Why We LOVE Baby-Led Weaning

I remember being SO excited to start making baby food when Charlie was ready to make the solid foods transition. I got out my saucepans and food processor. I got to work chopping, steaming, and pureeing a variety of fruits and vegetables. Only the best for my little bear cub! I lasted about a week before the novelty of making my own baby food wore off, and we started him on store-bought purees. Two years later, my toddler is as picky as any other kid his age and we are out hundreds of dollars on organic baby puree pouches that we'll never see again.

As Crosby approached the 6-month mark, I knew I wanted to try a different approach because the transition to solids with Charlie was nothing but expensive and stressful! I posted on Facebook to see if any of my Mama friends had tried the "baby-led weaning" method before. I had no idea just how many of my Mom friends had done baby-led weaning and were singing its praises. One friend recommended the book, Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater, and I promptly checked it out from the Ohio Digital Library.

Everything they talked about in the book made SO much sense to me. Once I knew that baby-led weaning was just a fancy term for skipping the purees and offering your baby real food, I was sold. (If you're interested in trying baby-led weaning with your little one, I highly recommend this book!)

I started Crosby off on the easiest and squishiest of foods- bananas and avocados. He took to feeding himself right away and it wasn't long before we were just feeding him off of our dinner plates. Four months later, Crosby eats anything and everything that my 2.5-year old eats and sometimes more!

It's difficult to separate what is a difference in personality between my two boys and what is a result of trying the baby-led weaning approach. But in my (limited) experience, here are some of the pros of BLW:

There were months where I was spending $200/month on baby food pouches for Charlie. Now that we've pared down our grocery spending, that is literally HALF of our monthly grocery budget. That's insane! The cost of BLW? Next to nothing. I buy the same fruits and vegetables that I would give to Charlie or incorporate into our family meals and that's what I give to Crosby. No extra spending necessary!

Crosby is ten times better of an eater than Charlie has ever been. Like I said, I don't know how much of that is just a difference in their personalities. However, Crosby has tried and eaten everything I've ever given him. Charlie would often refuse or spit out the purees he was given. On the other hand, Crosby has the freedom to eat as much or as little as he wants/needs. I think giving him that independence to explore new foods for himself, rather than forcing them on him, has been HUGE in our solid foods-transition success!

I don't think Crosby has developed any faster than other babies his age. But I do think being able to feed himself has definitely aided in him learning to use the "pincer" grasp and his hand-eye coordination, in general.

In the interest of full disclosure, there is a con. BLW is messy. I pretty much scrapped the idea of a bib a long time ago. Now I just let Crosby eat in his diaper because he needs a bath immediately after dinner 97% of the time.

That being said, feeding a baby is pretty much a mess no matter which method you try, so I barely consider this a "con." Using the baby-led weaning method this time around has made my Mama life ten times easier. I'm constantly singing its praises and telling everyone I know how much we've loved our experience. If my story can make just one Mama's life easier, it's totally worth it!

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Have you ever considered baby-led weaning? What questions do you have?

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