Switching my first baby from only milk to some solids was super stressful for me. I did a ton of research online, read books, asked other parents and decided that Baby Led Weaning (or BLW) was the best option for us. I was absolutely clueless and learned a lot in the process. I had twins two years later and when it was time for them to start eating solids I was a much more confident and experienced mom and was able to really enjoy the experience.
I’m by no means an expert when it comes to feeding babies, but I am a real working mom with little time to waste (can days have 72 hours please?) who also loves eating, so hopefully my learnings will help other moms feel more confident and empowered when it comes to switching to solids.
Here are the lies I believed about BLW:
That it’s messy
In my experience, any way you feed your baby will be messy. When they are newborns, spit ups happen (I still can vividly remember the feeling of spit-up going down my back after burping my first). If you’ve ever spoon-fed purees to a baby you know they like to get their hands in the puree, blow raspberries with their mouths full and smack your face with dirty hands. Puffs are always enjoyed more if eating from the floor. This is all to say, BLW is not messier than any other way of feeding your babies. Yes, food will be thrown on the floor (highly recommend having a pet for clean-ups, or a Roomba if pets are not your thing). Yes, their faces will look like a Pollock painting, but nothing that a fun bath afterward cannot clean. As for the times when extensive cleaning was not an option, say at the park, restaurant, or on a plane (back when we could ride those safely), I opted for mess-free food. Cheese, olives, cold cuts, pasta without any sauce, you get it.
That it’s scary
As a first time parent, everything and anything can be scary. As a second (and third) you go with it. Yes, you absolutely need to make sure that the food you are serving is cut into safe sizes for babies not to choke. But also, a huge part of BLW is understanding the difference between gagging and choking, and know the latter is less frequent (but of course requires immediate action).
That you have to be a Michelin-star style cook
I joke that I don’t know how to make toast, so no, I’m not an excellent cook. Yes, part of introducing solids is babies experimenting with new textures, flavors and expanding their palate, but it doesn’t need to be anything super complicated. However, the benefits of BLW for us go beyond my cooking skills. We can go out for lunch anywhere and know the babies will be able to eat most things without me having to carry a suitcase of pouches and puffs and utensils for the twins.
That it means your kid will never be picky
Kids go through phases. I remember my shock when my first, who ate everything and anything I put in front of him, first rejected broccoli, which was his absolute favorite food as a baby. It’s totally normal for your super experimental baby to want nuggets and pasta for a bit. The key is to keep offering a variety of options (especially veggies and fruits) and eventually (hopefully? lol) they’ll come back.
You need to cook more
Our kids eat the same as we eat. Does it mean they devour all their veggies without complaining? Ha, no. It just means that the amount of time we spend food prepping is less. For example, if we cook chicken with sweet potatoes and rice, we will all have the same, just cut into different sizes and appropriate portions based on age.
It’s all or nothing
When I first looked up BLW it felt like it had to be all or nothing. Sure, if you are a true purist that’s the case, but we are not all like that. With all my kids we’ve gone with the flow, offered food when we could and had pouches when we needed them (like road trips). It’s absolutely okay to buy store baby food, totally cool to make your own purees, absolutely fine to feed them take out and go you if you cook a three-course meal. So basically, don’t feel overwhelmed if at any point in your journey you have to toss some teething crackers to your screaming baby, because we’ve all been there and it’s more than fine.