Monday, February 27, 2017

Baby Led Weaning

What is baby led weaning?

Before our babies are even born, we are faced with different choices on how we are going to bring them up. From feeding, to sleeping, to weaning - there are numerous methods for every stage and ultimately, we all choose what's best for our families.  At some point, we have to introduce our little ones to food; so when little man turned six months old, we started Baby Led Weaning..

I met with my Health Visitor a few months before my little one was even born. At first, I was a little worried as to why we were meeting early but actually,  the control freak in me found it really helpful as she was armed with tons of leaflets, which meant we could set about making decisions about our baby. I knew I was pretty adamant about breastfeeding but what I didn't even begin to think about was weaning

One thing I knew was that I wouldn't be feeding my baby food from a jar, I have no issue with parents that do, but for me - I see them as the microwave meals of the adult world. If I wouldn't eat it, then neither would my baby. So, with that out the way, I was left with Purée or Baby Led Weaning. The latter I hadn't even heard of. 

I began researching Baby Led Weaning, I remember the first thing I saw was a picture of a Baby eating a Pork Chop (well I thought they were 'eating' it, but now I know they were probably just giving it a good suck). My first thought was 'What on earth? Surely that's dangerous?' but the more I read into it, the more I knew it was for us.

What Is Baby Led Weaning?

Essentially, Baby Led Weaning is exactly what it says it is; letting your baby lead the way with their food. It's all a rather fancy term for allowing your baby to feed themselves - there's no need for purée and traditionally, you don't spoon feed them either. 

When Can You Start Baby Led Weaning? 

Experts say that babies should not be given solids prior to reaching 6 months of age, simply because their guts are not matured enough. Some babies may seem ready before this, and some may not be ready until 8 months old - the important thing is not to stress about it and let your baby lead the way. According to the NHS, signs for a baby being ready to wean are:
  • They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
  • They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
  •  They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths. 

Unless you've been advised to start weaning early by a health professional, then there is absolutely no reason why you need to wean before six months. Babies get all the nutrition they need via breast milk/formula.

Why We Chose Baby Led Weaning..

Aside from the health and developmental benefits of BLW, we ultimately chose BLW because it would make our lives easier. Making purée and having to spoon feed is time consuming. I liked the idea that we'd all get to sit down at dinner time and eat together. I wouldn't have to set my dinner aside to feed baby as they feed themselves. Pre made purée is really expensive so cost was another huge reason why we chose BLW. We planned to home cook all our meals from fresh which also meant that we'd all be eating healthy.

Naturally we worried about choking, but after researching we found that BLW babies have a reduced risk of choking because they learn to handle food safely; they learn to chew before they learn to swallow. Whereas, babies who eat purée simply just learn to swallow, which means they may encounter issues with solid food at a later date.

It's educational; babies get to experience different textures, tastes, sizes and shapes of food. They get lots of hand, eye and fine motor practise by learning to grasp food, and then moving it to their mouth. This helps them to make choices with their food and they will simply stop eating when they've had enough which helps to reduce the risk of childhood obesity.

It's been three months since we started Baby Led Weaning so I thought it was about time I started sharing our journey. I'll now be posting recipes, reviews on weaning items, information on the different stages and our own updates. We're loving BLW - it's certainly messy, but it's fun.


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8 comments

  1. BLW is the way forward. Personally I love it. We did blw with both our boys and we haven't looked back! Both eat really well and eat almost everything I put in front of them!

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  2. We love using baby led weaning for our 11 month old - been a Godsend really!

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  3. Really informative piece. We puréed our own food first then let her take the lead. Now she's flying. Too much so; 15 months old and likes to try feed herself everything with a spoon but has little dexterity. It can make for long meals lol.

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  4. We love baby led weaning too! And I totally agree with all of your points. I'm far too lazy to batch cook or puree food down its far easier to give it to him. Love this post and can't wait to see your recipes & reviews etc!

    Claire xx

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  5. we kind of did a mix, spoon fedthe sloppy stuff and they held the rest in their hands lol

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  6. We've really struggled with weaning little N, despite trying both approaches. BLW is definitely easier, but he gets bored and often needs more encouragement - I also loose track of how much he eats because he loves to share his food with the dog! Look forward to seeing your recipes, always need new ideas to try!

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  7. We went for a mix of BLW and puree - our beagle suddenly became a big fan of Moose at mealtimes and was often found sitting expectantly under his highchair.

    I think you just sort of muddle through until you find your vibe generally. Great to have had a post like this though laying it all out there. Some of this stuff is so confusing!

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  8. I'm so nervous of weaning Neve as we had a nightmare with her eldest sister. Planning on doing a combo of purée and baby led.

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