As a feeding specialist, I teach Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses to parents and professionals online and in person. My attendees are usually shocked when I talk about the importance of using purees in the BLW method. Here are three important reasons to incorporate purees when starting BLW.
Puree for Testing Baby’s Swallow: There’s a huge texture difference when baby transitions from swallowing breast milk (or formula) to an avocado spear. That is why I prefer to have another texture (or two) in between the stages of a thin liquid (breast/formula) to soft finger foods. Purees are a safe transitional food to make sure baby has a safe swallow with thin and/or thick purees before moving on to finger foods.
- If baby shows signs of coughing, choking or difficulties breathing with purees, seek out a Speech Language Pathologist that specializes in feeding therapy for an evaluation before moving on to finger foods.
- If baby swallows thin purees safely, try a thicker puree. Serve these two textures (thin + thick) for a few days and then move on to the BLW method. Don’t get stuck on only serving purees. This advice comes from my experience with families that only served purees and then baby was fearful of eating any other texture (which means they missed an important feeding milestones).
Puree for Testing for Allergies: Research from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) recommends the introduction of potentially allergenic foods at the same time that parents introduce solids to infants (at around 6 months of age). Although it is important for parents to test their baby for food allergies, I find that families have difficulty preparing and serving some of these foods. For example, cooking shellfish or grinding tree nuts can be difficult for a busy parent. I find that purees are a great solution for allergen introduction for the on-the-go parent.
- My favorite product for introducing allergens is called Inspired Start. This company makes delicious allergen recipes in a convenient baby food pouch (for travel). However, that doesn’t mean you have to give baby the pouch. You can pour their organic puree into the Tiny Bowl and encourage baby to work on feeding milestones like dipping and spoon-feeding with our Tiny Spoon!
Puree for Testing Multiple Textures: I find that most parents who use the BLW method shine when introducing single-ingredient foods to baby, but baby can struggle when multiple textures are introduced. That is why I use a puree/dip in my feeding method to help with safety during this transition. Here are a few ideas:
- I like to cut up fruits and vegetables (as the dipper) and use a tasty puree as a dip. I use Inspired Start’s apple + peanut and banana + tree nut recipes for fruit and veggie dipping. I also use the gluten-free sauces from Sweet Tot as my go-to purees for meats and starches.
- Use this transition time to understand what textures and tastes your baby prefers so that you can find other purees for dipping, which can help expand their food repertoire.
I choose to add purees to my feeding methodology for a variety of reasons, but the most important is safety. Talk to your pediatrician about the safe introduction of solids and have a candid conversation about allergies (especially if you have a family history). What are some ways that your family incorporates purees? #ezpzfun #tinycollection
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz