Watching a six-month-old cram bits of chicken into his mouth or an eight-month old gnaw on some broccoli can be kind of, well, alarming. It's all part of a feeding technique called Baby Led Weaning — a phenomenon cool enough to have it's own abbreviation (BLW) — and we're hearing about parents doing this more and more.
The idea is that when baby is ready to eat solid food, you can skip the purée hassle and let him eat what he can grab. Parents tout it as instinctive, natural, and a good way to introduce baby to a wider variety of food. Relax; babies can swallow solid food, they just have to learn how. And learning, of course, comes by doing.
That being said, the learning process is a messy one. If you're out in public, you're probably going to draw some (judgmental) eyes. Plenty of Bumpies have been there.
"Yesterday was our first time BLWing at a restaurant. We all did great, but people kept staring. I don't know if it was out of curiousity, amazement or disgust," one mom says.
It doesn't go so well for everyone. "My BLW messes include projectile vomiting. He gags on the tiniest things," another user commented.
Lots of moms report looks of judgment and concern coming their way during BLW. But for every few haters, there are supportive strangers too. "We did have a gentlemen behind us that made us smile," says a Bump mom. "His daughter (around 6ish) was pointing at my daughter eating. The dad tells the little girl, 'See? The baby eats his vegetables and you don't.'"
Our advice for public BLW? Stick to foods less likely to make a mess, like cut-up veggies or tiny pieces of meat. And if you're at a restaurant...you might want to think about leaving a bigger tip.
Thinking about BLW, but feeling hesitant? Meet baby halfway. Use puffs or squeeze pouches of purées that are purposefully baby-friendly, but still allow baby to feed himself.
How did you start your baby on solids?