Baby Led Weaning – Beyond the Purees

Colorado Springs mom Michelle Rodriguez is no stranger to babies and food. Michelle is a Colorado La Leche League leader and mom to Remy, age 4. She is an incredibly knowledgable individual who is compassionate as well as driven to help parents in our city. She is also a respected instructor for Baby Led Weaning classes, helping families decide how to feed first solid foods to their children.

I first met Michelle at a La Leche League meeting when she and I were both leaders-in-training for the breastfeeding group. Her warm smile drew me in and I quickly found that she was very easy to talk with. We worked together to complete some of the prerequisites for leadership, and I grew to deeply respect her calm nature, her thoughtful responses, and her devotion to mothering her toddler.

I spoke with Michelle via telephone this week and asked her questions that some of our readers might be interested in regarding baby-led weaning. Here’s a small part of our conversation.

Michelle, thank you for giving us an interview so that our readers can learn from you. What exactly is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby Led Weaning (also referred to as BLW) is a method to introduce solid foods to your baby. With BLW, your baby is encouraged to take the lead. Your child gets the opportunity to choose what to eat, how much to eat, and how to eat the food. BLW is a hands-off method for the parents, which is respectful of your baby’s needs and wants.

How did you become involved in teaching baby-led weaning classes?

I attended Mommy and Me yoga classes at Enso Prenatal, which introduced me to a community of parents with children who were older than mine. I learned about BLW and was intrigued. I read Gil Rapley’s book, Baby Led Weaning, but I thought it would be great for people to have the information, resources, and recipes that came from in-person support.

What kinds of extra support do you offer to parents who take your class?

I keep in touch with the families who take my classes. I give them my email address and phone number, and I also add them to a secret Facebook group just for caregivers who have taken my BLW class. I’m not always good about posting in that group, but it’s great for families to be able to connect with each other and give support via the group.

If you could give one piece of advice for families practicing baby-led weaning with their child, what would it be?

I would encourage families to not worry about the amount of food their baby is eating when their baby is under 12 months. Before that first birthday, solids are an additional sensory playtime rather than a mealtime. Keep breastfeeding so that your child has adequate calorie intake, but don’t stress about the solids! If your child is still not ingesting many solids after 12 months, I would advise you to speak with your medical provider and look for more opportunities to add extra calories into his or her daily routine.

I was so grateful to Michelle for allowing me to interview her. Michelle is a wonderful resource in our community, and I truly thank her for the time she spent with me!

-Sarah Lund

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