Feeding Cruz for the first time
When did Cruz first try food? She was 27 weeks, almost 7 months old.
How did you know Cruz was ready? She was able to hold her own head up, sit up on her own, and she showed interest in food.
What did she eat for the first time? Mashed sweet potato (without skin, no salt or spices on it)
How long did she eat sweet potato for before trying something else? She ate it once a day for 3 days just to be sure there was no allergic reaction. Then we tried mashed peas that were also spoon fed.
Was she still nursing? Yes, Cruz was still nursing just as often as she was before. This was one thing I worried about because I enjoy breastfeeding her and I wasn’t ready to stop or slow down by any means. Even at 9 months she is still nursing just as much.
Did you try spoon feeding/purees or baby led weaning? The mashed sweet potato was spoon fed but I eventually switched to baby led weaning. Now I’d say I do 80% BLW and 20% purees (9 months old).
When did you decide to switch over to more BLW? After a month or so of purees I felt ready to give her solid foods that she was able to grab and feed herself. It was a slow progression from purees to BLW.
Reasons I chose to do more BLW: I wanted her to learn to feed herself, learn to regulate her intake (stop when she was full etc), explore the new textures of it with her hands, learn to the motion/coordination of putting food in her mouth, easier for me than steaming/pureeing everything. Also, once she got her 2 bottom teeth in (right around 7 months, fully came in by 8 months) I felt even more comfortable giving her solids.
What was her reaction to trying the sweet potato? She was eager to try it but then she seemed a little confused/didn’t like it (see video below). Towards the end she started to gag, which is perfectly normal and understandable – I mean all she has ever been used to is breastmilk!! Try to put yourself in your baby’s position and think about it from their perspective. Bottom line: don’t give up just cuz you think your baby doesn’t like it. Keep trying – try different foods, different textures, different time of day (instead of eating in the morning try closer to bedtime)!!
Were you scared to give her solid food? YES!!!! Terrified!!! But I knew I had to suck it up and do it, otherwise I’d let me own fear get in the way of allowing Cruz to explore this new chapter of eating. Side note when watching video below: It’s important to know that there is a difference between gagging and chocking. Keep reading for further explanation.
Baby Led Weaning
What is it? Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a natural way to introduce your baby to foods. You skip the purees and spoon feeding and allow your baby to feed themselves with solid foods.
A few BLW foods Cruz has tried over the past 3 months: sliced kiwi, diced avocado, scrambled eggs, cucumber cut into matchsticks, bell pepper cut into matchsticks, shredded grilled chicken, 3 ingredient waffle, whole wheat toast cut into strips plain or topped with almond butter, blueberries sliced in half, sliced strawberries, broccoli, beans (rinsed with water), whole wheat pasta.
Chocking vs Gagging
Katie Ferraro of Fourtified Family, a dietitian, my nutrition professor a few years ago, and mother of 5, put it best:
Choking happens when the airway is totally blocked, which is rare. Coughing and spluttering means the baby is dealing with the food, and although it’s hard to stand by and watch, an age-appropriate baby will be able to successfully get out of the gag.
A baby who can place food in his mouth is in control, whereas someone else placing food in the baby’s mouth (or by spoon) can actually increase the risk of choking. Gagging is a natural part of learning to eat and a baby led approach to feeding does not increase the risk of choking.
If your baby does choke it is important to know how to do the heimlich (Infant heimlich video here). Luckily Cruz hasn’t choked, but if it ever does happen I feel confident I will be able to help her.
Purees / Spoon feeding
Purees that Cruz loves: sweet potato, peas, banana, apples
Puree combos (food is steamed then blended): apples and carrots, apples and zucchini, pear mango sweet potato
When do you give her purees: Now that she is mostly doing BLW I have been using purees as a quick snack
Cruz is wearing Bumkins Waterproof Bib
Timeline Summary of feeding Cruz
• Started with purees and spoon fed them to Cruz. I also allowed her to try to spoon fed herself (used these spoons)
• Started with mashed sweet potato and fed her once a day for 3 days in case of an allergic reaction
• To make feeding easier for her I’d pretend to eat the food and then immediately try to put it in her mouth, hoping that she would copy me (this worked really well). I also tried to make it fun by doing an airplane motion and noises with a spoonful of food
• During this time I was very tense and scared of her chocking, slowly I got more comfortable by doing research and knowing that if anything goes down I could handle it
• Drinking smoothies, eating mushy foods (peas, avocado, banana etc), transitioning slowly to BLW
• 2 teeth coming in on the bottom – made me feel more comfortable about giving her solid foods
• She tried oreo ice cream & peanut butter for the first time (I want to teach her the same approach I have with food, balance)
• At her 9 month check up the doc told us we need to beef her up cuz she was in a very low percentile for height and weight. This was the kick I needed to hit the ground running with BLW!
• Cruz eats what I eat now, only I make sure it’s chopped/sliced that is best for her
• At almost 10 months I feel comfortable enough to give her a huge waffle to take tiny bites out of (she is such a big girl)
• I’m calm and right next to her when she eats in case anything happens