Baby-Led Weaning Begins

by Lara on February 21, 2013

The alternate title to this post would be, How a Banana Made Me Cry.

Since birth I have joyfully watched G reach his milestones.  I have happily encouraged him to smile, roll, reach, babble…the whole checklist.  Yet when it came to the abilities required for him to be ready to start solids, I paused.

As enthusiastic as I have been about baby-led weaning, the thought of my baby eating solid foods seemed…wrong.  Solids are just so grown-up!

So when G first starting sitting up in December, I overlooked it as a sign that he was getting ready.  Surely, he was too shaky.

When he began to make chewing motions and watching our every move when we put food to our mouths, I said, “Nope, he would watch me that intently with a magazine in my hands, too.”

When he began reaching and grabbing and pulling my plate toward him, I reminded Matthew that I wanted to wait at least six months.

Then we went to brunch the morning after his six-month birthday.  Sitting in a high chair, he began to perfectly place an empty spoon in his own mouth.  I moved him to my lap, where he proceeded to stick his hands in my eggs.   Matthew looked at me with a knowing face.

Baby-Led Weaning Begins

“I don’t know,” I said.  “I’m still not sure he’s ready.”

He was opening his mouth like a hungry little bird as I said this.

I continued to eat my eggs and felt guilty for doing so in front of him.  It was the first time I thought, maybe he’s ready.

That night, Matthew suggested giving him some food to play with.  “If he’s not ready, nothing will make it in his mouth,” he reasoned.

It made sense.  We needed to be giving G the opportunity to touch and taste food if he was ever going to eat it.  I reluctantly agreed and gave him a large chunk of the only appropriate food we had around–a ripe banana.

I never expected him to get any of it in his mouth.  I had read that it can take weeks of exploration for a BLW baby to actually eat anything.

Without hesitation, G picked up that slippery banana, squished it just enough to break off a small piece, and ate his first bite of solid food.

Tears immediately filled my eyes.  For the entirety of his life, including nine months of gestation, I had been solely responsible for the growth and nourishment of my baby.  And in a matter of seconds, weaning had begun.  It was the beginning of the end.

Since then, we have been giving G bits of food most nights at dinner.  Once he had that banana, I figured we may as well get down and dirty.

And dirty we got.

Early Stages of Baby Led Weaning

Foods that G has tried include: ripe banana, ripe avocado, steamed carrots, roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli, and steamed cauliflower.  It has taken me a little trial and error to get the texture right for him; I’m learning too!


  • I can already see how BLW fits into your daily life.  There’s no need to make a special, separate dinner or prepare baby foods ahead of time.  I just steam a piece or two of broccoli for a few extra minutes and it’s done.
  • I am extra motivated to make our meals as healthy as possible.  As a friend of mine put it, I don’t want to have to deny him anything on my plate, so I better make my plate healthy.
  • Since he will be eating everything we’re eating (with exceptions like honey and nuts), he’ll be exposed to a lot of variety at an early age.  Once we move past this initial exploratory stage, I’m excited to  introduce him to a variety of textures, flavors, and cuisines.
  • The whole process takes a lot of patience on the part of caregivers.  Sure, it would be much faster and easier for me to just give him a few spoonfuls of something, but he isn’t learning very much that way.  As it is, we have to sit and watch him very closely as he figures out self-feeding.
  • It’s messy!  At the end of a long dinner, G will hardly have eaten anything but there is food EVERYWHERE!  Again, it just takes patience.  I’m glad we have the pups to help with cleanup.  I have also learned that cloth bibs don’t cut it and ordered a long-sleeved, waterproof bib after the second day.
  • The gagging/choking thing is definitely scary.  The first time G gagged, I spent the whole night doing further reading and research on BLW.  I started to doubt whether it was actually for us.  I’ve added some of what I found to the resources list below.  We’ve decided to continue forward and take it meal by meal, moving at a pace we’re comfortable with.  Matthew and I both took a class on infant CPR/first aid while I was pregnant, and we are brushing up on what to do in case of choking.

 Further Resources

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy February 21, 2013 at 11:53 am

I love how in love with your son you are! We did purees and I wish we had done BLW because my son is very anti fruit/veg at this point (he just turned 4) and I think that may have helped.


Lara February 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Four must be such a fun age!


CATHY February 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Yes and No. LOL No it’s good. They become less of a toddle and more of a kid. 🙂


Gail in Kent February 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Oh, Lara. He is so beautiful! Such a lovely mix of the two of you. He has your eyes, and Matthew’s blondness. I so got that moment of your emotions when that piece of squished banana made its target. Watch what happens around nine months. Many babies go on a nursing strike then, but don’t worry for it will pass if you want it to. What a sweet little family you’ve got! Even the little girls are helping you. Life is good!


Lara February 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Thank you, Gail! I will watch for that nursing strike. Hope you are well.


linda February 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

It’s so nice to see the baby updates and he is looking more and more like a toddler with that tuft of hair.

What type of high chair is G sitting in? Benji is not sitting up yet, but will probably be doing so soon.



Lara February 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Hi Linda! G is in the Keekaroo high chair with the infant booster seat. We really like it so far!


Andrea@WellnessNotes February 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

What a big boy! And I so know how it is bitter-sweet when they grow up…

I really believe in everyone eating the same food. And, yes, once the kid ate our food, I surely made sure we ate only healthy foods… 🙂

The kid was great at eating what we were eating for the first few years but then started to not like anything right when he turned four. It was tough to hear “I don’t like it” over and over. But I stuck with us all eating the same foods, and we are in a good place once again. 🙂

Enjoy seeing your little boy grow up little by little! 🙂


Lara February 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Thanks Andrea! I hope he becomes a good eater like the kid 🙂 I still think about that video, “mushrooms are good for your skin!”


Heather @ Fit Mama Real Food April 15, 2013 at 7:37 am

I never really thought about solids as the beginning to an end, but it’s so true. Hunter is almost 11 months and we’re just down to nursing twice a day, but really I could see him not needing that much longer. He chows down on food like crazy. I love how G was telling you guys ‘I’m ready to eat!’. He’s such a smart little guy 🙂


Lara April 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Heather, I’ll have to look back again at your posts on BLW at 8 months. G still isn’t getting a huge amount of solids…I have been worried this week if he’s nursing enough because he’s just so BUSY that he doesn’t seem to have time for it 🙁 Did you ever experience that?


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