June 22, 2018

Why We Chose Baby Led Weaning

Back when Lela was starting solids, I hated the idea of purees. The whole concept of feeding my baby mush from a spoon seemed really unnatural to me. Through Instagram, I noticed one of my friends was feeding her 7-month-old eggs and blueberries and she was EATING THEM! Intrigued I messaged her, and she told me that they were doing something called Baby Led Weaning.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a concept that has been around for decades upon decades. The term was first coined by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett in their book Baby- Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Solid Foods. The BLW approach to introducing solids encourages baby to self-feed finger foods instead of being fed with a spoon. Babies are encouraged to be part of meal times and are given the freedom to explore new tastes and textures without pressure. It supports the development of hand-eye coordination, chewing skills and dexterity. Most importantly, BLW supports healthy eating habits because they are independently feeding and learning to stop when they feel full. 

When Should You Start?
We now know that baby’s digestive systems are too immature for solids before 6 months. Babies who are fed solids prior to 6 months have a higher rate of developing allergies because their digestive systems are not ready for anything other than milk. Baby Led Weaning seemed like a natural choice for us at 6 months because Lela began showing an interest in food around that point. Some babies may seem ready at 5 ½ months while others may not be ready until 8 months. It’s really important to watch your baby’s natural cues. In the beginning, she wasn’t “eating” so much as just exploring different tastes and textures. It wasn’t until around 8 months that she really began to eat and digest solid foods. You’ll be really surprised what you learn about your baby by just sitting back and waiting for them to tell you what they need!

What We Loved
It was incredible to watch Lela explore new foods. People were always shocked to see such a young completely devouring food. It also made meal times so much fun! Our friends would be stressed out trying to feed their babies from a spoon while we were having fun with our baby. We would give Lela a little bit of whatever was on our plates and just watch in amazement as she figured out exactly what to do. No force feeding. No purees. No hassle!

What We Didn’t Love
Baby Led Weaning can be a gigantic mess so prepare yourself. In the first 3 or so months, 90% of the food you give them ends up on the floor. We very quickly learned to feed her dinner then head straight to the bath tub.
In the beginning, we also had a lot of anxiety around choking. If you read the book, they have a great chapter on what is actually choking vs. what is the gag reflex. The gag reflex is a safety mechanism that safeguards against choking by bringing food to the front of their mouth. It’s usually accompanied by sound. Choking, on the other hand, is generally silent because something is blocking the airway and sound is unable to escape. While doing BLW, there were plenty of instances where Lela was gagging. It scared the daylights out of us but knowing the difference between gagging and choking allowed us to remain calm and give her a few seconds to see if she could figure it out. When doing BLW its really important to never leave your baby unattended on the off chance that they really are choking. It’s also important to know what the “choking hazard” foods are. Think things like grapes, nuts, hotdogs, etc.

Today
Lela is now 17 months old and has a more diverse palette than most of our family. We have never had the fuss of making her her own dinners because she’s always eaten whatever we were eating. Going out to dinner is always so much fun because it’s so easy! We usually order her something off the adult menu because she’d rather eat real food over what they put on kids menus. She loves noodles, all veggies including lettuce, and even had a blast eating steak!
We cannot say enough good things about BLW. Mealtimes have become a favorite pastime of ours because we absolutely adore watching Lela explore new foods. Has anyone tried BLW? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Cheers!
Mandy

No comments:

Post a Comment