Why we chose to do baby led weaning.

First let me start off this extremely in depth topic with how grateful I am we got a doula when I was pregnant. She educated me in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be educated… I could talk about my love for her forever, that really is its own separate post. My point is, when I was still pregnant Josiah and I were talking with her about what you eventually feed your child. “So, you just get a spoon and feed them, right? Do you make your own baby food?” “No, I just give her an apple, take a bite out of it to get her started and she goes to town.”
My mind was blown. How does a child, a BABY, who doesn’t have teeth eat a real apple? How do they not choke? She lent me this book.
She told me how in the beginning of starting solid food, since they don’t have teeth, the most they will get from that apple is the juices. Maybe pull off some apple mush, since they’ll be scraping their little teething gums all over it. Ultimately the point is they literally cannot bite off more than they can chew.
(Also, this is just first of the many times our doula will be mentioned…)
I read the book and was completely convinced this is the route we would take with August. (Plus the book is full of adorable pictures of babies eating..it’s an easy read)
The convincing came when I realized how natural this approach would be. Giving a child properly prepared fruits and vegetables so you give them the chance to LEARN to chew. This makes sense to me.
August and I were/are very lucky because I have the opportunity to stay home with him. This meant as far as our breastfeeding relationship was considered, there was no 3 month mark of being forced back into work. (Thanks, America, one of the only places where women don’t get paid maternity leave!)
A big part of baby led weaning is that you are letting your child choose the food you offer, but you are not replacing milk feeds. In fact you never want to put the baby in a high chair hungry for the milk because they simply cannot fill up on solid food in the beginning. You don’t want them to get frustrated and start associating eating solids with being pissed all the time.
Since I didn’t need to rush back to work, I could keep nursing August on demand, and didn’t have to introduce bottles, cereal, or baby food in fear of him not getting enough while I was gone.
We started giving August table food around 6 months. (The world health organization recommends adding foods at six months, so that the first six monts of their life is breastmilk or formula. Additionally, it recommends breastfeeding for two years and beyond.)
August legitimately didn’t start swallowing and digesting food until…10, 11 months. (Little pieces surely made it in before then, but not much.) Six months to almost one he was still mostly breastfed, on demand. About 15 months into his life he started to eat a little more, and at the 18 month mark he went an entire 24 hours without breast milk. (Josiah and I had our first night away since his birth…even our wedding night we were only away for 13 hours ish…August was just across the hotel hallway with grandma)
Which means he ate tons. He ate whatever ma maw and pa paw would give him. (He also slept 7 straight hours the night we were gone….that’s another post, though…)
Around that time it hit me, August CAN survive without breast milk. The point of baby led weaning though is to show your child healthy foods that he can eat, give him the time he needs to find himself being independent enough to eat the food you provide and slowly take himself away from needing breast milk.
For about two months now we’ve been some sort of sick. It started as a stomach bug… It’s that moment when I’m really grateful August still nurses. He can’t stomach anything, but with power of breast milk, he literally is nursed back to health. And we have this cold/cough combo that has been lingering for a few weeks. It hasn’t escalated into anything scary but it just will not leave. This means more nursing and less solid food. Yes, it gets a bit tiring…but I have to remind myself how calming it is for both of us. I tell myself how good it is we’ve made it this far on the nutritional journey…because pedialyte is garbage, and I’m happy I can provide the best option available when he’s feeling down.
I’m happy we chose baby led weaning because of how natural it is to let him learn how to chew, and swallow. Because of how natural it is to let him wean from the breast on his own. Because I have started eating the healthiest I have in my entire life. (Partially because he gets nutrients from my milk, partially because I don’t want him to see me eating garbage.)


And look at how cute these chunky hands are holding an apple! This August in the beginning of December 2011..he was just over 6 months old.