Popsicles for Baby-Led Weaning
Did you know that you can include popsicles when starting solids, especially if you are using a baby-led weaning (BLW) approach? That’s right; popsicles can be a positive sensory experience that offers age-appropriate nutrition, too! Here are a few tips for offering popsicles for BLW.
Offering the Right Sized Popsicle: Popsicles are a great way to practice self-feeding. However, most popsicles in the market are sized for the mouths and hands of toddlers, not infants. Choosing the right sized popsicle is key for decreasing gagging and choking risk.
- Expert Tip: The ezpz Tiny Pop was designed for a baby’s developing oral cavity, so it’s the perfect size for your little one! The popsicles also have a short, fat, round handle that is easy for babies to grasp and hold independently.
Offering Potentially Allergenic Foods: Around 6 months of age you can offer potentially allergenic foods to your baby. You can introduce the Big 9 Foods (nine most common allergenic foods in the United States) from a baby-led open cup, in puree form using a baby-led spoon, as soft strips from a suction plate, or in popsicle form! If you are nervous about giving these foods to your baby, popsicles can be a fun (and less nerve wrecking) way to introduce potentially allergenic foods.
- Expert Tip: When offering potentially allergenic foods, it is important to start with a small amount (and in the event of a reaction, knowing exactly how much your baby consumed). The Tiny Pops are portion-sized at ½ oz, so it’s a great tool for food trials + measurements. And they conveniently come in a 2-pack. So, once your baby is successful with a potentially allergenic popsicle, they can have access to another frozen treat the following day! This is advantageous, since medical experts recommend offering the same potentially allergenic food multiple days in a row.
Offering New Temperatures: It’s important to provide your baby with the sensory experience of temperature exploration. Eating a cold popsicle offers an explosion of sensory and motor opportunities! Popsicles can alert the mouth and help your baby to be more active with their mouthing, licking, chewing and swallowing skills. These improved oral motor skills can help support your baby-led weaning journey and make self-feeding more successful.
- Expert Tip: The Tiny Pops have frozen sensory bumps on the tip of the popsicle to provide more tactile input and increased oral awareness. This helps to stimulate the lips, tongue, gums and cheek muscles.
Offering Leftovers: Popsicles can be a great way to use leftovers – and you will have plenty of them with baby-led weaning! Got a half-eaten food pouch? Or a few cubes of organic avocado left on your cutting board? Just add some breast milk (or formula) to these items to make a quick smoothie and place them into the Tiny Pops. Simply freeze for 4+ hours and (voila!) your baby has a treat for their senses, and you have repurposed your leftovers. Score!
- Expert Tip: Did you know that you can use a dry erase marker with ezpz’s silicone products? For the Tiny Pops, use a dry erase marker on the handle to write the time and date you made your homemade popsicle. Before use, simply wipe it off with your finger or use a wet reusable paper towel.
Following your baby’s lead and offering new sensory experiences (such as popsicles) are key to success with BLW. Get your camera ready for some shocked expressions when your baby tries their first popsicle! Be sure to share your pics with us by using the hashtags #ezpzfun #tinypops.
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 28 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating tendencies. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning feeding products.