- Hila Bahari
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Starting solids the “right way” or Is there a right way to start solids?
Are you trying to decide which method to use when starting solids with your little one? A question that I get asked a lot is, “Puree or Baby Led Weaning?”
Another question people wonder about is, “Is there a right or wrong way to introduce solids?”
As long as you are following all safety measures, go with the way you are most comfortable with, either way is perfectly fine!
With my first child, we started with mashed foods. I never pureed my sons food or added any liquid to most of his foods. His first food was avocado. We mashed it up a bit and both tried to feed him, and allowed him to get a feel for it himself.
A few weeks in, I realized that he had very little interest in being fed. I also got the sense that he didn't love the consistency, so we decided to go full on BLW method. This was a scary decision, but I quickly looked up some videos on YouTube of babies starting solids with BLW and particularly gagging vs. choking.
Right away I felt more comfortable! I was able to better understand the difference between gagging and choking which I elaborate on in my guide.
From then on, my son was hooked!
Fast forward a few months later, he was eating everything and asking for seconds! He was an amazing eater. We felt so lucky, even through his transition to toddlerhood (when we know things can easily get turned around).
Now he is almost 3, and unfortunately, started his picky phase. He likes to politely give his opinion on every meal. Threenagers here we come!
I have created "Starting Solids: A Guide for Beginners" with Caroline, a Pediatric Dietitian from @theclinicdietitian. We share a ton of great information in the guide and cover so much!
Signs of Readiness
Meal & Snack Ideas
What Foods to Avoid
The Many Styles of Feeding
Number & Size of Meals per age
Meal Time Language for Success
The guide also includes a free copy of my short recipe book for littles.
Let’s talk about the different methods you can choose from:
1. BLW (Baby Led Weaning)
This method skips over purees and begins with offering soft table foods to your infant. Prepare safe foods by cutting them into strips or a wedge shape (think the size of your finger).
Greater use of fine motor skills as the baby is actively in control of picking up strips of food and bringing them to their mouth.
Exposes the baby to a greater variety of textures and flavors from a young age.
Works on hand-eye coordination
Allows you to offer same family foods with some modifications
Baby in control of how much he/she eats and ultimately this allows for a better appetite control.
You will find yourself cleaning up a lot as baby explores with the food baby and the surrounding areas will become a bit messy depending on the foods served.
Choking can be a scare if food isn’t prepared rights (the risk of choking for BLW is not higher than the risk of choking with pureed foods)
More food waste in the process as baby is learning to independently eat.
2. Purees (Traditional Style)
This method is a traditional spoon feeding purees, introducing your baby to a variety of tastes.
Parents can make their own baby food, offering their little one some homemade favorites.
You can blend a bunch of things at once and call it a meal, simple.
Allows you to know exactly how much food is consumed per meal
Peace of mind when other caregivers need to feed your baby
Baby is not learning hand-eye coordination.
Baby isn’t exploring different textures.
Baby may begin to prefer one texture over others.
Possible to overfeed your baby if not paying attention to baby's fullness cues.
Hard to eat with baby as you need to feed baby
3. Mixed Approach
The mixed approach is just as the name says! It is a blend of offering both purees and baby-led solids.
Pros of a mixed approach:
Combination of the research and methodology of both approaches.
Allowing your child to feel different textures and explore all senses
You control when you don't want the mess and simply feed your baby
Keep in mind :
1. You can still offer purees in a BLW fashion, simply load an infant spoon with a thick puree (such as mashed lentils or avocado) and hand the spoon to your baby to put in their mouth!
2. There is no right or wrong way to start solids. Whichever way you decide to feed your baby is the best way! Just remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting to start solids until about 6 months of age.
3. Remember no matter which method you choose, its your job to provide the meal (what, when and where) and it’s your child’s job to decide how much or if they want to eat it. Avoid forcing your baby to eat or making large conversations and shift attention towards “you need to eat.”
For more information, check out my guide.
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