A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

I promised an update on T and her love of eating…

I’ll preface by saying that I’m in love with this form of introducing food! Baby-Led Weaning is a form of ‘self-feeding’, or allowing babies – from their very first introduction of food – to control their solid food consumption and their overall food experience. Weaning is a bit deceiving as BLW is not weaning in the formal sense (aka giving up breast milk in exchange for food), instead, it’s more of a theory of putting your baby in the driver’s seat when it comes to food (making it easier on mom and developing an awesome palate for baby).

This one decision (which I initially learned about on another blog prior to Liv’s introduction to foods, though I can’t recall which as it was so long ago…) has probably been the best child-rearing decision I’ve ever made. I hesitantly and carefully introduced Liv to BLW when she was six months old, by the time Taylor was the same age I excitedly and happily launched into BLW with full force.

You can read all about our experience the first time around (part 1! with more details on what foods we introduced and when) here.

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

That first introduction of food, so priceless!

Taylor has had not a drop of baby food (think rice cereal, cream of wheat, jars of peas) nor a blended meal (with the exception of little cups of applesauce) and instead munches on roasted veggies, chicken, fish, tortillas, cheese, fruits… whatever we’re eating for our meal.

Now that I have a three-year-old who was raised on BLW, I can look back and see the wonderful benefits that it has allowed us. Liv, for the most part, eats everything. We skipped over bland purees and invited her to dine on curry chicken or soups filled with fresh herbs and her palate has like-wise followed suit. The other night Kevin ordered oysters and Liv didn’t bat an eye at trying one (while I was turning blue in the corner). I’m coveting these moments because I know that eventually she will become more picky… as most preschoolers do… as she realizes what other kids like and dislike and as she begins to realize that she has a choice.

If you’re interested in this style of introducing food to babies, I highly recommend the formal Baby-Led Weaning book as there are too many details to go into here (I just wouldn’t do the system justice, plus it’s helpful to read up on your baby’s gag reflex and the way they develop swallowing techniques so that you can feel like a safer, smarter parent).

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Such hesitation, and then such joy with that first ‘food discovery’ :)

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Oh man though, it’s the best!

Self-feeding means that you provide a range of foods and babies explore, feel, taste, mush and gnaw. This goes on for a month or two, and then, as if a light is switched, they start to swallow and ingest. Babies control what goes into their mouth, how it goes in, when it goes in. They begin to love all flavors and they are excited to sit down to a meal.

There are no spoons, no messy purees, no making separate meals for separate members of the family, no packing cold boxes of pureed food for traveling or to the park, just babies enjoying the food that we eat everyday. (We still adhere to all doctor recommendations as to when it’s okay to introduce nuts, honey, milk, etc).

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

A few iPhone shots of Taylor’s journey. The best part is how excited she is to eat! Babies who are introduced to all foods don’t know that some of them are not supposed to be loved by children (think dishes that are well spiced, straight from the sea or ethnic foods). Everything is a special treat, whether it’s cut up dates, avocados, pad thai, roasted peppers, tri tip or a piece of toast.

My thinking is is that if babies are not introduced to unusual flavors such as rosemary, cumin, cilantro, cracked pepper… when will they learn to try and love them? We haven’t introduced any of the above herbs on their own of course, but they are all a part of regular meals.

One thing that we are especially careful with is the size of foods that are handed over to Taylor. Right now she gnaws on large, fist-sized chunks of food (sliced veggies, hunks of meat – she holds the bulk of the food and sucks/teeths from the other side) or foods that are cut up to be roughly the size of a raisin to avoid choking and to teach chewing/swallowing. Teeth are not a requirement however :). Amazing what babies can do with strong gums!

Baby-Led Weaning, Part 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

This new one leg up trick is so funny – who eats like that? This girl. All of the time. T is now 10 months old and we’ve been using BLW for just over 4 months, happy to report that we are still as in love with the concept as we were when we gave it a go with Liv.

Interested in reading more? Check out this link and this account from another mother who loves BLW.

PS You know how I am always talking about hanging planters? Well these ladies have launched an awesome kickstarter campaign and are selling their planters at amazing prices! Let’s help these ladies launch.

Liv’s Maker’s Space, Part 1

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

We all need some sort of maker’s space in our lives. We are all creative (even if just a little bit) and a place where we can freely unleash that creativity is such a nice idea. For some it’s a desk area that can be folded up into a cabinet, for others a large craft room filled with mason jars full of baubles. Even most men have their garages and an inkling to build, tinker or fix.

A maker’s space gives us freedom to create.

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s been a goal of mine to build a space where the girls can feel free to be little artists.

It’s part of the reason that our house is peppered with blackboards and writable spaces. Their little art table and chairs are probably one of my favorite miniatures in the entire house, and while they won’t fit in their room (now that there are two beds, a built-in bookshelf and a changing table in there) the hallway just outside of that space has sort of been the perfect solution.

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

The only tough part about this plan is storage. I’d love to give Liv free reign to keep crayons, construction paper, fabric remnants, pipe cleaners, little puffy balls, foam shapes and tiny scissors within arms reach, but it’s just not possible in a large square hallway that everyone uses all day long. We’ve tried clear containers on top of the table but they end up being visually so messy and unorganized.

When Patron Design reached out to me to introduce their Pomada Ottoman I knew exactly where and how I would use such a pretty and useful product. I have to admit that I am pitched with something like 30 products a week to share here on the blog, but I say yes to maybe 1 a month (as evident by the lack of product reviews) because I really want to know that a product will work well for our family before I share it with you.

I have always been a fan of sustainable design (check out this series on ‘going green‘ for more ideas) and was really excited to hear that these storage containers are made from recycled tubes from the paper industry. They are incredibly sturdy (just as furniture ought to be) and are very well designed. The mini size makes it easy to use as a 4th seat to our little table and chair set (when we have friends over this turns into the kids dining area), while also being of the right size to tuck under the table when not needed. The fact that it offers hidden storage inside for art supplies (its true function in our home!) totally makes my day.

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

This girl spends SO much time at this table. I love walking by only to catch her starting another new sticker-covered drawing (by the way, that roll of Ikea paper is probably the best investment ever). Above was a random shot that I snuck of her while she was hard at work.

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Maker's Space, Part 1 | Organizing Art Projects for Kids | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’m really loving our new ottoman-art storage-stool in one. Check out Patron Design’s website for their full line of mini and full size ottomans (the above is a mini) in a variety of hand-printed upholstery designs. I think that their tree stump side tables and hand spun llama blankets are also awesome.

This is a sponsored post by Patron Designs. They sent us the adorable ottoman you see in these photos to review, however all opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting (and allowing me to share more about) the brands that support this blog.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

You guys. I’m so thrilled to be celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend with the two moms in my life – my amazing mother and my wonderful mother-in-law.

Motherhood in and of itself has taught me so much as well. It has been by far the most life-changing, most beautiful journey (and so much more than I could have ever imagined). Thanks, my sweet girls, for making that possible.

I feel so fortunate to have been blessed with the influence of so many incredible women throughout my life between my grandmothers, aunts, friends, mentors… Happy, happy Mother’s Day to all and have a beautiful Sunday.

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