Doulas of Des Moines
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The Doula Dish

The Truth About Baby-led Weaning

Baby-led weaning is the hot new parenting trend, and chances are you’ve heard all about how fabulous it is for your baby and how easy it is for you! “Baby-led weaning is so great!” they’ll tell you. “It’s SO much easier than purees!” they’ll say.

Now, I’m not going to say they’re lying to you…. but let’s just say there are a lot of truths they're not exactly highlighting. As a parent who enthusiastically embraced baby-led weaning (and is now knee-deep in the ramifications of that decision), I want to shed some light on those truths. So here are some things you’ve probably heard about baby-led weaning, and the unfiltered truths they’re hiding.

What they’ll tell you:


“Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” —

The truth:

Baby-led weaning, quite simply, is spending all day trying to keep your baby from putting things in their mouth so they don’t choke…. except at mealtime when you encourage them to put things in their mouth whilst silently praying they don’t choke.

What they’ll tell you:

They just eat what you eat!

The truth:

Every meal you will ponder: can this be cut into the right shape? Cooked to be the right texture? How terrified will I be watching them eat this? About half the time, you’ll make them a separate meal.


What they'll tell you:

It's so easy: they feed themselves, so you can relax and eat your own meal, AND you don't have to put all that effort into pureeing foods!

The truth:

Nothing is less relaxing than watching your baby put non-mashed up food in their mouth. Remember how you spent all day trying to protect them from choking?! And any effort you save by not pureeing the food is more than made up in clean up. Have you seen those cake smashes people do for their kids’ first birthdays? With baby-led weaning, you can have that level of mess at every meal!

What they’ll tell you:

Your baby may gag a bit on table foods, which is nothing to worry about (but can be a little scary as parents sometimes think it looks like choking). 

The truth:

You baby WILL gag, you will be sure they’re choking, and you will panic and be terrified to feed them ever again.

When it comes down to it….

Baby-led weaning is challenging, nerve-wracking, and time-consuming. But it sure is a lot of fun for babies! And, to be perfectly honest, it’s actually a lot of fun as a parent, too. So if Baby-led weaning sounds like something you want to try, I say GO FOR IT! …Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.