presented to them

now as far as where to feed your baby

again hopefully he or she is in their

high chair or at their reading table as

I mentioned earlier the baby could also

be just sitting in your lap the

important part is that they are in a

seated position to avoid a choking risk

on the go eating or absent-minded eating

while your child is watching TV

especially when they're first learning

is not very safe and not to mention I

would hope that most parents would want

to teach their child to sit down and

enjoy their meal from its early an age

as possible so you set up your baby's

mealtime area you've cooked the foods

you decided what time of day you're

gonna do it you're ready to dive in the

first thing you need to do is remember

to not give your baby too many choices

you want to put two or three pieces of

the food down on their tray at a time

and allow your baby to choose what

they're going to pick up and put in

their mouth allow your baby to feed him

or herself it's very important that you

never put chunks of food into your

baby's mouth for him or her no matter

how much it looks like they're

struggling you want them to be 100% in

control the reason for that is because

if you put a piece that's too big for

your baby to handle and they're not

ready for it you could accidentally

caused them to choke not to mention self

feeding is kind of the spirit of baby

led weaning so if you're doing it for

your child you're kind of totally

defeating the purpose as soon as your

baby starts to show the dexterity to be

able to bring a utensil to their mouth

on their own and this is going to be

different depending on your baby I know

from experience that my daughter Kylie

was ready to actually start putting a

pre loaded spoonful of yogurt into her

mouth at about seven seven and a half

months some babies might take a little

bit longer others might be ready for it

sooner it's kind of something that you

just have to feel out and see what your

baby is ready for but don't wait to

introduce a fork and spoon just because

you think they're not ready give them an

opportunity to try if you get them

started early and you basically hit

their sweet spot when they're interested

in learning how and they're capable of

it then you will

find quickly that your baby becomes

pretty good at it and I know that by

eleven twelve months just before my

daughter's first birthday she was

entirely independent with using a fork

and a spoon and drinking from an open

Cup all by herself and finally you do

want to make sure that you're giving

your baby a few sips of water with each

of his or her meals not only for a

practice sake but also to ward off

constipation often times when babies

first start solid foods it tends to stop

them up a little bit so having that

little bit of extra water in their diet

again not too much just a few sips here

and there that will kind of help their

body learn to process the fiber a little

bit more easily okay so for the last

part of this video I want to share with

you just some clips of my six-month-old

Mia trying her first week of solid foods

so I will be following the same

progression of foods that I used with my

toddler because we again we're very

successful with it so I see no reason

not to go the same route and because I

am a total nerd about this whole topic

when I was doing this with Kylie I

actually recorded every single food I

fed her exactly how I prepared it I took

videos of Kylie also in case you're

interested in watching those just for

comparison's sake but I will leave a

link to that blog article down below so

if you guys are interested in following

the same progression and learning how to

prepare these foods for your baby all

the information is right there and you

can follow it like a road map

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okay so that's it for this very long but

very important basics of baby led

weaning intro video as I mentioned

earlier this is just the first in a

little mini series of videos that I'm

going to be doing on baby led weaning in

future videos I will be covering how to

drink from an open Cup introducing and

using cutlery with your baby as well as

managing mealtime behavior and just kind

of troubleshooting some of those common

problems that parents run into if you

guys have any questions about something

I mentioned in this video today then

please leave me a comment down below and

I'd love to chat with you guys about it

and again be sure to stay tuned for all

the other videos that are forthcoming in

this series thanks so much for watching

and I'll see you next time bye

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