Baby-led Weaning: A Real Food Approach to Feeding Your Baby

Baby-led weaning is the practice of trusting your baby’s innate sense of hunger, of want, of self-knowledge and of self-limitation. Baby-led weaning offers parents and their children a natural, relaxed approach to the introduction of solid foods and the eventual cessation of breastfeeding. Instead of relying on prepared, commercial baby foods or even homemade purees, mothers and fathers simply introduce their babies to natural, wholesome real food from the start – relying on their babies to self-regulate and lead the way.

Baby-led Weaning: Our Family’s Experience

At six and a half months, my exclusively breastfed son seemed to take an interest in food and exhibited other signs of readiness. So, like any dutifully crunchy mother holding true to her naturalistic ideals, I began preparing mashes and purees like a madwoman. I mashed avocados and bananas into a slick, lumpy green goop. I blended roast butternut squash and spooned it neatly into ice cube trays – two tablespoons, a perfect serving! I pureed blueberries until they’d stain your skin a vibrant purple if you just looked at them the wrong way. When it came time to feeding my son, we’d stretch out a blanket or sheet on the floor, sit him in its center and start spoon-feeding him from the little pots of colorful slop I’d so dutifully prepared.  If I knew then what I now know about first foods, I’d have started him on easier to digest and more nutrient-dense foods like egg yolk and liver which, due to their easy-to-assimilate nutrients, make for some of the best first foods.

It was a disaster.

He’d laugh and giggle as I spooned blueberry puree into his mouth, sending bits of purple flying. He’d dig his hands into the butternut squash and paint his torso a vivid orange. And, occasionally, he’d grimace or gag as I’d plop mashed avocado into his mouth with a spoon. Within a few days, spoon-feeding my baby boy became a power struggle (have I explained to you how extraordinarily obstinate my child is, and was for the get-go?); he wanted to do it himself, dammit. And why shouldn’t he? After all, I certainly wouldn’t appreciate someone spooning strange goopy mashes into my mouth.

It was about this time that I stumbled across the concept of baby-led weaning, an approach to solid foods that simply made sense. Rather than my spoon-feeding our son, we’d simply follow his own interests and cues and allow him to feed himself real food from the start. No more purees. No more mashes. No more bits of blueberry shooting like little purple missiles from a grimacing mouth.  (Learn more about how I’ve nourished my child.)

A baby-led approach starts at the breast.

Baby-lead weaning is a natural approach to solid foods and to feeding your baby in general, and it starts at the breast. When you breastfeed your child, you rely on your baby to let you know when he or she is hungry and you allow your baby to self-regulate his or her eating patterns – feeding your baby on demand. This level of innate parent-child connection and your trust in your baby’s ability to self-regulate based on his or her own hunger is the essence and foundation of baby-led weaning.

Feeding by bottle presents challenges to the baby-led approach, which is not to say it cannot be a nurturing method of feeding your baby or that baby-led weaning will not be successful for mothers who must bottle feed their babies for whatever reason. Bottles drip into the mouths of babies making it difficult for babies to self-regulate intake (a critical aspect of the baby-led approach). As I returned to work full-time at 6 weeks post-partum, my son was fed expressed breast milk by bottle and baby-led weaning still worked for our family.  Researchers into baby-led weaning strongly encourage breastfeeding as the foundation for this unique, natural approach to the introduction of solid foods which is not to say that you cannot follow a baby-led approach to solids if you are bottle-feeding your baby; indeed, many mothers have successfully employed both methods.

Signs of Readiness

In many cases, parents introduce solid foods to their babies far too early – with some parents feeding industrially processed rice cereal as early as four weeks. Others rely on stated dates and ages for the introduction of solid foods – thinking they must start solids at six months, no earlier and no later.

We all know that different children reach milestones at different ages. Sure, most babies take their first steps at around a year old, but some will take them as early as eleven months and others as late as eighteen months. Why should a child’s readiness for solid foods be any different? Instead, watch your baby for signs that he or she may be ready to try solid foods.  Babies do not need to exhibit all signs before they may be ready for solid foods, but growing interest in family meal time and the loss of the tongue-thrust reflex are very good indicators.  Most babies exhibit these signs at about six months, with some exhibiting readiness as early as four months and others exhibiting readiness slightly later.  Avoiding the introduction of solid foods past signs of readiness which typically occur around six months may result in pickiness in toddlerhood and caloric intake that is too low for the developing child; you really should trust your baby and follow the signs that he or she is ready.

Signs for readiness for solid foods include the following1:

  • Your baby shows interest in food and family meal times.
  • Your baby can sit without support.
  • Your baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex (pushing solid foods out of the front of the mouth).
  • Your baby is ready and willing to chew (though he or she may not have many teeth).
  • Your baby can pick up items with the thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp) as opposed to using the whole hand (palmar grasp).

The Role of Solid Foods in the First Year

The role of solid foods in the first year is not about calories and macronutrients like carbohydrate, protein and fat, which is not to say that the nutrient content of your baby’s foods is unimportant.  Breast milk serves this role – providing ample nutrients and wholesome fats, particularly if the mother is well-nourished.  For women who are unable to breastfeed, either by physical limitations or lack of social and medical support, donor milk from a well-nourished mother or a high-quality formula should provide the bulk of nourishment.  Some who have suffered these difficulties and cannot find adequate donor milk choose to make their own formula, and none take that choice lightly.

Instead, the role of solid foods is to introduce your baby to varying flavors, aromas and textures of food.  Something that’s not accomplished when you rely exclusively or even largely on mashes and purees.  With baby-led weaning, children typically skip the mashes and purees, cereals and classic baby foods and start directly on the foods their parents consume (provided their parents consume nutrient-dense real foods) – enjoying the full range of textures, flavors and nuances of food from the very beginning.  However, for some families, allowing the baby to self-feed from soft mashes and purees is an effective tool in the beginning.

The Baby-led Approach to Weaning

The key to baby-led weaning is to enjoy a relaxed approach – know that your baby will receive adequate nutrition through nursing.  You don’t need to purchase expensive prepackaged baby foods, nor equipment for making them at home; rather, simply prepare real food from wholesome natural ingredients and serve them to your family – baby included.  Let your baby pick up, mash, taste, sample and explore the foods your family would normally eat during regular meal times.  Be vigilant in watching your baby explore foods, but do not be too concerned about choking as babies are thought not to be capable of moving food from the front of the mouth to the back until they learn to chew – an evolutionary fail-safe, if you will2.

Tips for Baby-led Weaning3

  • Do NOT serve small, tiny pieces of food.
  • Serve large chunks that can be easily grasped.
  • Make  sure your baby is capable of sitting on his or her own and is well-supported.  If your baby cannot sit on his or her own but still expresses other signs of readiness including the loss of the tongue-thrust reflex and is interested in meal time, you may wish to provide your baby with purees and mashes from which to choose.
  • Offer your baby the same foods you’re eating so that your baby feels included in the family meal.
  • Know that your baby may not actually eat any of the food presented; rather, baby-led weaning is about exploration.  He or she will eventually learn to eat.
  • Don’t hurry or rush your baby – after all, do you like to be rushed while eating?
  • Make sure you only offer wholesome, natural foods (no added refined salts, flours, sugars, oils).
  • It will be messy, be prepared and relax a bit.
  • Steer away from foods that are clearly dangerous for young persons (peanuts, chips, popcorn etc).
  • Steer away from highly allergenic foods like egg white and nuts as well as those foods that are contraindicated for babies like honey.
  • Talk to your baby’s health care provider about this approach to weaning.

Traditional First Foods for Babies

First foods should be nutrient-dense.  Grains tend to be difficult to digest for small digestive tracts – so avoid introducing them until your child is at least 18 months old.  Iron-fortified cereal is not necessary first food (learn more about iron deficiency in the breastfed baby).  The Weston A Price Foundation recommends a mixture of liver and egg yolk as a good first food which is very dense in nutrients.  Oceanic tribes typically started babies on liver, fish and grubs.  Polynesians started babies on breadfruit and coconut cream.  Japanese mothers traditionally started their babies on a thin gruel of milled rice, fish, fish roe and mashed pumpkin.   In Latin America, traditional foods often include liver and well-cooked chayote in broth. In western societies, first foods often include liver, roasted bone marrow and soft cooked egg yolks.  In some cultures, mothers prechew foods into a fine pulp before feeding babies.  The take away is that all societies fed their babies nutrient-dense traditional foods, and what the parents also consumed.

Resources for Baby-led Weaning

  • In her book Real Food for Mother & Baby, author Nina Planck discusses her experiences with the baby-led approach to solids at length.
  • In Baby-led Weaning, author and researcher Gill Rapley provides a solid look at the practice of baby-led weaning.
  • In the article Including Baby at the Family Table, nutritionist Jen Allbriton discusses traditional first foods for babies and how to include your baby at meal time.

When to Stop Breastfeeding

Remember, for the first year of life breast milk should be the primary source of nutrition, and you should continue to nurse your child until he or she reaches the age of two at the very least.  Continue to trust your child, allowing him or her to self-wean when he or she is ready to do so.  Self-weaning rarely occurs before the age of two and usually occurs between the ages of three and four with some children exhibiting a desire to nurse longer.  My son self-weaned at 3 ½ years of age.  Child-led weaning is a natural extension of baby-led solids – as it employs your full trust in your child’s ability to recognize and respond to his or her own needs.  By nursing until your child is ready to wean, you know that you’ve fully satisfied your child’s need for the nurturing and nutrition provided by mother’s milk.

Photo Credit.

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What people are saying

  1. Jeanie says

    My daughter does this with her son. It has worked perfectly well – the picture on the top of the page looks just like him with food all over the place – it’s perfect! He will eat anything and everything – no problems. What a wonderful way to introduce solids. I’ve linked this post to her, so hopefully she will also become a reader and subscriber. Thanks so much!

  2. says

    This is my kind of post! Breastfeeding and real food. Wow – thank you! I really like that you bring up that iron-fortified cereal is NOT a necessary first food. What did babies eat before that food was invented? REAL food! Is real food pureed? No!
    Anyway, I’m just so glad you wrote this. I will definitely send this tweeting for you. The only thing I would mention that I don’t think you did, that while it is important to wait for baby’s readiness for solids, it is recommended that babies don’t try solids before the age of 6 months. Even if they seem ready a baby’s digestive system is not ready for anything but breast milk. My girls tried their first solids at 6 months but then weren’t really interested in it until 9 months or so.

  3. says

    This is great! I did this with my second daughter. She showed interested in food around 7 to 8 months, but she didn’t start eating them till she was about a year. This is a great post!! Thanks so much for writing this up. LOVE LOVE the picture up there!!!!!!!!

  4. says

    Superb post, Jenny! Great information and beautiful antecdotes.
    Both my girls were exclusively breastfed for the first year and self-weaned after 3 yrs. I took alot of flak sometimes, but am so grateful that I listened to my instincts.
    Thank you for this fabulous website.
    Have a great week end,
    Annica

  5. says

    This is a beautiful post. It is extremely well written. I was thrilled to find out about this when my son was an infant and we are practicing baby-led weaning. He’s now 2.5. He loves almost all food and is never afraid to try anything new. I’m going to share this article with lots more new moms!

  6. Sandra Mort says

    Excellent post. Other than child led weaning, this is how we’ve done things with all four of our kids.

    CLW always seemed like a great goal but I haven’t managed it yet. With my first, I got impatient with the gradual weaning process and cold turkeyed her at 4y9m. My second child was more cooperative with the process and we mutually agreed that he would stop at 5y6m. My 4y9m son is now almost completely weaned, only asking to nurse once or twice a month, and usually at inappropriate times where I have to say no. My 25 month old still nuses constantly :) Maybe she’ll clw, it could happen.

  7. April says

    This is how we did it with our second child and she is the better eater/less picky of my two kids. There was so much pressure with our first to do cereal and bottled pureed food (‘course I learned a lot and have come a long way since then!). DD was practically diving onto the table at 5 months to get food. DS probably would of exclusively nursed until he was a year but I didn’t know better nor did I know anyone who nursed at that time. Sad, eh? They both BF’d until they were 4.5yo.

  8. Jeanmarie says

    Hi Jenny,
    I never had the chance to be a mom (except to 3 dogs and 3 cats), but if I were, I’d certainly follow your advice! This sounds like a wonderful way to have stress-free, nourishing mealtimes with a baby or toddler.

  9. says

    I recently gave birth to my first child and I must that although it’s hard work it’s the most beautiful experience one can have. Since this is my first child I found this, as well as your other posts, very useful to read.

  10. angela says

    With my son, who is 13 months, I do this and didn’t know it had a name. Its so funny how now there are names for what I kind of considered to be common sense ways of doing things, like “co-sleeping”, “child led weaning”, and “infant pottying”. I guess you have to give common sense approach to things a definition to counter all of the over thought out ways of doing things.

  11. Pippi says

    I loved doing this with my daughter. So many parents I knew were so stressed out about solids. I just offered her healthy food and if she ate it, great. If not, no big deal. The only down side was that she would not eat anything unless she put it in her mouth herself. That got a bit messy if we were away from home. I’d watch all these other babies dutifully eating banana off a spoon while my daughter smooshed it into her hair :) Thank goodness that stage didn’t last forever!

  12. says

    Great post! I forget where exactly I came across the BLW idea, but I plan on doing it with our little guy, due to arrive mid-June.
    Honestly the appeal to me at first was that I don’t have to puree a bunch of food all the time, which was my plan originally as I didn’t want to feed my child food out of a jar that has been cooked to death and looks and smells gross! It just seems like such a natural extension from breastfeeding and I’m actually quite excited about doing it with our boy!

  13. Jenny says

    Pippi -

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with BLW.  It has been one of the most sincere and pleasurable acts of parenting for me.  So natural and, in many ways, stress-free and I know my son’s voracious appetite for all foods unusual is related to the method.  Sure, like you mentioned, it’s messy – but it’s worth it!  Babies are supposed to be messy, you know?

    Thanks for commenting -

    Jenny

  14. says

    Love this post! With my second son, I was letting him eat spaghetti at 9 months. He was ready for it. He eats pretty much what we eat for dinner now — he eats better than his 4 year old brother, in fact. Since he also hates bibs, I just put an old t-shirt over him and let him make the mess.

  15. Kate says

    I enjoyed the post. I think the best part of BLW is allowing babies to tell us what they need… funny thing is my now-20-month-old was telling us that he wanted purees, lots of them, as colourful as possible! We were “waiting” until he showed more readiness and one day decided to offer him some banana because he seemed hungry and didn’t want to nurse again. He at the whole thing, and by the next week was insisting on 3 meals a day.

  16. Shelley says

    I did this with all 5 of my children. The oldest child is now a healthy strapping 20 year old with no food allergier OR hang-ups from being nursed until he was 3 1/2. 20 years ago, child led weaning was VERY strange, but through La Leche League I was surrounded with like minded friends and we all supported eachother in our lifestyle choices. My youngest is 5 and weaned at 4 and I am so so glad I introduced them to solids this way and nursed them all until they weaned.

  17. Tanya Mas says

    Great article! I am mom to a wonderful 21 month old who is still breastfeeding, I get lots of pressure from those around me telling me I should starting weaning before he turns 2. For me child led weaning makes sense and I will encourage it for as long as I can.

  18. lisa says

    This is exactly what I was looking for. I was doing this out of necessity, my daughter (1yr old), wouldn’t eat baby food or cereal so I started sharing my food with her, its less stress for us both. Thankfully she loves nursing and is still getting most of her nutrients from breast milk.

  19. Adam says

    Thanks for such a comprehensive post. We have done this with our second child, unfortunately we did not learn about it in time for our first.

  20. Janebeth says

    Every baby is an individual and it is so satisfying as a parent to find what clicks for your kid!

    However, I think you’re doing a bit of a disservice for parents of those babies who do like mush and purees by saying they need “expensive prepackaged baby foods” or special “equipment for making them at home.” All you need to make a puree is a pot, water, and a fork. A colander for steaming fruits or vegetables, a whisk, some cheesecloth for straining if you or your baby feel strongly about smooth texture, and a food mill are also helpful and inexpensive, but not necessary. The amount of labor involved can be numbered in minutes. I think letting your children, even your wee babies, see you routinely making things from scratch is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids!

  21. Tas' says

    Interesting post. Both my boys, now 18 and almost 16, did this for themselves. They refused to eat anything mushy from a spoon and preferred things they could hold and suck/chew. I found much later that they both have Asperger’s Syndrome and have/had problems with the textures in their mouths. The older one will now eat absolutely anything and everything (but is not overweight) and the younger one is still very picky with food and still doesn’t like mushy/sloppy foods.

  22. Angela says

    Are you freaking nuts…… breastfed until 3…….you must have very rich husbands who can afford to let you stay at home. Plus without actually eating anything solid my baby will not sleep through the night. Good for all of you that this works for but in my opinion this is a bit extreme.

    • Jenny says

      Don’t be nonsensical, Angela. I went back to work full-time when my son was 6 weeks old, nursed him exclusively until he was 6.5 months and he self-weaned at 3.5, the biologically normal age for weaning. The health of my child was a priority for me, so I made it work.

      What’s extreme is parents who worry about the effects of a can of tuna on their unborn babies, but have no problem feeding their babies endocrine-disrupting soy-based formulas once they’re out of the womb. What’s extreme is parents who feed babies only 6 weeks old rice cereals even though they’re nutritionally worthless.

      Get a clue.

      • says

        Good point, you don’t have to be a SAHM to breastfeed…

        But in addition to that, you also don’t have to have a rich husband to be a SAHM. We’re not rich… but with careful budgeting (and no we’re not on gov assistance either, not bashing anyone who is but we’re not) it is very doable to live on one income… In fact we have too because I would be paying more for daycare and all those extra expenses than I’d be making. We looked into it at one point…

        And babies aren’t necessarily supposed to sleep through the night either. If you get one who does, that’s great… but its perfectly normal for them to wake.. and giving solids before bedtime more often causes them to have tummy upsets (esp if done too early) which equal less sleep. If that doesn’t happen with your child (Angela) that’s great, but its not the norm.

        • says

          That’s exactly right! My kiddo didn’t really sleep through the night (and I mean sleeping through the night by 6-hour stretches) until he was about 10 or 11 months old. Co-sleeping really helps to reduce the sleep disruption of normal infant waking patterns.

  23. Sarah says

    Biologically, most mammals nurse their young for the same/ close to the same length of time as gestation. So, for us humans, it makes sense that babies would want to wean around nine or ten months old. After they get teeth, I feel like that’s nature’s way of telling us all that they’re ready to start chowing down! I don’t see anything wrong with nursing your child for a long as they feel the need to, but I’ll be honest–I do find it a bit weird once the kid can talk.
    Also, I don’t think it’s fair to say that babies can’t experience “real” food when they eat purees. Humans have been mashing and pureeing food since the cave days using simple tools and fire. To say that “real” foods aren’t mashed and pureed is silly–they’ve grown naturally from nutrient-rich soils, and mashing foods doesn’t take out any of the nutrition at all (and neither does pureeing if you do it properly). Besides, it’s good for babies to learn how to swallow squashed foods so that they don’t choke on larger foods.
    We should all understand that what works for one baby or family might not for another, and that what we put in our baby’s minds (love, kindness, tolerance, acceptance) will end up being just as important to them as what we put in their bellies–be it squashed foods or boob juice! As mommies, we should support one another instead of being condescending of other mommy’s ideals or decisions.

    • Amy says

      Not sure where you are getting your data. Non-human primates nurse for approximately six times the length of gestation. Weaning is also tied to the eruption of molars (not the front teeth), and weight gain. This puts a comparable age of weaning for humans between 2.5-4.5 years.

      Check this out: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1134/is_n9_v106/ai_20135603/

      I agree with your point that families have to determine what works for them, I just take issue with your “biological” claim.

  24. Kristen says

    Thanks for this post. I started doing some research tonight because I was worried about my 6.5 month daughter – we tried purees since the day she turned 6 months, but she refuses to eat anything. If she does get anything in her mouth, she makes a face and spits it out. Glad to know she’s not the only baby like this – for some reason, I envisioned her squealing with delight as she tasted her first mouthful of butternut squash. I’m exclusively breastfeeding and I’m glad to know she’ll be getting everything she needs from that and that there’s no rush for her to accept solids :)

  25. says

    Thanks for such a great write up. I just wrote an article about this too. My baby never did take to “baby food” even after months of daily effort on my part! I finally started giving him large pieces of food (soft fruits, crackers, etc) and he finally started eating!

  26. Nora says

    I like the sound of this, and want to try it, but what about food allergies? I thought it was supposed to be best to avoid certain common allergens the 1st year – wheat, eggs, cows’ milk, fish, citrus, nuts. I was so careful about that with my firstborn, but maybe I didn’t need to be. Seems to be a controversial topic among nutritionists; I keep finding conflicting reports about this through the AAP.
    I’ve only recently and very slowly started offering my babies solid foods. Even thought they’re older (9mo twins, 7.5mo adjusted for prematurity), this is new to me. My babies have teeth, so they bite little pieces and gag on solid food quite often. I keep trying anyway, a chunk of banana here, a piece of steamed broccoli there, and try not to worry too much about the gagging. They seem to tolerate purees quite a bit better, so I offer that too. Soup!

  27. says

    Great post! We are doing BLW with my DD and we’ve heard all the complaints and concerns from family – she will choke, she needs the spoon… etc, etc, etc! BLW is the natural way to introduce solids – at least in my opinion. I can’t teach her how to use her tounge to move food around after all! That is up to her!

    Heather
    mothersmilk101.com

  28. Eileen Murphy says

    This approach can be easily used with a formula/bottle fed child. Not everyone is able to breastfeed and should not be made to feel like she is a failure. Things sometimes happen. If you read any true research on the subject it expressly states that it can work with bottle -fed babies. Also, bottles don’t just drip into a child’s’ mouth – unless you don’t know how to purchase the correct nipples. Also, you can do the same “on-demand” feeding as breast-feeding. It’s people like you who make mothers feel bad for no reason. Breast is best but life happens and it isn’t always possible. My baby will be just as self-assure and happy as yours but less judgmental on things that are out of her control.

  29. Amanda B says

    I admire all of you who have the patience to nurse your babies for so long and to co-sleep. With my son, I just could not handle the sleepless nights and I had trouble with my breastmilk supply after the first 6 months. I did sleep training very soon after he was born and he is THE BEST SLEEPER EVER!! He’s been sleeping in his own crib in his own room since he was a few weeks old. He takes very regular naps and never fusses when he’s put down for a nap or for bedtime. He sleeps through the night without any problems and he’s a very loving and affectionate boy. I also started with the jarred baby foods at 6 months (this was before I knew about WAPF). He is an excellent eater and he eats just about everything I make for the family. I do just about everything from scratch following as many WAPF principles as I can and he just loves it.
    So, while I do agree with you that child-led weaning is a healthy approach to feeding your child, it’s not necessarily “the right” approach for every parent and child. Hopefully when I have my next child, I’ll have the patience (and a better supply of breastmilk) to breastfeed my baby much longer. Thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking post!

  30. hong an says

    My daughter ate so good before going to day-care! I meant she was very interested in eating with whole family and our food. But after 1 month going to day-care, she seems forget how to chew the family’s food and likely more picky!! :-( How to help her now??? Please help me if you’d overcome this problem. Thanks in advance!!

    • Amanda B says

      Soups, stews, and casseroles go over really well with my son, plus it’s the perfect season for making them. He’s not the best vegetable eater but he loves them in soups. I think part of it is a texture thing and part of it is a taste thing. With soups you get the best of both: soft, easy to chew veggies and lots of flavor. Make sure to use plenty of good fat (bacon fat makes everything taste better! ) and some flavorful homemade bone broth.
      When my son is being picky and not eating, I let him sit there with his food for a while and encourage him by showing him how much I’m enjoying it. Sometimes all he needs to know is that he’s not getting anything else for dinner and he’ll make an effort at what’s in front of him. If he still won’t eat it, I’ll give him some plain yogurt and maybe a banana and that’s it. He won’t starve but he’ll be plenty hungry for the next meal :-)
      As for getting your daughter to chew, it’ll take some patience and help from you. Sit next to her and gently remind her to chew her food. Model the behavior you want her to have at the table. Chew your food slowly and deliberately and tell her what you’re doing, “See how mommy chews her food? Can you chew like that too?”

    • Karen says

      I think the issue is probably that the foods that your baby is getting at daycare have hidden sugars in them. sugar can really mess up your taste buds, and lots of processed foods have hidden sugar. sugar can also leave you wanting more sugar (like a drug) and not wanting healthy foods. just my opinion, but you may want to check into specifically what they are feeding your baby.

  31. says

    Hi there! Glad to hear you’re all getting into BLW! May I humbly suggest the book I wrote with Tracey Murkett, “Baby-led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow up a Happy and Confident Eater”, published by The Experiment, as a useful resource? This is the US version of “Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food” (published in the UK in 2008), which was the original and first book devoted to BLW. I have Nina Planck’s book and it’s great, but if you want more info specifically on BLW, our book is the place to get it.
    Best wishes, Gill

  32. says

    “My son self-weaned at 3 ½ years of age. Child-led weaning is a natural extension of baby-led solids – as it employs your full trust in your child’s ability to recognize and respond to his or her own needs. By nursing until your child is ready to wean, you know that you’ve fully satisfied your child’s need for the nurturing and nutrition provided by mother’s milk.”

    YES! Katie weaned last October – just two months shy of her fourth birthday. I am so grateful for the sense of completion we both have from the experience and am thrilled that despite some initial struggles my son and I are on the same journey. I know this is an old post, but someone linked to it from the Nourishing Our Children wall and I just wanted to chime in.

    • Sara Gordon says

      When liver is referenced above as a traditional first food, does it matter which type of animal it comes from? Any of you Mommas tried liver as a first food?
      Thanks!

  33. Sarah says

    My 7 month old has absolutely no interest in food of any kind. He cries and turns his head when I try to feed him. I thought maybe if I put a touch of coconut oil on my breast he would get a little more fat to sleep through the night. He gagged enough to throw up right then and there. I tried soft boiled egg yolks and four hours later he vomited them up, kept throwing up for and hour, slept through the night and then threw up again in the morning (he has done that twice). I pureed a young thai coconut and he vomited right then and there. He never spits up normally. I have decided to give him a little more time, since he has no interest, but do you have any more advise for me?

  34. Colleen says

    You say that babies can’t move food from the front of the mouth to the back until they are able to chew, and not to worry too much about choking. That it is an “evolutionary fail safe”. Might I submit that telling people not to worry about their baby choking is quite a reckless recommendation? May I also say, “evolutionary”? Please tell me your evidence that babies evolved. Is it really that ludicrous to think that babies were created as the magnificent beings that they are, right from the start, without the need to “evolve”? For goodness sake people just can’t seem to remember that evolution is a theory, not a law.

      • Colleen says

        Theory: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
        Law: a statement of an order or relation of phenomena that so far as is known is invariable under the given conditions

        • Colleen says

          Believing in Darwin’s prophecy that innumerable transitional forms must have existed, and if found, would provide the “missing link” needed to support his theory, evolutionists have been searching for fossils and digging for missing links since the middle of the 19th century all over the world. Despite their best efforts, no transitional forms have yet been uncovered. All the fossils unearthed in excavations showed that contrary to the beliefs of evolutionists, life appeared on earth all of a sudden and fully-formed. Trying to prove their theory, the evolutionists have instead unwittingly caused it to collapse.

          • Colleen says

            Having said all that, I did enjoy you’re article. I just object to people stating claims about evolution as if they were indeed fact, when they clearly are not.

  35. Mack Ivey says

    I loved this article! And am excited to see my 5mo grow into this. My question…what if I get pregnant before she weans?? I’ve been reading that my nursing babe will get the most nutrients, then baby in the womb and then me. I don’t want my growing baby inside to not get as well nourished and I don’t want to be totally depleated of nutrients either.

    Also, I don’t prefer to have kids 3-4 years apart. Should I want to for the sole purpose of bf for as long as they will???

  36. Kasi says

    My baby is a little more than six months old. She doesn’t have the pincer grasp yet, so trying avocado and bananas last weekend wasn’t a success. We’ll keep trying every week or so. But how does one do the soft-boiled egg yolk, if you’re aimiing for something easily graspable?

  37. Evgeniya says

    Hi, my son is 7 month old; i started him on solids at 2 weeks before 6 month with baby rice and purees. All was fine until week 3, when he just refused to be fed, wanting to do it himself. I was happy about it and introduced some steamed carrot sticks, roasted parsnip sticks and so on. Again, first it went fine, he was using his bottom teeth to bite off and then trying to chew, BUT a week or so ago he started to chock on whatever he was eating at every meal. It became quite scary to see your child to change in colour and vomit every time he ate something. So, i went back to purees, because even thought i have to trick him for each spoon to go in, at least it safe.
    Perhaps I am doing something wrong? Would be grateful for any suggestions.

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