One of my biggest concerns with baby led weaning was how we were going to make it work with Charlie’s daycare. Baby led weaning is a fairly new concept versus the traditional puree route, and it also requires that the caregiver is educated both on the method and appropriate CPR techniques. Charlie has gone full time to a wonderful daycare since she was 4 months old. We didn’t start her on solids until she was 6 months old, but long before then her teachers were eager to give her solids. Our daycare requires parents to send meals at all ages, so this atleast put us in the driver seat for when “solids” would happen. We gave her teachers a high level summary of why we were holding off and explained the method we were going to use. I assured them that I would send food when I was more comfortable with it all. After all, for the first month we just offered one meal a day (dinner) and only started offering breakfast well into month 7.
I’m not going to lie, I was petrified to send solids with her. What if she gagged and they intervened and made it worse? What if they tried to feed her themselves? If she really did choke, would they know what to do? I thought back to our own start and remembered how empowering education was. So, I sent the Baby Led Weaning cookbook and Born to Eat book to school for the teachers to browse. They were fascinated with it all and asked great questions. We had good dialogue in the weeks leading up to us sending food. (Born to Eat also has a good tear out for caregivers!)
Finally, when Charlie was around 8 months, we felt confident in her abilities and decided we would start sending food. For the first day, my husband planned to take food over his lunch hour to show them how we usually approach meal time. I highly recommend this!! He was able to walk them through the process and answer any other questions. Like I said, knowledge is power. We also wrote down instructions and reminders for the teachers that they posted in the room to let any other helpers know Charlie’s routine. Additionally, for the first month, we sent food that we were extra confident Charlie could handle: steam broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, soft fruit, etc. We didn’t feel that the daycare meal was the time to rock the boat 🙂
Now, at 10 months, Charlie has lunch AND snack at daycare. She loves her meals and usually eats everything we send. We are so thankful for a daycare that accepted and supported our way of introducing solids.
One thing to note, not all daycares 1) let you bring your own food or 2) let you bring larger pieces of food, which is crucial before your baby develops his or her pincer grasp. If baby led weaning is something you are interested in, I suggest talking to potential daycare providers to gauge their comfort level with this method. And, if they are unsure, give them literature on the benefits of baby led weaning and maybe you can change their mind 😉
Find my first post on baby led weaning here.
My go-to tools and gadgets that make baby led weaning life easier:
- Born to Eat book and Baby Led Weaning cookbook
- EzPz Mat
- OXO Roll up Bibs
- Munchkin 360 Cups
- Summer Infant Pop N Sit
As always, let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!!!