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13 Common Baby Led Weaning Issues and What To Do About Them

We’ve long joked that Baby-Led Weaning is thelazy parents way to feed your baby. We say that only partly in jest because truly Baby -Led Weaning often comes naturally to the baby and from there you just follow your baby’s lead. we’ve been doing this long enough though that we know it doesn’t come so naturally to all parents and some babies also seem to struggle a bit more with learning how to eat solids. These are the common issues we see and are asked about as well as what we reckoned to do about them. You are welcome!

1. Spitting food:

Spitting food is VERY normal and actually an essential skill your baby is learning and honing with Baby Led Weaning and the transition to solids. Your baby is learning how to move food around in his mouth, how to keep it in his mouth, and what to do if a piece is too big. 

What to do: basically nothing on this one! We want the baby to spit out food as they learn to chew. If your baby is 9-12 months and spits everything out still, we recommend starting to teach your baby about the idea of swallowing by showing him or her how you do it in a very exaggerated way. Eat the exact same foods with your baby and let your baby see that you’re chewing up that food and swallowing it. You can show this by opening your mouth to show the chewed food, then closing your mouth and swallowing while using exaggerated hand movements to show that the food moves from your mouth through your throat down to your belly. Say, “I chew the food and swallow it down to my belly.”

2. Gagging

This is a reflex and is an essential part of learning to eat solids. It is actually one of the most important oral reflexes for an infant learning to eat solids foods because it helps protect against choking. 

What to do:   If you feel like your baby is putting too much food in their mouth leading to gagging, you can help your baby learn to slow down by telling him, “sloooow” and “that’s too much.” You can also coach him to spit out a large bite by putting some food in your mouth then opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue to push the food out into your hand. Then hold your hand out in front of your baby to indicate you want him or her to spit like you just did. For more detail on this, we have a whole post on over stuffing up on Solid Starts which you can read HERE. 

3. Refusing foods once in a while or showing a preference for some foods

So many babies do this! This is normal and not something to be concerned about. Literature supports the idea that babies need to have MANY MANY exposures to food to determine a taste preference.