There are two basic approaches to introducing foods to your babies: the traditional method, where you offer purees to start with, and the baby-led method. With Marlie, i made purées and enjoyed introducing food the traditional way and Then with Jax, I chose to do the the baby-led method (BLW) because as the second child I figured it would be nice to just feed him what we were eating. I had a great experience with both methods, and they both have their positives and negatives and I wanted to share my experiences with you guys.
Like every aspect of raising a child, there are so many opinions out there and it can be difficult to decide what is best. This is a summary of my experience with both methods. Of course, everyone is different, as is every baby. There is no “right” way— What is great for one person may not be for another.
Here we go!
I started both kiddos with rice cereal at 5 months, but then gave Jax unsalted rice cakes that he could hold and chew himself. For Marlie, at 6 months I began to make her purees and my freezer quickly became packed with silicon trays of cubes of frozen foods. I would cook up several recipes (usually from babyfoode.com) and introduce different foods every few days. I truly enjoyed doing this and it was a lot of fun trying new things. I normally steamed all of her veggies and fruits and then added them to the blender (I used the hand immersion blender) . I liked how the recipes I used had a range of spices, herbs and food types because I swear that is why Marlie loves (almost) everything we make.
When we would go out, I would take 2 of her frozen cubes and put them in here glass containers and bring along spoons. It was a process and I had to remember to clean out the jars when we got back. It wasn’t horrible, and if you have kids, you know you will do anything you can if you think it is the best. I also want to note that I made her foods because I enjoyed it and it didn’t stress me out. You don’t have to make your babies food, but I found a method that worked for us and it was all we knew.
Marlie is a phenomenal eater and will eat almost anything I give her. Why I am mentioning this? Well because the baby lead weaning method states that it will make them “less picky” eaters and Marlie did the traditional method and she is still a very adventurous eater so don’t think if you go the traditional route that you won’t have a more picky eater.
I didn’t chose to do BLW with Jax in hopes he would be a better eater, I truly chose this method because I was very interested in it and it seems much less time consuming than making purées. Because now having a toddler AND a baby, I didn’t want to have to make food for her and then purees for him.
I knew how much Marlie was eating
It was a lot less messy
I could use jars/pouches when out and about.
More leafy greens in purees
Preparing separate purees was time-consuming
Having to spoon feed Marlie at meal time made it harder to enjoy a meal together
Marlie learned to swallow and not chew
I started Jax on solids at the recommended age of six months. I offered him softer finger foods for the first week but by week two he was really just eating what we all were as a family. We started with sliced avocado, then roasted sweet potato sticks, then ripe pear, etc, I loved following @babyleadweanteam and getting inspired by her! Truly amazing and I learned a lot.
It was no extra work for me to make food for Jax because we roast veggies and cook well balanced meals each week. At first, I was really scared that he was going to choke, but I soon learned that the gagging and noises are okay and they are just learning to chew. He got it really quickly and every week got so much better. He was all about grabbing the food and putting it in his mouth and literally chomping it all up with his gums.
Baby Led Weaning has been great for our family this second time around because I am not having to take the time to puree foods and then spoon feed him. Some say its hard to get as much nutrients using the BLW method, but I used smoothies as a way to get in leafy greens and who doesn’t love a good smoothie. I did find it hard to give Jax meats, as I pureed them for Marlie, but I got more confident and we made it work.
Jax is such an independent eater
Easy to prep because all eating the same thing
Learned how to chew
Less time consuming
I can eat at the same time because he feeds himself
It is super messy
Scary at first watching gagging and afraid he might choke
Wastes a lot of food
Hard to have others be comfortable with feeding him at first
I will say that both methods were good and I am not pushing anyone to do either, just simply sharing the pros and cons to each. It was super interesting seeing the difference between both of the kiddos! We are all learning as we go and chose what we think is best. Like I always say, where is the motherhood manual? Haha wouldn’t that be nice if there was one to help us.
All in all, If we were to have another little (not likely haha), I would probably do a mixture of both methods. I loved the BLW so much, but also the convenience factor of the pouches, is nice with the traditional puree method. There is no perfect way and finding what works for you and your littles is perfect. I am thankful that my kiddos enjoy food (they get it from their mama) and I love getting to see them try new foods and teaching them how to fuel their bodies right!