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The first week of baby led weaning can be the most exciting and scary time of your life as a parent.
You’ve read all the books, maybe even taken an online course, and have been preparing for this big day: the day your baby will try their first bites of solid food!
I’m going to share our experience with baby led weaning during the first week all broken down day by day below including some of the foods I offered!
Did you know, according to the World Health Organization, “If complementary foods are not introduced around the age of 6 months, or if they are given inappropriately, an infant’s growth may falter.“
Hence why food before one, is NOT just for fun.
A common phrase you’ll hear thrown around. I wanted to mention it as it’s important to not just assume offering food before 1 year of age is for fun. There are a lot of benefits to offering solid foods that we’ll discuss further in this article.
Lastly, don’t forget to have all your baby led weaning essentials ready before you get started.
- Our baby led weaning first week
- First week of Baby Led Weaning Meals
- When can you start baby led weaning?
- Baby led weaning gagging in the first week
- What kinds of first foods to offer baby during the first week?
- What Kind Of Baby Led Weaning Schedule Should You Follow?
- Follow a baby led weaning meal plan
- Baby Led Weaning First Week: Final Thoughts
Our baby led weaning first week
I was definitely nervous about this big milestone of food introduction, but after lots of research, including taking a little online course, I felt much better about preparing for our first week.
The online course we chose to take was the Feeding Littles Infant Course. I paid $59 to take this course, but the creators were kind enough to give me a coupon –> FITMOMMYSTRONG to save you $10 off, bringing the course to only $49!
The reason I decided to take a course, is because I wanted to make sure I really understood the foundation behind baby led weaning.
Fortunately, the Feeding Littles Infant Course goes ABOVE & BEYOND. They covered so many topics that answered a lot of my anxious-driven questions, such as:
- How would I know if my baby was ready for BLW?
- What foods should I start with?
- Would my baby have an allergic reaction to the foods?
- Will my baby choke on the food?
When I say this course goes over these things in detail, they do NOT leave anything out. I went into the course a new mom anxious about this new journey we’d be taking on of introducing solids and finished feeling CONFIDENT & EXCITED to start whipping up our first baby led weaning foods; all thanks to the Feeding Little Course for Babies!
It’s a course I recommend to all my friends who are getting ready to venture down the same path and don’t forget, using my code FITMOMMYSTRONG will save you $10 off the course!
Now that I bragged about this course (which I’ll be rewatching with my 2nd baby and a refresher), let’s jump into what to expect during the first week!
First week of Baby Led Weaning Meals
I planned out our entire first week of baby led weaning meals in advance.
Since I worked from home at the time, it was important for me to make sure this new experience was convenient for me and fun for my little guy!
Not to mention, the BLW course by feeding littles (scroll up for the savings code) gave so many great food selections and suggestions to start with that it made no sense not to prep these foods in advance.
The baby led weaning meals we opted to go with were:
BLW Day 1: Ripe Avocado
BLW Day 2: Sweet Potato Wedges
BLW Day 3: Watermelon
BLW Day 4: Baby Pancakes & Banana Wedges
BLW Day 5: Baked Pear Wedges
BLW Day 6: Steamed Broccoli
BLW Day 7: Crock Pot Shredded Chicken
The old rule of thumb was to wait a couple of days before introducing new food to make sure the baby doesn’t have any allergic reaction to the food(s) being offered.
It’s been debunked that it’s really not necessary to wait that long anymore.
However, if your child does have a family history of food allergies, it’s best to discuss food offering with your pediatrician before hand.
If you’re totally new to baby led weaning, I’d suggest reading this entire post and considering a baby led weaning course.
When can you start baby led weaning?
It’s important to remember that all babies develop differently, that being said, when it comes to baby led weaning, there’s some key signs you’ll want to pay attention for:
- Your baby should be able to sit mostly on their own.
They should also be able to sit up when seated in a high chair (they shouldn’t be falling/slouching to the side or bobbling their heads around).
- Your little one should begin to use the up & down/open & close motion of their mouths.
(this will allow them to move food from the back to front/ front to back of the mouth)
- They should be able to grasp an item/piece of food and bring it to their mouth on their own.
- MOST babies have these signs above down at or around the 6-month mark.
If your baby isn’t ready, don’t force them.
The point of baby led weaning is to be fun, encouraging, but more importantly for BABY to be in charge so they can really get the benefits of leading themselves to their food (hence the term “Baby Led”).
Whenever you’re in doubt or need help, it’s important you talk these things over with your baby’s pediatrician or a dietician at minimum.
Here’s an excellent post by Feeding Littles that explains this concept a little more in-depth (after all, they are a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & OTL/R).
Don’t forget, if you end up purchasing their Feeding Babies Online Course – code FITMOMMYSTRONG saves you $10 off!
Baby led weaning gagging in the first week
Baby’s gag reflex is one of the main reasons parents scare away from the baby led weaning approach. As scary as it can be, it is part of the process.
Now, the important thing to note is if your baby isn’t ready to eat and experiences often choking on foods, please reevaluate and speak with your pediatrician.
This is also another key reason to make sure you know what to do in the even your baby starts choking on foods. If you notice your baby is actively choking on a piece of food, DO NOT PLACE YOUR HANDS IN THEIR MOUTH!
This can potentially cause the item to lodge even farther into their airway when our efforts should be focused on getting it out.
If you need more help when it comes to baby led weaning and choking, I encourage you to check out these pages:
So yes, your baby will very likely ‘gag’ in the beginning as they learn to eat and as you read the two highlighted posts above you’ll learn it’s completely normal and good!
It’s your baby’s natural way of preventing themselves from choking!
So if you notice your baby gagging up a piece of food, please don’t put your fingers in their mouth trying to get it (emphasizing this one again).
To see the difference between gagging vs. choking – you can check out BabyLedWeanTeam on Instagram for an awesome post about this topic (it’s important to understand the difference before feeding your babes).
What kinds of first foods to offer baby during the first week?
The key to offering foods during the beginning of baby led weaning is to offer pieces of food baby can grasp (strengthen their prince grasp), is soft enough to smash between 2 fingers, but doesn’t fall apart when grasping.
It can be a little tricky at first when trying to prepare the perfect texture of foods, but below are some AMAZING food selections to try out:
- Baked Sweet Potato Wedges/Fingers
- Ripe Avocado Wedges
- Soft Steamed Broccoli (leave stem long enough for baby to grab onto)
- Baked Asparagus
- Turkey or Chicken Meatballs (offer them whole & juicy so baby can grab and gnaw on them)
- Soft Baked Cinnamon Apples
In fact, many experts recommend to “Feed the Rainbow”.
This means when you think of a rainbow, it has different colors. Within each color lays various food choices, here’s an example of what I mean:
- Raspberries (smashed)
- Tomato strips
- Red Bell Peppers
- Strawberry Slices
- Butternut Squash
- Papaya (remove skin & seeds)
- Carrots (steamed/roasted in strips)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Yellow Carrot
- Grapes (sliced longways)
Remember, it’s totally ok to add spices and flavor to your foods too!
The first week or so of baby led weaning is simply offering your little one exposure to new tastes and textures so they can get used to this brand new adventure on how to handle and eat food!
When adding spices and flavors, try to limit sodium and sugars. And most importantly, do NOT offer honey to your little one under 1 year old. Their little systems are not developed enough to handle honey.
When it comes to preparing these foods remember, you want them to be graspable, soft for baby to mash between their gums, and always always keep a close eye on your baby during this time.
What Kind Of Baby Led Weaning Schedule Should You Follow?
When just starting out, I picked one meal/day and stuck with it for 2 weeks.
Once our son began to really get the grasp of eating solids more comfortably and efficiently, I upped to 2 meals per day until eventually, we hit 3 meals/day.
I found breakfast was the easiest meal to start with since he was always the most hungry in the mornings compared to dinner.
One key point to remember is that baby will still rely on most of their daily nutrients to come from either breast milk or formula.
So even if they’re a bit hesitant to take the plunge to solids, it’s not the end of the world.
“Food before one is just for fun”
This is a common concept floating all around tied into staring solids or baby led weaning.
Though starting foods IS important to focus on baby experiences new tastes, feels and textures, it isn’t necessarily ‘just for fun’.
If you’re a breastfeeding mama like me, you may not know this yet.
Once baby reaches 6 months old, breast milk alone doesn’t contain enough iron to supplement baby’s needs. Hence the importance of iron-rich foods through solids and baby led weaning!
Some really great iron-rich food options for baby are:
Delaying the process to begin solids or baby led weaning can make it harder for your baby to develop the ability to chew and swallow.
Offering foods when baby is ready is prime to help them develop these huge milestone abilities to chew and swallow their food (along with plenty of other developmental milestones).
Sometimes you’ll hear stories of parents who are too afraid to start solids, they’ll wait until 10-12 months and then struggle because by then their little one has absolutely no interest in eating solids not to mention they truly struggle to try to do so!
You see, although the first week of this new adventure can be a bit scary, it has many benefits for your baby!
Follow a baby led weaning meal plan
Hands down, the ONE thing that I can attribute our success to, was using the Feeding Littles Online Course (and the meal planning ideas within the course).
I’m a huge believer in the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”. And who wants to make things rockier than they need to be when it comes to giving babies their first foods?
Don’t forget, you can grab the Feeding Littles Online Course today, for $10 off with code: FITMOMMYSTRONG
Baby Led Weaning First Week: Final Thoughts
Baby-Led Weaning is a great way to introduce whole foods to your child for the first time as they start getting their nutritional needs from sources outside of milk or formula.
Of course, with any new chapter, there may be a few hiccups. This is why we suggest following a meal plan like the one Feeding Littles provides and refreshing your “what to do if my baby is choking” skills — you can never be too prepared as your baby is literally learning how to swallow foods.
If your child has food allergies or any possible chance of having them, keeping your child’s pediatrician in the loop so that you can come up with a plan together to prevent any dangerous situations is important.
You may have heard the term “food before one is just for fun”, however, food in the first year of life helps your child build their developmental skills such as:
- hand-eye coordination
- chewing skills
- prince grasp development
- sensory exposure (to various tastes, textures, and smells)
You see, baby led weaning is an exciting time, but also an important one. Whether you choose to give them pureed food for their first meal or pieces of food to initiate the baby led weaning way, let your baby learn at their own pace.
What baby led weaning questions do you still have? Comment them below!
Read more baby led weaning articles here: