How I Started Unintentional Baby Led Weaning

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The introduction of solid foods is one of the most important–and potentially fun–milestones in baby’s development. I say “potentially fun” because it’s amazing to watch baby discover new flavors and textures in food…except when it’s not.

Let me explain. When we first started Xaviana on solids, she ate everything we offered, and seemed to love every bite. I used the Baby Bullet to concoct a variety of fresh and delicious purees, and she happily ate them right off the spoon. It was an immensely pleasant experience for all involved, and people often marveled at Xaviana’s adventurous eating.

Then, around month 10, she began to refuse spoon-feeding. If I let her hold the spoon and feed herself, she was fine (although covered in food). But if I tried to help her eat, she usually cried and grabbed for the utensil.

At first I thought she just needed something to occupy her busy hands during feedings. After all, she enjoys rubbing and pinching my skin while nursing. (It feels awesome, almost like a myofascial release massage, but that’s a subject for another blog post.) So I tried giving her toys or a spoon while using another spoon to feed her. This worked for a while, but unfortunately, my little monkey is too smart to accept that trickery for long. I decided that I would simply let her feed herself, and we thus began our unintentional journey into the world of baby led weaning.

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Baby led weaning (BLW), sometimes called baby led feeding, is the technique of introducing solids into baby’s diet as soft finger foods, without using a spoon or making any purees. Non-finger foods may be offered with a spoon so that baby can learn to use one. I was skeptical of this approach when I initially introduced solids, mostly because Xaviana was eating so well from the spoon, but since her mini-rebellion, BLW has been a lifesaver.

Technically, we’re doing a variation of BLW, since I still serve Xaviana some of her favorite purees, like sweet potatoes and avocado, but I let her go to town with them instead of spoon-feeding her. She eats these, as well as her Greek yogurt and oatmeal, with a combination of her fingers and a spoon. I also began serving her small portions of the family meals, such as salmon, chili, and chicken, either cut into small, manageable chunks or shredded in the Baby Bullet. Finally, I introduced her to veggie spears, baby carrots, fruit chunks, toast strips, pita bread, and other easy-to-munch finger foods.

Our mealtime flexibility paid off–Xaviana seems to love self-feeding, and she’s getting better at it every day. Sure, some food gets dropped, but I’ve noticed that more and more has been making it to her mouth lately. Yesterday, she fed herself a heaping spoonful of sweet potatoes–yay for hand-eye coordination! Mealtimes are more pleasant, and best of all, Xaviana is eating well at the table and at the breast!

Moms out there, what are your experiences with introducing solids? Are you a fan of BLW, traditional spoon-feeding, or a fusion of the two? I’d love to hear your experiences!

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10 Baby Products I Can’t Live Without

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Choosing items for your baby registry is one of the most mind-boggling parts of pregnancy. There are so many baby products out there, so how do you know the best ones?

If you’re like me, you’ll comb through Amazon and blogs for reviews, and, of course, you’ll ask your mommy friends. This is what I did, and I must say, Xaviana is well-equipped, but our house is minimally cluttered, since I picked space-saving products that will grow with her. Here are the 10 baby products I can’t live without:

  1. Baby K’Tan – A must-have for parents and babies on-the-go, the K’Tan is worth more than its weight in gold. (It’s so freaking light!) It’s easy-to-use–no wrapping required. Also, baby can be placed in multiple positions as he/she grows, and it takes up minimal space in your baby bag. I love it for church, travel, and running errands…and Xaviana loves it just about any time, since she can snuggle up to me like a little kangaroo. The only caveat: the K’Tan is sized according to the wearer, so my hubby can’t use my size X-Small carrier, and would need one of his own if he wanted to carry Xaviana this way.
    The Baby K'Tan carrier grows with your little one. Here Xaviana is at 3 months...

    The Baby K’Tan carrier grows with your little one. Here Xaviana is in the newborn kangaroo position…

    ...and at 5 months, in a new position in the carrier.

    …and a few months later in the hug position.

  2. Diaper GenieIf you’re going to use disposable diapers, you must get one of these. The Diaper Genie has revolutionized diaper pails forever. It’s lightweight and easy-to-use, and best of all, it prevents the area next to your changing table from smelling like a litter box, which leads me to my next must-have…
  3. PooPoose – This compact changing pad features an indentation in the middle where baby easily settles in, plus it has a velcro strap to pin down your little wiggle-worm. It can fit on any dresser, so you don’t need to buy a special changing table that you’ll sell in a few years!
  4. Baby Bullet – If you want to make your own baby food, the Baby Bullet is a must-have. It’s more than a blender–it’s a total solid food meal-planning system, with a freezer tray that allows you to prep ahead, and cute little jars to use right away. The enclosed booklet is invaluable as you plan baby’s first meals.
  5. Fisher Price Snuggabunny Cradle and Swing – This swing is freaking amazing. It plays music or ambient sounds, rocks back and forth, and has a rotating mirrored mobile above baby’s head. Xaviana loved it as a newborn, and it was the perfect way to calm her down if she was fussy or help her to sleep if she was restless. At six months, she still grins every time I strap her into the swing. It’s her favorite place to spend a bit of mellow down-time.
  6. SkipHop diaper bag – This bag is both stylish and practical. We have the gray chevron design, which is the ideal unisex style–neither my hubby nor I mind carrying it. It has multiple compartments, and is the perfect size for all of baby’s essentials. It’s also very durable; we’ve lugged it around nearly every day for the last six-and-a-half months, and it still looks great.
  7. Nook PebbleLIte mattress – It’s a high-end mattress, and it’s worth every penny. It’s safe, breathable, and lightweight. The firm, pebbled texture assures that baby will have a comfortable night’s sleep, and that translates into a happier, more well-rested you. What could be better?
  8. Fisher Price Whale of a Tub – Cute tub takes up minimal space in your bathroom and grows with your baby, since it has a removable insert that you can take out when baby is able to sit up. It also comes with a fun sprinkling toy–Xaviana loves when it “rains” on her.
  9. Bob Revolution jogging stroller – This stroller is made to be used with the Britax BeSafe car seat (which should also be on the must-have list, by the way) with the purchase of a simple adaptor. Bouncy tires and superior suspension give baby a cushy ride, and it folds up easily for storage. Plus, it comes in cute colors. (We have it in orange.) It has an area underneath to store all your walking/jogging essentials, and a baby shade for sunny days.
  10. Philips Avent BPA-free Soothie Pacifier – I’ve seen so many babies with these gummy pacifiers, and it’s no wonder. The soothie is the perfect shape, size, and texture for baby’s mouth, plus it’s vanilla-scented. It’s advertised for ages 0-3 months, but Xaviana still loves hers. She can put it in her own mouth, and also likes chewing on it every so often. Try it with a Booginhead pacifier holder.

Moms out there, what are your baby must-haves? Have you tried any of the products I recommended, and if so, which ones did you like? I’d love to hear your opinions!