baby led weaning: challenges

For today’s Munchkin Meal’s link up, we are talking about challenges we face with baby led weaning and introducing solids.

For the first month, introducing solids was really easy.  Alma was definitely ready when we started.  She acted like she’d been eating solid food her whole (short) life!

the early days

Around 7 months, she seemed to just lose interest in solids.  This was frustrating for me because we were waisting a lot of food!  But more importantly, I was worried about Alma’s weight gain.  Her nursing habits had changed around that time – she was just too distracted most of the time to get full feedings.  She’d nurse for a few minutes, but very often throughout the day (I’ve heard this described as ‘drive-by feedings’, and the phrase is appropriate).

I was worried that my already temperamental milk supply was going to suffer from all the ‘snacking’, so I was really relying on her getting a calorie boost from solids (even though, I know, I know – food before one is just for fun!).

However, despite my concerns about her weight gain, each weight check at our lactation consultant and pediatrician’s office showed that she was gaining well.  And just recently we saw at her 9 month appointment that she has jumped up in her weight percentile.  So apparently something’s working!

It seems like every few weeks, Alma will have a day or two where her appetite will increase, but for the most part, she just picks at her tray like a little bird.  A few bites of this, a few bites of that.  Whatever is actually making it to her belly, it appears to be enough for her.

One thing I did to get a little more food into her was add an afternoon snack.  She loves to munch on freeze-dried peas and some type of puff or cracker.

I also discovered that if I play around with different sizes and shapes of food, Alma will eat more heartily.  For example, I gave her a wedge of a pear, which she attempted to eat, but tossed aside after one bite.  The next time I offered it, I cut the pear into matchsticks (after reading someone’s post through Munchkin Meals, I think!) and she gobbled them up!  She will only eat bananas in big chunks.  So, some food she likes bigger wedges, or small little pieces, or matchsticks.  It’s all trial and error, I guess.

So that’s been our biggest challenge – me trying to figure out how much food Alma needs, and how she wants to eat it.  I know baby’s are supposed to be pros at regulating their food intake, so I’m doing my best to just offer her a variety of food, then sit back and let her eat (or not).

I have a random question for mamas who’ve been around the block – did your babies sometimes just swallow bites of food without chewing them?  We’re having this issue, and it makes for some…interesting diapers.  How did you encourage chewing?

*Random side note:  I’ve set up a Vegan Mama Facebook page – use the link at the top of the right hand column to get directed to my page and ‘like’ it if you want to get connected!



  1. Laura says:

    First of all, Alma Alene was the girl name we had picked out… but we had a boy instead. LOVE the name. It was my Great Aunt’s who was more like a grandma to me. Precious little girl you have there! :)
    I think that’s definitely a challenge that most breastfeeding mamas face is knowing whether or not your baby is getting “enough.” Our dietician worries sometimes about how fast our little one nurses (like five minutes, both sides, tops!), but his weight gain is consistent, so like she says, “We’ll just keep trusting him that he’s getting what he needs!” It’s hard not to worry sometimes though, I totally feel you on that one!
    As for the chewing thing, I probably look like a goober, but I make HUGE exaggerated chewing motions whenever I feed my little one, and for him, that gets him to chew pretty well! That’s all I’ve got though!! :)

  2. Kim says:

    Thank you! We love the name, too.
    Alma only eats about 5 minutes total, both sides, as well. But she eats a lot, up to 10 times a day.
    After our 9 month appointment, I’m definitely starting to relax about her weight gain/solid food intake. She seems to be doing just fine, and it’s more common for them to go through stages of slow/no weight gain as they increase mobility, etc.
    Good tip on the chewing – I’ll try that!

  3. My daughter always ate like crazy (I used to worry she ate too much!) but most of my friend’s babies were more like Alma, just picking here and there. I guess moms stress either way. :) Glad to hear she’s gaining and doing so well! I don’t really remember the swallowing food thing, hopefully it’s a short phase for you.

    • Kim says:

      That’s good to hear. She usually eats a big lunch – the same thing everyday. I’ve tried switching it up, but she just wants her favorites (veggie burger, coconut milk yogurt, and a slice of vegan cheese!).

      The swallowing food is new – maybe just some laziness? I don’t know, but it’s not with everything. I think I’ll stick with softer foods until she’s over it. No more frozen blueberries, that’s for sure!

  4. Where do you get freeze-dried peas? I love the sound of them for snacks on the go!

    Also, I love how you mentioned trying to serve food in different ways. We’ve had the same challenge at times. Sometimes H will hate a grilled cheese stick, but gobble it up when it’s cut into pieces. Silly, cute, fickle babies!

    And thanks for linking up! :)

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