Baby Led Solids

Many mothers know that successful breastfeeding is begun and maintained by following their baby’s cues. The introduction of baby to the world of foods does not have to end that cue-based relationship. By practicing baby led solids, the introduction of table foods can be a seamless integration into the baby’s diet without inhibiting the breastfeeding relationship.

Babies provide lots of cues as to when they are ready to begin eating table foods. Some of the most obvious include sitting up unassisted and losing the tongue thrust reflex. Other indications that a baby is ready for table foods include the development of the pincher grasp, and grabbing and reaching for foods. Most babies reach these milestones at about 6 months, some a little earlier, some later. Many babies let us know that they are ready to start eating simply by unexpectedly grabbing something from their mother’s plate and chowing down!

When practicing baby led solids, there is no need to mash or puree foods and spoon feed them to the baby. Good starting foods are soft items such as bananas or avacados, allowing them to pick it up and feed it to themselves. Other items may need minimal preperation, such as steaming carrots to soften them, or slicing meats into french fry shapes for easy grabbing and to prevent choking on large bites. There is no need to prepare special meals, just give baby a little of what the family is eating. Let baby decide when they have had enough. As long as breastfeeding on demand continues, almost all babies will eat what they need nutritionally without encouragement.

Baby led solids is a low-key way of introducing solids, that allows babies to continue on demand feeding, and recognizing their own hunger cues. Babies eat when they are developmentally ready, and go right to feeding themselves, skipping the spoon feedings that can trigger the gag reflex, and it reduces the chance of overfeeding interfering with the breastfeeding relationship. Overall, it is a pleasant way to bond with your baby over mealtimes and introduce the baby to the world of food.

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