When I first heard of baby led weaning, I found the title to be misleading.
At first, I pictured some interesting form of weaning your baby similar to sleep training.
Personally, I think baby led eating or feeding would be a better title for what baby led weaning really is.
When we were making the decision about how to start feeding Jaden, I heard about BLW from another mama friend only 3 days before we were planning to start him on solids.
Here are our 6 reasons we chose Baby Led Weaning!
1. Builds Their Eating Skills
This is probably the biggest reason we chose baby led weaning. Yes, there are many other benefits but this one stood out to me most!
Baby led weaning truly teaches baby to eat.
Spooning a baby already mushed up food doesn’t really teach the baby how to eat solids nor does it let them experience real textures… (or real flavors for that matter… have you tried those baby foods!? Nothing like the real thing!)
By letting the baby learn to pick up the food and take a bite (even with gums only!) the baby learns to push the food around in their mouth and actually learns what to do with it!
Starting babies with BLW will:
- Develop their mouth muscles
- Develop their chewing and swallowing skills
- Broaden their flavors and tastes
- Teach them about texture
- Get them actually eating food (and on their own) so much faster than starting with pureed baby foods
One point to remember about babies learning to eat is that it’s not about “stuffing the baby”.
Babies starting to eat solids by eating purees first usually will go from nothing but milk, to jars and jars a day of puree. This is SO hard on a baby’s tummy!
However, with BLW since the baby is learning to eat, they’re hardly getting any food at first. This naturally paces them and slowly prepares their system for solids.
2. Later Start to Solids
This point on why we chose baby led weaning is more about something we learned along the way.
It’s becoming more common knowledge that it’s important to wait until babies are 6 months of age to start eating solid foods.
Their sweet little digestive systems and tummies are just not developed enough before that. This also means they’re a bit older and have more skills that will help with BLW.
Baby is usually ready to start eating solids when they are 6 months old and can sit up on their own, can grab and pick up items, and seem interested in food.
Since BLW starts when babies are 6 months old, it helps with digestion and the baby truly being ready to start solids!
3. Fine Motor Skills Development
One of the first things we loved about baby led weaning was how quickly it developed babies’ fine motor skills!
Because they’re in charge of picking up and grabbing their own pieces of food, meal time becomes “learning time” too!
During the first week or two of BLW, it was hard for my babes to grab super slippery, mushy food.
It concerned me at first they wouldn’t be able to actually eat for a long time. And that very possibly, they would become too frustrated.
But I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t tell you how quickly both of my boys went from being able to grab a banana spear to shortly after being about to use their “pinchers” to pick up a berry!
It was so neat to watch them develop these extra skills while learning to eat. Just one of the awesome reasons we chose baby led weaning!
4. Family Meal Time
This was also one of reasons why we loved and chose baby led weaning.
Meal time is about fellowship. Even for the smallest member of the family. Sitting together as a family around a table is so important and builds such strong family ties.
We make it a priority to eat around our table together at least 5-6 times a week. It was so exciting when the boys were old enough to sit in their chair and actually eat with us!
This made them also super excited about eating as well!
Since the baby is mainly eating real food, I would usually try to make something that he could eat too whether that be plain chickpea noodles or sweet potato spears or just the fruit we’re having for dinner etc.
The baby will learn to eat what we’re eating!
5. Helps Develop Non Picky Eaters
Which leads me to my next point.
Another reason we chose baby led weaning is because it REALLY helps squash the picky eater thing.
Sure, there were foods the baby didn’t want to try at first. But since BLW is about learning to eat and not so much eating, most foods after offered a while were eventually eaten!
Both boys loved sweet potatoes, pears, avocados, berries, soft boiled carrots, etc. They learned to love so many different flavors and textures!
6. Simple to Do
The last reason we chose baby led weaning is because it’s very simple to do. From our personal experience, BLW has been very easy to weave into our routine.
It’s not hard to find steamable foods in the freezer section. When you’re already making dinner/lunches for other kiddos, it’s not hard to find easy and yummy foods to serve baby as well.
We’ve truly loved our experience with BLW!