Our Journey With Introducing Solids: Successes and Failures with Baby Led Weaning and Purees

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A beautiful mess.
As a strong real food advocate and soon to be holistic nutrition practitioner, I had a little twinkle in my eye anytime I thought about the day Baby A started eating real food. After hours upon hours (upon hours) of research, I decided Baby Led Weaning (BLW) was the best choice for us. We planned to skip any kind of cereal and even purees and instead allow Baby A to feed himself foods that were suitably sized and soft enough for his little toothless mouth to handle. I had visions of sitting at the dining room table together eating our breakfast while Baby A happily munched away on slices of banana. Well, guess what? The choice wasn’t really ours to make – the baby is the one who gets to choose. A lesson I am learning over and over again as a new parent. Here is a little glimpse into our journey so far…

We decided to give Baby A his first taste of real food on Thanksgiving. He was almost six months old and we were going to be with Kevin’s family for the holiday. I thought it would be so much fun for us all to be together for this big milestone. We chose banana for the big day and cut it up, put it on a plate and placed it in front of Baby A. I thought he would immediately pick up the little banana bites and start nomming away. Instead, he tried to eat the plate. He didn’t even touch the banana. All of my BLW dreams were slowly slipping away and I was honestly a bit disappointed. I’d had big dreams for this moment and my baby was only interested in eating the tableware. We decided to take a bit of a break and try again in a few weeks. I was still exclusively breastfeeding at this point so we weren’t in any hurry.


Fast forward a few weeks to Christmastime. We decided to give it another go and cut the banana up a little different this time. Maybe Baby A preferred larger pieces of banana that he could pick up with his little baby hands. I wouldn’t say he took an actual bite of banana, but he did push it around on the tray a bit and if he got it to an area where his mouth would reach, he would bend over and put his mouth on it. Somewhat more successful than our first try, but we were starting to waste a lot of bananas.

A little better. At least he is eating some banana with his plastic.

After this second defeat, we decided to give spoon feeding a try. We decided to stick with banana so I mashed about a quarter of a banana up with a fork and stirred in a little breast milk until it was nice and mushy and we sat down at the table to give it a go. For the first few minutes, he wouldn’t even open his mouth for the spoon. I don’t think he knew what it was. We thought that seeing us eat might give him a little encouragement and it worked! He was still apprehensive at first each time we sat down to eat, but after a few tries he would open up and then look around and shake his fists excitedly for more.

I always give him a little time to “explore” his food before we get down from the highchair.

Soon after he mastered mashed banana we decided to try even more foods. To his diet, we added avocado, then mashed carrots, applesauce and sweet potatoes. With each new food, it seemed to take him  few tries to come around to it, but he happily ate all of them! He must have my independent streak, because he insists on holding the spoon and feeding himself. I usually try to keep a hand on the spoon and assist him so he doesn’t make too much of a mess.

More, please!

At some point I decided he needed to get the taste for something a little less sweet and I made peas and pureed them in the food processor. They still have a bit too much texture for him because he kind of gagged and wouldn’t swallow them. He is used to foods being pretty smooth, but even after a go-round in the food processor the peas had a lot of texture to them. I figured out that I can give him a small spoonful along with some banana or avocado and he handles it well, but on its own, we get this face…

No peas, please!

Baby A is eight months old now and we dig in to some purees once or twice a day now. He still gets the bulk of his nutrition from breast milk, but we are having fun with it and just trying not to stress. What I originally thought was a failure when he didn’t immediately jump at the chance to eat solid food, was actually not a failure at all. I had to shift my frame of mind and know that he will do things in his own time. Baby led weaning is just that…baby led. Every baby is different and there is no one method that works for every family. For now, I am letting him take the lead and sometimes that means wearing avocado on his head and that is just fine by me.

Tell me about your experience with first foods. Did you go the Baby led weaning route or start with purees?

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