baby.blw,eating,good,eater,solid foods

My baby isn’t a good eater

My baby isn’t a good eater

 

It’s common for parents (and grandparents) to worry because their baby is ‘not eating well’, especially as the baby gets older. Parents are often told that he or she should be eating a full family diet by their first birthday. But is being a ‘good’ eater really necessary for the baby?

I would like to thank Gill Rapley, the one who coined the term Baby Led Weaning (BLW) who wrote the text below. Please check out her website for more information at rapleyweaning.com.


What’s normal?

 


BLW babies follow their own patterns when starting solid food. For example, your baby may:


• Set off enthusiastically, munching on everything in sight, gradually swallowing more and more of it and never looking back. (Probably the least common pattern)


• Progress slowly but steadily through looking, experimenting, licking and tasting, and then eating, gradually increasing the amount she consumes.


• Eat almost nothing for weeks or months (with or without being keen to touch and taste) and then suddenly show enthusiasm for food.


• Set off enthusiastically and then seem to lose interest in food altogether.


None of these patterns suggests a problem. Most BLW babies don’t eat significant amounts of solid food until they reach 8 or 9 months, and some not until after their first birthday. Those who start off enthusiastically and then lose interest simply enjoy the novelty of food more than those who start more slowly. When that wears off, they slow down for a while. [Note, though, that if a baby of 6-8 months shows no interest in picking up food or any other objects (such as toys or keys) and exploring them with her mouth it’s possible there’s an underlying reason, such as delayed development, so she should be checked by a doctor.]

 

baby,eating,good,eater,solid foods,blw
This baby is thoroughly enjoying her meal!

Putting things into perspective

A normally developing, healthy baby who appears to be ‘not eating well’ is probably just eating less than his parents or others think he should. In the second half of their first year, the only nutrients babies need in addition to breast milk are iron and zinc. A few licks or bites (not mouthfuls!) each day from foods rich in these minerals, such as meat and eggs, is almost certainly enough to provide this. Babies don’t starve themselves – if they are hungry, they will eat. The problem is that our expectations of how much babies should eat tends to be based on the amounts they eat when they’re spoon fed. But …

 

  • Spoon feeding (by someone else) is not a natural part of babies’ development. It just became the usual method of feeding when it was thought babies needed solid food before they were old enough to feed themselves.
  • Spoon feeding and purees make it difficult for babies to follow their appetite. They tend to swallow mouthfuls faster and end up eating more than they really need.
  • Pureed food contains a lot of liquid – so it may look like more food than it really is.
  • Pressuring a baby to eat certain foods, or more than they want, can lead to problems
    such as picky eating or food refusal.
  • Breast-milk (or formula) can continue to provide most of a baby’s nourishment well beyond one year.

 

breast milk, breat feeding, blw, nourishment, nutrients, food, eating, eater
Despite baby’s introduction to solid foods, breastfeeding (or formula) remains the primary source of nourishment.

What are the signs of a ‘ good eater ‘?

 

If you think your baby is a ‘poor eater’, the solution is not to try to change what the baby is doing but to redefine what you think makes a good eater. A good eater is a baby who:


• responds to his own appetite (eating when he’s hungry, stopping when he’s had enough)
• drinks as much breastmilk or formula as he needs
• has the opportunity to try lots of different foods, without any pressure
• can choose the nutrients he needs (from healthy food offered)
• is interested in exploring food and practising self-feeding skills
• enjoys mealtimes

If your baby does all of these things, he’s a good eater – even if he doesn’t actually swallow very much at all!


What should I do?

 

  • Continue to offer breastfeeds or formula whenever your baby wants. Restricting milk feeds (as parents are sometimes advised to do in the hope the baby will eat more solid food) is likely to mean less nourishment not more.
  • Continue to share mealtimes with your baby, giving her the opportunity to explore and taste a range of healthy foods.
  •  If your baby is over 10 months, don’t keep giving her back food that has been deliberately thrown on the floor. This is her way of saying “No thanks”.
  • Try offering foods in smaller pieces, or introducing cutlery. Some babies get bored with being treated as newbies and want to practise more advanced skills!
  • Don’t make a fuss if your baby doesn’t seem to like something. Just carry on offering some of whatever you are eating. (Some babies persistently avoid certain foods and are later found to be allergic to them, so it may be wise to trust your baby.)
  • Remember that it’s normal for a baby who is unsettled for some reason (starting daycare for example) or becoming unwell, to go off solid food for a while and want more milk.

 

Baby-led weaning is about nurturing a good relationship with food, not about persuading babies to eat what we think they should. All babies spontaneously move on to other foods in their own time. As a parent, all you need to do is make food available, within reach, and to act as a role model by including the baby in your own mealtimes. Your baby will take care of everything else.

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

 

I’d like to know: is your baby a good eater? Why or why not? Comment below!

 

baby, sitting, up, upright, blw, solid foods, introduction

Sitting upright – what does it mean?

Sitting upright – what does it mean?

 

‘ Able to sit upright ‘ is recognized as one of the key signs of readiness for solid foods, and especially for BLW. But what does it mean and why does it matter? Let’s start with why it matters …

First off, I would like to thank Gill Rapley, who wrote the following text about Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I’m sharing it because it’s so useful to parents who follow me. Thank you Gill!

 

Why does sitting upright matter?

 

  • Readiness: If your baby can’t yet sit upright, that’s a fairly good sign that his wider development hasn’t reached the point of readiness, either. Chewing skills and digestive abilities tend to develop at the same pace as a baby’s ability to sit upright. If your baby is offered food before he’s developmentally ready to manage it, his gut may be exposed to food too soon and he will be more at risk of choking.

 

  • Safety: Babies need to be upright to coordinate swallowing and breathing easily. They can’t do this if they’re slumped forwards or sideways. They also need to be able to control food inside their mouth. This is so that it doesn’t slip backwards, towards their airway, before it’s ready to be swallowed. A leaning-back position makes this very tricky – and therefore dangerous. Imagine lying back to eat, or trying to chew with your chin on your chest. See how uncomfortable and unsafe these positions would be?

 

  • Self-feeding: Babies need to be able to lean forward to reach food, pick it up with both hands, and look around – all without losing their balance. To do this they must be stable in an upright position.

 

balance, stable, baby, BLW,sitting, upright
This baby is able to lean forward without losing her balance.

What is ‘upright’?

 

Definitions of ‘upright’ depend on a baby’s developmental stage. This can be confusing when you’re looking for the one that means your baby is ready to start BLW:

From birth a baby can be held in an upright position if the whole trunk and spine is supported. She can’t do it alone.

Sometime after 5 months babies start to be able to hold their head and trunk erect if they are supported around the hips.

 

sitting, upright, blw, solid foods, support, baby
Here is a 5 month old baby who is able to hold it’s head and trunk upright since there is support at the hips.

By 7 to 8 months most babies are able to stay in a sitting position for a minute or so on the floor, with no support.

By 8 to 9 months babies are starting to be able to get into a sitting position from a lying down or crawling position.

 

The importance of upright positioning

 

What matters for safe eating, and for BLW, is that your baby can support her head and trunk in an upright position for long enough to explore some food – and to eat it, if she’s ready. If she needs a bit of support around her hips to do this, that’s fine. There’s no need to wait until she can stay upright with no support at all. No need to wait until she can get herself into a sitting position. There’s also no ‘60-second rule’, as some believe. It’s the position and balance above her pelvis that she needs to be able to maintain. A normally developing baby will be able to sit upright well enough to allow her to handle food and eat safely by six months or soon after. If you notice that this is not the case with your baby, I suggest making an appointment with an occupational therapist or pediatric physical therpist.

 

baby,blw,sitting,up, upright,stability

 

How to help your baby to sit comfortably and safely

 

There are several options for helping to make exploring food easy and safe for your baby:

  • Sit him on your lap, facing the table, and support his hips with a hand on either side of his bottom (not around his waist, which will restrict his movement). Many babies like the reassurance of this closeness at their first few meals
  • For picnics, or eating on the floor, sit your baby between your legs, facing forwards. This allows you to have both hands free while also providing the support he needs.
  • If your baby is happy in a high chair, then a rolled-up towel around his hips can fill the space between his bottom and the sides of the chair. If the seat is slippery a small towel between his legs will help to stop him sliding forward.
  • Older babies, and toddlers, are likely to find a foot rest helpful. (Worth remembering when buying a high chair!)
  • So, your baby is ready to get started with baby-led weaning as soon as he is able to sit upright securely and stably enough to handle food safely and effectively – with a little bit of support from you if he needs it.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

 

Have you noticed your baby sitting upright and would like to try BLW? Comment below!

 

How early is too early to start introducing solid foods?

How early is too early to start introducing solid foods?

I am often contacted by parents whose baby of 22-24 weeks is showing interest in solid food. They are wary of starting too early,  yet feel their baby is giving them a clear lead that s/he is ready. While I am unable to offer specific guidance for individual babies, my general response to this dilemma is as follows.

 

I would like to thank Gill Rapley, the one who coined the term Baby Led Weaning (BLW) who wrote the text below. Please check out her website for more information at rapleyweaning.com.

 

The 6-months ‘rule’

I always refer to the 6-months ‘rule’ because it keeps babies safe from premature interference with their eating. However, my actual position, based on my research and clinical experience, is that whatever an individual baby is ready to do is probably what’s right for that baby. There is good reason to believe that those developmental abilities that are visible to us (sitting upright etc.) are a reliable indicator of the maturity of that baby’s (internal) digestive system – nature very rarely makes mistakes. So, if a full-term, healthy baby can (genuinely) sit upright, grasp food and get it to his mouth UNAIDED, then he’s probably ready to do just that. If he’s also ready to chew it – and perhaps even swallow it – that’s fine, but it is more likely that these skills will follow in due course.

 

I make a point of emphasizing the six months ‘rule’, even though I don’t consider it to be cast in stone. This is because it’s all too easy for those who don’t understand the concept of BLW to misinterpret any suggestion that starting earlier than this is acceptable. This can be the beginning of a slippery slope into dangerous practices, which I absolutely do not condone.

 

baby, blw, introduction, solid foods
It’s really exciting to start foods but this baby isn’t quite ready yet!

 

What is the ultimate goal?

The problem is that it’s tempting to see more ability in one’s child than is actually there, and to offer that little bit of help to enable them to achieve a particular goal. This includes: providing extra support to sit up or reach out, guiding their arm towards their mouth, or – worse – putting the food into their mouth ‘for them’. Mostly, this doesn’t matter, but when it comes to eating, a baby’s ability – or inability – to manage the necessary sequence of actions is an important safety factor. ‘Helping’ them over a hurdle they cannot yet manage for themselves is potentially hazardous.

 

It’s useful to remember that the ‘achievement’ of eating is the adult’s goal, not the child’s. The baby doesn’t know that’s what the point of all this is. She is just finding out how her own body, and the things around her, work. If she doesn’t manage to get the food to her mouth, sowhat? She hasn’t ‘failed’ – and she has no sense of needing help. Her parents’ role is to give her the OPPORTUNITY to do whatever she is ready to do. Whether that be touching food, picking it up, licking it, biting it, chewing it and/or swallowing it – or none of the above – not to enable her to do something she can’t yet manage. Six months represents an average age of readiness, in the same way that most babies take their first step around their firstbirthday.

 

Is 6 months the ‘magic’ age?

Clearly some will be ready to walk earlier – and some later – than that. We don’t try to prevent those who are ready earlier from walking before the ‘correct’ age. If we are prepared to accept that a good proportion of babies will not be ready to feed themselves with solid foods until they are seven, eight or nine months, then it is perfectly reasonable to allow that there will also be a few who may begin before they reach the ‘magic’ age of six months. The crucial point, as I see it, is that the move should be spontaneous and autonomous.

 

In my opinion, arguments about the ‘right’ age for introducing solid foods are important only if it’s the parent, not the baby, who decides when putting food into her/his mouth should begin – as happens, of course, with spoon feeding. Such arguments are redundant if the decision is made by the baby because all babies develop eating skills in a set sequence, in line with their overall maturity. Theoretically, there is no reason why a baby of one or two months old should not be offered the opportunity to sit upright and pick food up from a plate.

 

What stops this being a sensible option is not that this is the ‘wrong’ age but that the baby simply isn’t capable of it. The same would apply at three, four and five months. It is extremely unlikely that any infant under about five and a half months would, without any ‘help’, be able to get more than a taste of solid food. Those that can are the exception, not the rule. Provided this is fully understood, starting solids ‘early’ does not, in my view, constitute a problem.

early, introduction, solid foods, baby, sitting,

         Here’s a 5-month-old baby who is not ready to start complementary foods

What are the words to describe what is happening?

A key challenge in all this is that we don’t have the right words to describe the introduction of solid foods when the baby is in control. ‘Starting solids’ with spoon feeding and purees means someone else putting food into the baby’s mouth on a day decided by them. But ‘starting solids’ using BLW simply means providing babies with the opportunity to eat if and when they want to and are able to. It’s up to the baby to take it from there.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

I want to know: how early did you start solid foods with your baby? Comment below!

dme, alimentation autonome, purées

Can you switch to BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

Is it safe to combine spoon feeding and BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

 

I often get asked if it’s possible to switch from traditional spoon feeding to baby-led weaning (BLW), or to do a bit of both (what some call “combination feeding”). Some people say that you have to wait 2 weeks between spoon feeding before offering pieces of food but I’m here to tell you that you don’t. Purees are just another texture. Some parents decide to spoon feed their baby at first and now want to try offering pieces of food. I’m here to tell you that’s it’s never too late to start offering pieces of food to your baby but it is important to proceed safely, no matter what approach you decide to opt for. According to this research study, children introduced to lumpy food after 9 months eat less fruit and vegetables at 7 years old and have more feeding problems, so don’t offer purees forever!

What is BLW anyway?

 

With Baby Led Weaning (BLW), parents offer whole pieces of food to their baby and let them feed themselves starting at around 6 months of age. In this case, babies aren’t spoon fed by someone else.

 

Can mashed foods or purees be offered to a baby who is doing BLW?

 

If mashed foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes or apple sauce are on the menu, you can offer them in loaded spoons and let your baby bring them to their mouth on their own. All you need to do is offer the loaded spoon’s handle to your baby and let him or her feed him or herself. To learn more about how to offer loaded spoons to your baby, sign up to my online course here.

 

 

Can we switch to BLW?

 

Yes! I firmly believe that it’s never too late to switch to BLW. While a baby who has been started on purees and spoon feeding can’t truly be defined as having been fully BLW’d, it’s never too late to offer pieces of food. 

 

Everyone is entitled to change their approach when they learn something new, or when they discover that what they’ve chosen isn’t working for them.

 

Can we ‘do a bit of both’?

 

I am totally in favour of parents doing whatever works best for them and their child. If this involves a combination of spoon feeding and self-feeding, great! What this isn’t, though, is a combination of the BLW approach and the traditional approach – it’s really just the traditional approach, but starting at six months old (from when the introduction of finger foods alongside spoon-fed pureed or mashed food has always been recommended). BLW is about more than just offering your baby food to pick up – it’s about trusting him to know what he needs. If you’re topping him up with a spoon after he’s had a go with his hands, then you’re not really doing that.

 

The bottom line is that trusting your baby and not quite trusting him are simply not compatible.

 

So, while doing some self-feeding and some spoon feeding may work for you, it’s theoretically not full BLW. 

 

A lot of parents who say they are ‘doing a bit of both’ are in fact just following traditional approach, without realizing it. The reason is to do with timing: BLW was beginning to be talked about at around the same time (2002) as the minimum recommended age for solid feeding was changing from four months to six months. The result is that many parents don’t realize that finger foods were already recommended from six months – alongside purees – prior to this. They therefore believe that offering their baby any finger foods means they are ‘doing (some) BLW’. 

 

Why does this matter?

 

Does the definition of BLW really matter? I believe it does, for two reasons. First, it matters for parents who are hearing about BLW for the first time. If they are to make an informed decision about how they want to approach weaning with their baby they need to understand the underpinning ethos of BLW. If they don’t, they may implement only part of it and then be dismayed when it doesn’t ‘work’. Worse, they may do something dangerous, such as putting lumps of food into their baby’s mouth ‘for her’, which could lead to her choking.

 

The second reason I believe the definition matters is to enable an increase in knowledge about children and food – globally. If what we think may be the lifelong benefits for babies of being BLW’d (better eating habits, less risk of obesity etc.) are to be proven – or even disproven – by research, then studies need to define clearly and unambiguously what ‘true’ BLW is. If researchers set out to compare babies who have been BLW’d with babies weaned the conventional way without accurately defining what those terms mean, then there is a real risk that some babies will be said to have been BLW’d when, for example, they had purees for the first two weeks, or were routinely spoon-fed at certain meals, or were always fed separately from the rest of the family. This muddying of the waters would make the results of the research meaningless, and could well mean that some of the real benefits of BLW don’t show up. 

 

Belonging to the ‘club’

 

So what does this mean for BLW groups and forums? Should parents who are ‘doing a bit of both’, or who started off following a traditional approach and then ‘switched’ to BLW be allowed to be members of the BLW ‘club’? My answer is yes, I think they should. While I do believe it’s important for everyone to be clear whether what they are doing is or isn’t ‘true’ BLW, I don’t believe anyone should feel ostracised for not choosing (or being able) to follow it to the letter. Everyone is different: for some, their support network of family and friends is pro-BLW, while others face resistance every day. Some babies have specific medical or developmental challenges that impact on their eating. For many parents, being able to share others’ experiences is what gives them the courage to keep going at the level they are, or to make the leap to ‘full’ BLW.

 

People meet at different points along the parenting route but we can still be friends and travel together, sharing what we have in common while at the same time respecting our differences. While it’s not helpful to admit people whose intention is to make trouble, I like to think anyone who is genuinely interested in finding out more about BLW would be made to feel welcome in a BLW group.

 

About choking hazards

No matter what approach you choose, your baby can choke. He or she can choke on coins, toys, chips, candies, gum, popcorn and anything, really. That’s why every caregiver needs to know what to do in case their baby is choking. Please refer to this information from the Red Cross and take a first aid class for babies. According to Amy Brown’s research, BLW was not associated with increased risk of choking compared to spoon feeding.

 

Food pouches

Food pouches can be quite practical when out and about but I don’t routinely recommend them because they’re not very stimulating for babies. Babies just suck and swallow the applesauce and don’t even need to chew. It’s quite a passive experience. Here is a question I got from a parent:

“My baby is 14 mo. I give her pouches after a meal if she doesn’t eat much. Do you recommend those?”

I don’t recommend offering pouches after a meal if your baby doesn’t eat much because she will come to expect those if offered regularly. It can lead to more picky eating in the long run. Here and there as a convenient snack, pouches are practical but not on a regular basis. Also, it’s ok if your toddler doesn’t eat much at a meal because she is probably eating every 2-3 hours because of snacks in between meals. If she doesn’t eat much at one meal, that’s ok. She may not be feeling well or may not be hungry so will eat at the next opportunity.

 

I asked the parents who follow me on social media to ask me their questions about purees and solid foods and I answer them below. Do note that I have not met these parents so I always recommend talking to their pediatrician or nutritionist. To get my unlimited support and ask me all your specific questions (and support my business, thank you!), subscribe to my online course. 

William will be 9 months old next week. He’s been eating purees since he was 4 months old, but I’ve always offered him solid foods as well. He eats about 250 g of purées. For a few days now, we always start with the pieces and when he gets tired, he continues with purees to have the same number of grams as usual. Is this a good solution? 

Since your baby is already 9 months old, he is able to handle finger foods himself. It is certain that by stopping spoon-feeding, there will be a transition period where he will eat less. During this period, he will take a few more sips of milk and as he practices, he will eat more and more. At this age, he should eat about 3 meals a day and you can offer him food that he can grab himself with his hands. Sticks work well. All you have to do is offer safe, soft and nutrient-filled foods. For your particular situation, you can stop spoon-feeding him and offer him solid foods. For inspiration and recipe ideas, subscribe to my online course. 

 

My daughter is in the nursery and they don’t do BLW so we have started a classic diversification. She is 5 months old and cant sit up straight. When the conditions are right, can we give her solid foods on the weekend and under what conditions? 

I suggest starting introducing solid foods at around 6 months of age, when your baby shows all the signs that she is ready (see my online course). If she is offered purees at the nursery, eats them and it is going well, you can continue like that. If your baby doesn’t want to be fed and doesn’t eat much at all, you can just stop spoon-feeding her until she shows all the signs that she is ready. There is no problem feeding a baby with a spoon in the nursery and offering finger foods at home, as long as the food choice is safe. If you would like your baby to have an active and intuitive experience at all meals, you can discuss with the nursery about the benefits of BLW. Let me know in my online course if you need arguments. 

 

My daughter is 9 months old and started purees at 4.5 months old. She has difficulty with the chunks in the purees but she is getting better. I’m afraid to give her solid foods because when she eats bread, she puts it almost whole in her mouth. It scares me. 

Since your daughter is already 9 months old, you can stop purees and offer her soft and safe solid foods now (see my online course for examples of foods to offer). Here are some tips that can help you in your particular situation: 

  • You can cut her bread into various shapes (squares, rectangles, sticks) so that the feeling is different every time she takes a bite. 
  • You can offer her only one food or even one bite at a time (example: a small bite of bread) to help her take her time. 
  • You can offer her water frequently during the meal in an open cup. This will help her slow down and take her time to eat. 
  • You can introduce safe utensils such as a small fork or spoon. These require more motricity and will slow down her flow. 
  • You can talk to her during lunch about things other than what she is eating. Tell her about her toys, friends, etc. and it will make the meal experience more enjoyable. 

My baby is 7 months old. We started the classic method (cereals) at 4.5 months old, and since the age of 6 months we have been offering him food in pieces and we offer him purees at the end of the meal. Can I give him meatballs, a bell pepper or a cucumber? 

In this particular situation, you can stop feeding your baby puree. We want him to eat by himself, actively and at his own pace so that he eats enough but not too much. There may be a transition period when your baby will eat a little less until he develops the skills through practice. He will drink a little more milk and quickly become an expert eater. If the meatballs are tender enough, they can be offered to your baby, but I don’t recommend raw bell pepper and raw cucumbers to newborns because they are too hard and can cause choking. To find out what you can offer him to eat, subscribe to my online course. 

 

My baby is 7.5 months old. She’s been eating purees since she was 4.5 months old. I want to give her solid foods but she can’t sit up straight yet. Is BLW appropriate for her? 

You can read my answers above to find out how to introduce solid foods. To start introducing solid foods, I recommend that all babies be able to maintain a sitting position for a few seconds (among other things). It is important to offer a variety of textures quickly so don’t wait too long. If your baby is not able to maintain a sitting position for a few seconds at 7.5 months old, I suggest consulting a physiotherapist to see if there is a delay. 

 

My baby is 6 months old and started purees at 5 months old. He eats everything! How can I switch to solid foods? 

Since he eats everything, it is certain that by stopping spoon-feeding, there will be a transition period where he will eat less. During this period, he will take a few more sips of milk. It will only last a few days. If he shows all the signs that he is ready (see my online course), you can introduce soft pieces of solid food and stop giving him purees. 

 

Is it normal that our nursery only offers vegetables to my baby? 

Since your baby has huge nutritional needs, she needs to eat a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, meat or alternatives, good fats and others. I suggest discussing her great needs with the nursery and offering her a wide variety of foods at home. 

 

My baby is 8.5 months old and eats purees. He plays with his food. How do I make him understand that he can eat what I offer him? I want some recipe ideas for his age. 

It is still normal for your baby to play with his food. Playing, licking, throwing and chewing are part of his learning. One day, he crushes a piece of pancake, the next he takes it in his hands, and the one after that he puts it in his mouth. That’s progress! Set an example by eating with him. You can also vary the shapes of the food offered to make it more interesting for him. Here are some recipe ideas for an 8-month-old baby: 

 

Is BLW possible for a 5.5-month-old baby? He eats a little puree but not every day. 

Your 5.5-monthold baby may be BLW ready. He must absolutely show all the signs that he is ready (see my online course for the signs). Since he doesn’t seem to eat a lot of purées, you could just stop offering them and start BLW when he’s ready. 

 

My baby is 5.5 months old and her pediatrician is against BLW (choking). He recommends purees before 6 months. Despite his advice, I want to do BLW. Can I start with the purees and then switch to BLW? 

First, according to Health Canada: 

It is important for parents and caregivers to provide a variety of soft textures (such as lumpy, tenderly cooked and finely chopped, pureed, crushed or ground) and finger foods from the age of six months. 

You can discuss this with your pediatrician so that he is aware of the current recommendations. Some babies need to eat purees before 6 months of age because of a special situation (see your pediatrician). If your baby does not have a special condition, you can wait until she shows all the signs that she is ready and start introducing solid food at that time. At 5.5 months, she may be ready (see my online course), but you may also have to wait 1 to 3 weeks. There is no hurry to get started so if you want to do BLW, wait a while and it will come soon! 

 

My baby is 7 months old and is spoon-fed. She doesn’t eat much and mostly plays with the spoon. We started purees a month ago and eats very little. Can I introduce solid foods? 

Especially if she doesn’t eat much, you can offer her soft pieces of food and so she can play with them (see my online course for food ideas). You can stop giving her purees. There may be a short transition period where she will eat less, but it should not last. Since she plays with the spoon, she will play with food and will probably become an expert eater quickly! 

 

My baby is 4 months old and we started offering him purees. At what age can I combine purees and solid foods? 

If you started purees at 4 months old and it’s going well, you can introduce solid foods as soon as your baby shows the signs that he’s ready (see my online course). Most babies start at around 6 months of age. You will then be able to stop spoon-feeding him. There may be a short transition period when he eats less, but it shouldn’t last. 

If you started purees at around 4 months of age and your baby eats almost nothing, you can stop offering it altogether and introduce solid foods when he is ready, which is around 6 months for most babies. 

 

My baby is 8 months old. He eats rice cookies and pancakes. What else can I give him? 

My online course is a wealth of information for inspiring meals for babies between 6 and 12 months. There are recipes for bites, popsicles, cookies, roasted vegetables and much more. 

 

My baby is 4.5 months old. Is it safe to spoon-feed my baby with his nanny and do BLW at home? 

First, you have to ask yourself why your 4.5-month-old baby needs to start solid foods. It is rare for such a young baby to have a real need for food since his milk meets all his needs until he is about 6 months old. Ideally, I suggest waiting until your baby shows all the signs that he is ready before starting to eat, usually at around 6 months of age. You can start BLW and discuss it with your nanny to make her feel comfortable with the approach. You can even subscribe to my online course and give her access to it so she can watch all the videos of babies who are doing BLW. 

 

My baby is 7.5 months old. I’ve been trying to give him purees since he was 5 months old, but without success. He likes cookies though! What should I do now? 

Since your baby is already 7.5 months old, you can start offering him soft pieces of solid food that he can grab himself. Since he likes to grab the cookie, he will certainly not have a problem with BLW. Get inspiration for examples of meals for your baby in my online course. 

 

What’s important?

Do what is best for your family. Be informed about safe introduction of complementary foods by signing up for my online course. Know that your baby can choke on just about anything so make sure there are no choking hazards around.

 

My BLW Online Course

Check out my Infant Feeding Online Course for parents to get all the answers to your questions. In this course accessible 24/7 and worldwide, you get to ask me an unlimited number of questions and I answer them very quickly. This course is for parents who started purees and want to offer pieces of food and parents just starting out with BLW. No matter what approach you have decided to take, this course is for you because you don’t want to stay on purees forever. The courses don’t expire so sign up anytime and get lifetime access. CHECK OUT MY INFANT FEEDING COURSE TODAY!

Thank you Gill Rapley who contributed to writing parts of this blog post.