Baby led weaning is my favorite approach to feeding babies. Today I’m sharing our fourth journey into starting baby led weaning, along with why we started this one more quickly and my varied approach to it.
Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you tell yourself you’re not worried about something, but then find yourself basically talking to every single person about said thing because, well, deep down there’s worry.
That’s where I was at with Holland after her 6 month check up. She’s a petite little one! My other 3 kiddos were definitely on the more petite side as well too, however, the other 3 pretty much followers they’re growth curves. Whether it was at the 10th percentile or 25th, they mostly stayed in their lane.
Holland started out as my biggest baby at 8lb 2oz (she was 2 weeks late), then every month she kept getting lower on the growth curve. She was growing and gaining weight at every check up, but just a bit slower. She went from around the 25th percentile, to 10th, to 6th, to 4th then 3rd percentile at 6 months. She was exactly 13lb at 6 months. Also petite at 5th percentile in height as well.
As a mom of course I’m worried about my milk supply. Am I not feeding her enough? Do I need to supplement? She’s a happy baby and from my view doesn’t seem upset and hungry after nursing, but I want her to be healthy and growing as her body should.
Our pediatrician told me she wasn’t really concerned since my kiddos err on the smaller side, but that since she’s 6 months to not delay the solids and get started right away.
And we did! I intentionally put her in her chair 3 times a day, whereas typically I would start it once or twice a day as we eased into baby led weaning.
Starting baby led weaning
I also took my approach a little differently the first week. I fully believe in baby led weaning and letting children feed themselves, but that first week I wanted her to actually get some food in her tummy because I know it takes some time for the brain to register that the food she’s eating helps her to feel full. So instead of just letting her grab the food, I helped by putting bites of the food into her mouth. She was interested and curious and it wasn’t forceful (she opened her mouth for it). The foods where the same foods on her tray (as opposed to purées), but I’d get a little piece of ground beef, banana or avocado, whatever it may be, and feed it to her via a spoon or fork, along with letting her practice eating.
That happened for about 1 week and then woah, she took off with it! When friends would ask me about baby led weaning and wondered when their baby would actually start eating food in greater amounts, my reply was always around 8 months, because that’s when my first 3 took off with it.
Holland took off after 1 week. And this girl started putting down so much food!
Here’s a glimpse of her nursing and real food eating combo. I’ll put times but know that they vary from day to day depending on when she wakes for the day and what we’ve got going on. If we’re away from the house I don’t offer her food just yet (it’s so messy!). If I’m teaching a class I just bring a bottle of pumped milk and even try to nurse her right before teaching so she’s getting a double dose of milk (from me and the bottle).
I follow the EAT-WAKE-SLEEP pattern as much as possible. We’ve done this from the get go and she knows that after sleeping food comes.
7am wake up and nurse
7pm bed time
She may wake 1-2 times at night until the morning. Sometimes she sleeps until 4am, sometimes she wakes around 10pm and then maybe 6am. There isn’t always consistency in her nighttime wakes but since starting solids she’s definitely slept much better.
How’s my milk supply doing after increasing solids?
Still the same! I pump just about every morning on one side (I nurse on the other side at night) and will get about 4 ounces. I know every one produces different amounts of breast milk but that’s good for me! So while she’s eating a TON of food, my milk supply is still staying the same.
Alrighty friends, I’m calling this part 1 and for part 2 we’ll get into the foods we’ve offered! If you have any questions about baby led weaning or specific foods leave a comment below and I’ll get to them in the next post!
Do you have any tips for fully weaning from nursing? Mine is 16 months old, he nurses first thing in the morning and before bed at night, while at day care he drinks regular milk and one of my pumped bottles. I still have to pump 2-3 times while at work but I am about ready to go back to normal, I just don’t know how to approach it. A lot fo what I’ve read talks about slowly removing one of the sessions at a time but nothing talks about pumping/engorgement. Got any advice?
Hi Nikki! Thanks for your question. I would agree with the approach of removing one session at a time and starting with the one that is least convenient for you. If you’re pumping 2-3 times at work, maybe reduce to 1-2 and adding more time between the sessions. Say they are 3 hours apart, stretch it to 4 hour, then 5 hours. That slowly tells your body that less milk can be produced. Does that make sense? I hope it helps!
[…] part 1 all about her weight and why we pushed to get solids going more quickly be sure to check out starting baby led weaning part 1! For part 2 I’m going to chat all about the foods she’s been […]
I have started already and your tips make perfect sense to me. It can be a messy business for a while but my little one just loves this tactile approach to food.
Wow!! baby led weaning is very essential for every mothers their baby. Thanks a lot Heather for sharing such an informative article. I have gotten much information and You are inspiring me for baby care. I’m sure most people can take notes from this article. One thing most people lack experience when feeding their baby. I hope this tips will help me for my elder’s daughter.
Thanks Katie! I sure hope it is helpful for you and other mamas!
[…] to dive into starting solids with baby led weaning (my favorite way to feed babies!). I shared in baby led weaning part 1 that she took of with food after just 1 week! And dang, she really did. Once we got going, she […]