how to start solids with your baby: baby led weaning and spoon feeding

How to start solids

Spoon-Feeding, Baby-led Weaning, & Key Principles

How to Start Solids: Spoon-feeding & baby-led Weaning

Which method to use? The answer is: it's up to YOU! You may come across a parenting debate today around what the "best" way to start solids is, often framed as "purées versus baby-led weaning (BLW)". This is not the most useful dichotomy for a few reasons. First, you can do both! Some parents spoon-feed purées sometimes and let baby feed themselves other times. Also, BLW incorporates purées too, pre-loaded on a spoon for babies to feed themselves. Finally, spoon-feeding at first doesn't mean spoon-feeding forever; as long as baby transitions to some self-feeding over their first year, they'll be great. The bottom line is you get to decide based on comfort level and what works for your family.

Key principles for starting solids (regardless of what method you choose!)

start simple when introducing solids
Start simple

Start with one ingredient or food at a time

Soon, introduce more complex flavors and textures (herbs, spices, multiple ingredients together, etc.)

You do not need to give foods in any special order

expose your baby to variety when introducing solids
Expose to variety

Offering variety in flavors, colors, and textures helps mitigate picky eating later on

It also ensures broader nutrient intake

We all get stuck in ruts! Try even small variations and avoiding offering the same food 2 days in a row

respect babys cues when introducing solids
Respect baby's cues

Let your baby control the pace and amount; they know when they're full

Babies often do not eat much at first or eat more some days and less others

If they turn their head away or keep lips shut, they are done eating! Forcing more can cause negative associations with food

be a positive role model when introducing solids to your baby
Be a positive role model

If you give off stressful vibes, baby will likely get stressed by meals & food

Babies & toddlers are more likely to eat foods they see their parents and peers eating

So, enjoy your veggies, eat slowly, and try different foods in front of your baby!

stay the course when introducing solids to your baby
Stay the course

It can take >12 exposures to like a food, so keep unpopular foods in the rotation

If they refuse to try a food one day, exposure to how it looks, feels, and smells still helps set the stage for trying it another day

Instead of "they don't like x", think "they don't like x yet"

keep it fun when introducing solids to your baby
Keep it fun!

Starting solids is an exciting time to share a world of flavors and healthy eating as pleasure, not obligation

Getting messy is okay! This teaches your child about foods' sensory properties and builds confidence self-feeding

Keep it relaxed & pleasant as best you can :)

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