For our family, baby led weaning sounded like the perfect choice. You literally feed your baby what you’re eating. Of course, there are a few things babies shouldn’t eat, like salt, sugar, and choking hazards. But for the most part, babies love trying new foods! Teeth aren’t necessary for chewing food, as any breastfeeding mother will tell you, those little baby gums are plenty strong!
To start baby led weaning, babies typically need to be six months of age, and sitting up without support. I’d also suggest talking to your pediatrician before starting solid foods, and doing some research. We got the green light from our doc, so we decided to enter the incredible world of food!
The first food we fed our little herbivore was avocado. We cut up some avocado into finger-sized pieces, making it easier for his chubby baby fingers to grab. We put them on his tray. He picked up a piece, smiled, and took a huge bite! I was terrified he would choke, but he moved the food around in his mouth, chewed it, spit out what didn’t fit, and swallowed the rest. It was amazing! And by the huge smile on his face, I knew my baby was pretty proud of himself, too.
After avocado, we started introducing a variety of different foods. We typically feed our baby a little of whatever we are eating. For example, if I’m making sweet potato flautas, I’ll save some baked sweet potato wedges for the baby. If I’m adding salt to a dish, I remove his portion before salting.
So what do vegan babies eat? Whatever their parents eat! Our baby eats everything! Broccoli, bell peppers, cucumbers, oatmeal, ravioli, tahini, beans, quinoa, homemade veggie burgers, tofu, cantaloupe, coconut butter, fresh tomatoes, kale smoothies… And those are just a few of his favorite foods!
What are the perks of feeding your baby chunks of food instead of puréed?
Well, for one, I don’t have to buy or prepare special food for my baby. Most of the time, I know he can eat whatever we’re having. This saves me lots of time and energy, and dinner time is way less stressful. It also teaches him to feed himself, and he stops when he’s full and doesn’t overeat. He’s also getting some great fine motor skill practice picking up chunks of food! And there’s perks for me, too: we have been eating healthier as a family, since we are motivated to serve our baby healthy, whole foods!
My favorite part, though, is sitting down to dinner as a family, pulling the high chair in close, and talking to my baby as we eat our food together. I feel like we are equals at the table. We eat. We chat. We laugh. Sometimes we get a little (or a lot!) on the floor.
I know plenty of loving families that feed their babies puréed baby food, and I’m not knocking that. Feeding a six month old chunks of food can be intimidating! For our family, I’m glad we chose not to go the mush route. It’s been a really fun adventure!
Samuel’s first bite of food!