Hi, my name is Jillian and I am an occupational therapist who specializes in feeding. My husband, Tyler, is a paramedic, American Heart Association CPR instructor and is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support. We have been married for four years and have our one year old son, Baker. I always knew I wanted to try baby-led weaning with my own children since learning about feeding within my field and the research to support the benefits, but it definitely felt way more challenging and daunting when it came to starting feeding with my own baby.
The first month I was constantly trying to prove to myself and to others that BLW was the way to go and that my baby could do it. I was SO stressed over every little bite and the amount of food he did or didn’t eat. I questioned myself if I was doing it right and if I was a bad Mom for not giving him purees or helping him. I had to really step back and think about what my goals were for him. I wanted him to be an independent eater who enjoys a variety of foods. I also wanted to make mealtime a special bonding experience within our home. Let me tell you, there is no better way to achieve these goals than with this baby-led weaning approach!
After what felt like multiple failed sessions and more food on his body, hair and floor (or eaten by my dog) than actually in his mouth. I continued to offer soft solid foods and when my baby turned 7 months it felt like all of a sudden it started to CLICK and he was actually “getting it.” Food was going into his mouth! My baby was both interested and engaged at meal time. Baby-led weaning and supporting my son to learn how to self-feed gave him the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of foods, flavors and textures to explore, touch, taste, feel, squish, smash, and slosh around. There was something magical about watching him respond to a new food for the first time. I became obsessed and decided to try the 100 first foods approach before the age of one. Mealtime continues to be one of our favorite activities we do together.
Friends have told me that they are too scared to try baby-led weaning because of their fear of choking or allergy concerns. These concerns are REAL! I must admit, this was a small fear I had as well, but in my research I learned that there is no higher risk for choking with baby-led weaning compared to traditional spoon feeding. Also, the long-term benefits of BLW certainly outweigh traditional spoon feeding and actually DECREASES the risk of your baby choking in the future. This is because of the reflexes/features your baby is born with and able to do successfully when given plenty of opportunities to practice!
Our goal is to assist you with creating positive experiences at mealtime while exposing your little one to soft solids in the safest way possible. We started this program for parents who want to learn how to teach their child to self feed safely. We can help you squash any stress, worries or reservations that may be holding you back from starting BLW. We hope to not only prevent a picky eater in the future, but to also improve nutritious intake and create an enjoyable mealtime experience for the entire family!