Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baby Led Weaning -- Should You Do It?

So, Baby Led Weaning is all the rage these days. If you are a "good parent" then you won't let your baby eat purees...or whatever nonsense some mothers believe.

This is what I believe: Do what is right for your baby and what is right for you.

I am not an expert in BLW in the least. Not even in the little bit. I know about as much as other go-with-the-flow moms know about it. So, take my words as you will...

I first started to try out BLW when Kaiden was six months old and started to show more interest in the food on my plate. It didn't go so well for two reasons. The first reason was that Kaiden hasn't ever been a baby to put things in his mouth. I lucked out on that front. So, he wasn't thrilled when I tried to put food in his mouth. He'd act like I was poisoning him, and he sometimes still does. He didn't start to eat table food/finger foods in earnest until around seven months.

This was also because BLW scared the shit out of me. I get that their gag reflex is normal and natural and it is safe because they younger they are, the closer to the front of their mouth it is...I get that. But, no amount of repeating that to yourself will take away the nervousness as you watch your toothless baby try to swallow a gigantic chunk of something-or-another whole. My husband and I would hold our breaths every time our son tried to eat something. Eventually, I'd tell my husband that we, as parents, were not ready yet, and we'd put aside the finger foods and give him a puree.

I recall expressing my concern on a Baby Led Weaning facebook page, and all the moms jumped on my case because I wasn't really doing BLW if I was giving purees, and how I shouldn't be in the group. It stung, but I knew what was right for my family, and I ignored them.

At ten months, Kaiden is an awesome self-feeder. He still has issues with shoving too much into his mouth at one time and trying to swallow big pieces of food that he doesn't mash down enough. He used to be good at this, but since his teeth have come in (and are still coming in), he likes to shove his whole hand and the food into his mouth. We've had a few actual choking incidents, mostly with watermelon, but it's gotten better. For instance, Kaiden kept trying to swallow huge pieces of a Yum-Yum wafer, and he would start to choke on it. My husband is always quick to get to his feet and help Kaiden, but these times I told him to wait and let Kaiden figure out what the problem is. Sure enough, Kaiden stopped trying to swallow the wafer and spit some of it out instead.

He is learning.

So, did I do BLW in the true sense of the term? No. Kaiden still gets purees, and he hasn't yet had any whole pieces of meat aside from turkey breast lunch meat, but we are happy with the pace at which we are currently going.

How did you introduce solids?

We tried a new approach -- give Kaiden his own plate of all the food he is offered this meal. I wanted him to learn not to rush to eat his food, and to know that when his plate of food is empty that is ALL he is getting. It went over very well. He didn't make a peep while eating, he ate slowly, and he didn't gag on anything but a piece of toast. On his plate there is a scrambled egg, an avocado, two halves of an apple, and toast with jam. :)