When McKenzie was about 5 months, our doctor gave us the green light to go ahead and offer her real foods. She was sitting up on her own so we started with spoon feeding oatmeal with breastmilk and then began to offer her different puree’s. I had registered for all of the contraptions to make and store my own baby food, but I didn’t even bother. We only bought the organic jarred food.
I had heard about BLW when McKenzie was born, and started to look into it more when I started to feed McKenzie food. I noticed from one of my favorite bloggers whatlolalikes.com that she was doing BLW with her daughter. She introduced an infant course from Feeding Littles and I was intrigued. I told the pediatrician at Kenzie’s 6 months appointment that I wanted to try it and he was apprehensive and worried about McKenzie choking. I took the infant course from Feeding Littles and decided to start implementing it into my routine.
At first, I would just offer her the puree or oatmeal on a loaded spoon or num num. These are really expensive right now, so some other options are these choo me. The idea here is to get your baby to learn to feed themselves. Honestly, it’s the messiest thing to do with your baby. My Mom and husband thought I was nuts for starting to do this, but I truly think this is why McKenzie is such a great, adventurous eater. It takes a lot of practice and a lot to get use to, but I wouldn’t change a thing looking back.
The course is super helpful. They show you how important posture is, and foot support on your baby’s highchair. We first had this chicco highchair in this picture, but once McKenzie’s legs got too long for me to keep her legs elevated for balance, her feet no longer touched the base. I also put towels under her bum so that she was elevated and could see what she was eating. We ultimately decided to get her a better highchair. After doing a bunch more research, we went with the Abiie beyond highchair. It’s a bit pricey, but it really makes all the difference. Once you really think about how uncomfortable you are with your feet hanging or if you couldn’t see what you’re doing or eating you would get frustrated and give up too.
I have also learned to continue to offer your baby even if they aren’t eating. Sometimes, it can take a baby 30 exposures to finally eat something. I don’t want to claim that McKenzie is a perfect eater, she is a toddler after all. Sometimes, if I don’t have much in my house to make her I will throw together Annie’s organic Mac & cheese, add meatballs and a veggie. She will usually hand me the veggie out of her bowl. I’ll say “Oh thank you so much” or something that doesn’t give the veggie a negative connotation. She will eventually start to eat them. I don’t make a scene or force her to eat them, all you can do is offer them. I also give her a small portion of everything I’m offering, even fruit, and let her ask for more. We started this as a baby with sign language. My husband thought I was nuts for saying “more” and signing it anytime she pointed for more. Eventually, it clicks for them and she started to sign to ask for more. Now she will say “wa wa” which I know is her telling me she wants more, but I make her say “more please”. It’s probably the cutest thing when she says please for something.
This is McKenzie eating Lobster Bisque with our family on Christmas. I think this was one of her first times having soup, holy moly what a mess. She loved every second of it. Kenzie really enjoys eating, when she sees everyone around her enjoying their food it’s exciting for her. We do our best at home to eat all of our meals together. I’ll usually turn the TV on if it’s just me getting dinner ready, but then she knows it goes off for meals. She gets way too distracted if the TV is on, so we engage and talk about our meal during feeding.
I have to say, I almost ALWAYS get comments on how great of an eater McKenzie is. She is so good at restaurants because we keep our routine pretty similar and consistent. It’s all about finding balance with what you’re eating and really thinking about what you are feeding both your child and yourself. We really don’t ever force her to eat her dinner, if she just wants to play with it that is fine with us. I know this can be really frustrating for parents, but I promise this course has put my mind at ease on all things feeding. We give Mckenzie desserts sometimes, but we don’t make a big deal out of it or call things “healthy” or “unhealthy”.
Feeding Mckenzie has been a very fun experience for me overall. Once I got over the mess, I really had fun offering her different foods and watching her learn to feed herself. This is also a huge time saver even though it’s a mess. I can feed myself, and not have to spoon feed her every bite. Even if you are worried about the choking aspect of BLW, I think offering loaded spoons or forks is a huge game changer. It’s also great for sensory play to let your kiddo get in there and feel different textures of foods. If I’m offering McKenzie something new, I always offer it with something I know she will eat. Consistency is key, if they don’t eat it on the first try, offer it again and again. This is how I got McKenzie to love salmon. Dips are a favorite for Kenzie too, give her some ketchup and she will dip anything in it. I’ve had to hold my breath about a few things I’ve watched her dip in ketchup, but I don’t want to startle her or tell her she’s not doing something right because she may not want to eat it again.
Even if you don’t take the feeding littles course, atleast follow them on Instagram. They really give great tips on helping to feed your kiddo and they show great products for your kids as well.
Here is an example of what McKenzie might eat within a day.
Breakfast: Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes! (I let her help me make these, I honestly think she enjoys her food more when she helps to make it. She will ask for more 2 times!)
Lunch: Organic Spinach tortellini, orange slices(she helps to peel the orange), and usually I will offer peas or green beans in hummus.
Snack: It depends who gives this to her. Sometimes she gets pretzels from Brian, otherwise I try and offer an apple with some peanut butter or even some goldfish.
Dinner: My favorite thing to make with McKenzie is tacos/burritos. I will put 1-2lbs of chicken breasts in the slow cooker and add a jar of salsa and beans. We pull that apart and put it on a small tortilla with cheese and avocado. Sometimes I make brussels sprouts or offer rice or sweet potatoes.
I try to offer something different every day. If McKenzie has something 2 days in a row, I know she will ask for it again the next day. Planning ahead, always having some sort of backup frozen veggies on hand, and using the kitchen helper to let her watch what I’m doing – safely of course.
Let it be known that we have our bad days too. One time I told McKenzie we were having an apple for a snack and she threw a fit. I then let her pick her own apple from the bowl, she thought she was so cool and willingly went into her chair to eat it. Other days she will move her food around her plate, we will then give her mini tongs or stack her food and all of a sudden she will start to eat.