Starting solids is such a fun milestone for your baby! But it can also come with a lot of questions; when we were told by our Pediatrician to start solids I began researching what was best. I quickly learned that there is no “one size fits all” method; there are two methods that can be used when starting solids; Purees and Baby Led Weaning. Baby Led Weaning is the most popular.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
First off for those that do not know, baby led weaning is exactly what it sounds; the baby leads it. Baby led weaning facilitates the development of age appropriate oral motor control, while feeding your baby similar foods that we eat as adults but in their whole form. For example, you would cut the avocado into manageable chunks and place the food in front of the baby. No bowls or spoons or feeding your baby; this of course can get messy because your baby is attempting to feed himself or herself.
Baby led weaning is designed to teach your baby about the foods we as adults eat, textures, and of course taste. The hard part of baby led weaning is that a lot of the food does not make it into your child’s mouth; it mainly ends up on the floor.
Pro’s and Con’s of Baby Led Weaning
Baby Led Weaning Pros:
- It allows for a smooth transition to foods we would be feeding our kids once they are a year old
- It’s easier to prep
- Your baby learns about different textures and tastes of every day foods
- Your baby develops hand eye coordination quicker because they are learning to pick up food and take it to their mouth
Baby Led Weaning Cons:
- Very little food will end up in your babies mouth
- There is a lot of clean up involved
- Since very little food will actually end up in their mouth it is hard to judge which foods your child could potentially be allergic too
The second option for starting solids is purees. You can either purchase the food at the store or make it yourself. Personally, I made the food myself so I could control what my son was putting in his mouth.
Pro’s and Con’s of Purees
- It’s a lot easier to feed your baby
- You have control over what you are feeding your baby
- If your going to make the purees it takes time because you have to boil the food, cut it up, puree it, put it into ice cub trays, and freeze
- I suggest taking a day out of the week to make all of your food for a month
- It’s expensive (if you buy the pre-made purees) some of the purees can cost $1.50-$2.00 a bottle and they only last 3 days from the time you open them
Combining Both Baby Led Weaning and Purees
After reading everything, talking to friends, and reviewing what I saw were the pros and cons of each method; I decided to do a combination of both methods!
Here is what I do since I decided to combine both purees and baby led weaning.
- I purchased all organic food from Sprouts Farmers Market (they have the most affordable prices on organic food).
- I peeled the food (if needed), cut it up into small one inch pieces, and boil it in a pot of water for about 20-30 minutes. Once the food is soft, I place it into a bowl and serve it to my son.
- Prior to feeding him, I put about 2 TBSP on a plate, take a metal fork, and mash it up so there will be some chunks but kind of a mashed potato consistency. This helps the food to be easily digested all while he is able to take what the food would really taste like.
Pros and Cons of Doing Both Purees and Baby Led Weaning
Here are a few pros and cons I have noticed based upon doing a combination of both methods.
- You can actually tell what your baby is allergic too because they are getting the food into their mouths
- Baby is learning that food isn’t mashed up or pureed and that there are some chunks in foods
- Yes, you are still bowl and spoon-feeding your baby but what I’ve noticed is my son will grab the front of the spoon and pull it into his mouth. Thus still working on his hand eye coordination
- It’s still pretty messy and there’s a lot of clean up involved
When it comes to starting solids with your little one there is no right or wrong way. It truly is what you think as a parent will be the best fit for your infant. At the end of the day, I suggest weighing the pros and con’s and then making an informed decision based upon what is best for your baby!