Baby-Led Weaning Is it for YOU?

January 23rd, 2016 by Jennifer Waugh with no comments

Baby- Led Weaning Is it for You?

I have three children a 13 year old (son), a 2 1/2 year old little girl, and 11 month old girl. Having children with such a big gap both in their ages and my age when I had them has become interesting as a lot of different parenting methods are out there. I was  22 when I had my 13 year old and most of the time I was in survival mode when he was a baby and let’s face it mostly winging it. I was full time working single mom. Now in my mid thirties I bring a new set of eyes and perspective to parenting young children. I am now a full time stay at home mom and have a little more time to research and explore new parenting techniques and strategies.IMG_4376

The funny thing is with my two year old I decided to follow the same path of feeding her as I did my 13 year old which was baby food a mix of organic bought food and homemade baby food. I remember taking her to the pediatrician at her ( 1 year old check up) we had just switched to a new pediatrician and she asked me what table foods she was eating. I was floored for a couple of reasons… I never thought to introduce most table foods and secondly she had only started getting some teeth in. She didn’t really tell me about BLW at this appointment but assured me that I could give her table food and take her off baby food.

Fast Forward to my third child’s  6 month visit and my pediatrician and I spent a good 45 minutes going over BLW… I still did research after the visit before reaching the conclusion that I was going to try this BLW. What is BLW?

( Baby-led weaning (often also referred to as BLW) is a method of adding complementary foods to a baby’s diet of breastmilk or formula. A method of food progression, BLW facilitates the development of age appropriate oral motor control while maintaining eating as a positive, interactive experience. Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from the very beginning of their experiences with food. The term weaning should not be taken to imply giving up formula or breastmilk, but simply the introduction of foods other than formula or breastmilk.

I thought I would share some tips and experiences. The great thing is my family has been on a healthy living journey so all this kind of happened at a similar time. By doing BLW it has made me very aware of what food we are putting into our bodies as a family.

  1. Will my child choke on food? ( this was a huge FEAR for me!) Rest assured the gag reflex in a younger child is near the roof of their mouth so it helps prevent choking as long as they are making noise and moving food around that is a good sign. If they become quiet that is when you should worry. Another great test to make sure the food is soft enough to handle. A great test my pediatrician taught me is using your tongue on the roof of your mouth to test the food. Babies gums are extremely strong and do well at mashing and chewing food. It’s always important to remain near your little one during meals to be of assistance.
  2. Where do you start with the BLW..as I was nursing full time the table food I would be introducing would be more for learning taste and textures as well as providing supplemental nutrition. In BLW the primary nutrition is breastmilk and or formula. Using a similar technique as  you would with puree’s by slowly introducing baby to foods you want to be on the look out for possible allergic reactions. Here are some great resources to consult if you are considering BLW.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby-led_weaning

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/babyledweaning-recipesfoods.htm

3. The best part for our family with BLW is that we all sit down to a meal together and I get to eat my food HOT ( well at least warm). I am not busy feeding the baby instead she is joining in the family meal time and feeding herself. This has been great I feel like I get to enjoy meal time as well.

4. The last piece of advice is BLW can be a bit messy… I would invest a few good bibs with pockets in the front to catch any food that doesn’t make it into your LO mouth or may get spit out( I found some great deals on Amazon). I know of other family’s that have put mats down under the high chair as we have hardwood floors and dogs I didn’t go that extra step. I am quite the type A personality so relinquishing control and dealing with the mess was a big step. But amazingly my LO who will be 1 has mastered pretty good control and their is less mess and she is already eating off a plate.

Overall I am very pleased that we gave BLW a go..it has created enjoyable meal times and my Lo seems to be on her way to being a good eater. She thankfully does not shy away from trying new foods and textures. As always you want to consult your pediatrician and do research before making the decision that is best for you and your family. Please comment below with any questions.

Your Friend and Fellow Mom,

Jenn