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Baby Led Weaning

How one mom’s power struggle with her puréee-resistant baby led to a whole new food adventure.

Baby Led Weaning

Never did I imagine I would be a mom that bypassed purees to give my child finger foods as her first solid. When I first heard of baby led weaning from a fellow mom who was experimenting with the method on her six-month old, it sounded like a fad – a fad that I certainly was not going to follow. It seemed dangerous, unsuccessful and against the norm. Purees seemed like a natural progression to solids; after all, I never knew a baby who didn’t love purees . . . well, until my baby.

At seven months old, it was time for my exclusively breastfed daughter Emory to try her first helping of pureed food. Staying true to my naturalistic ways, I was ready to become a pureed food chef for my new eater. I researched recipes, pumped and stored breastmilk to add into the puree, and stocked up on fresh, organic produce. I dutifully mashed and blended and mashed some more, but all my efforts were massively rejected by my strong-willed seven month old.

Her first pureed food was avocado. She ate a little but mainly swatted the spoon or ducked and dodged my every attempt to get the spoon in her mouth. I knew that swatting was normal for babies as they adapt to eating solid foods, so I persistently attempted to spoon a serving of homemade goop into her mouth. But after wasting numerous batches of bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas and apple sauce, and months of time watching Emory grimace at the sight of a spoon, I realized spoon-feeding Emory had become a power struggle, and one that I lost...to a seven month old.

Totally discouraged and feeling defeated, I scrambled for advice from every mom friend I had. Which led me back to my friend who suggested Baby Led Weaning. The process won me over; it made sense. Rather than me dictating Emory’s every bite with a spoonful of mash, I could follow her interests to feed herself. Baby led weaning is a method of forgoing baby purees in exchange for finger foods to complement your baby’s diet of breastmilk or formula and allowing your baby to self-feed from the start. It’s intended to create a relaxed and natural introduction to solid foods by trusting your baby’s innate sense of hunger, want, self-awareness and self-limitation.

My puree-making days were done, and I started simply slicing strips of vegetables and fruits for Emory to munch. I had the most success with cucumbers and apples. Then her palate started to bud, and she was able to try whatever we were eating at mealtime.

Although Emory was a selective eater, and still is two years later, baby led weaning calmed the parent-versus-baby power struggle that spoon-feeding had created. Allowing her to have more control over her own consumption made her more willing to eat. That was much better than constantly coaxing our dodging, swatting, spitting baby to gobble down my colorful purees.

The approach to solid food with baby led weaning: The success of baby led weaning is contributed to the relaxed approach it takes to starting solids. Letting your baby pick up, mash, taste and explore the foods you are eat during mealtime is the process, as simple as that. A big concern is the possibility of choking on non-pureed foods at such a young age, but Baby Led Weaning suggests that babies are not able to move food from the front of the mouth to the back until they learn to chew. Baby led weaning is attributed to jumpstarting the development of oral motor skills like chewing and swallowing food.

Helpful hints to the baby-led weaning method: You would want to follow much of the same advice for introducing purees, but there are a few other strategies to get you through this adventure.

  • Talk with your child’s pediatrician before giving your child solid food.
  • Make sure your baby is fully capable of sitting up on his or her own.
  • It will get messy, so be prepared. A drop cloth under the highchair is very helpful.
  • Offer the baby the same food you are eating at meal time.
  • Do not serve small, tiny pieces of food. Large chunks can be easily grasped and more manageable for the baby.
  • Know that it may take a while for you baby to actually eat the food. Baby led weaning is about exploration and learning the process of eating.
  • Relax and enjoy eating along with your child.

Baby led weaning was never a method I planned to use to feed Emory. But thankfully, it got me through a very rocky initial introduction to solids. Knowing the strong-willed personality of my now toddler, I should have known she would never let me force a spoon of goopy vegetables in her mouth. Now my second child is six months old and approaching the solid-food stage, and I am sure he will provide me with a completely different experience. Here goes to my new adventure!

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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