Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baby-Led Weaning?

Hi peoples, happy Thursday!  Tomorrow is Friday, the 14th, and that means our girl turns HALF a YEAR OLD.  I know I keep mentioning this... I guess I'm trying to wrap my brain around it.  I just can't believe it.

Anyway, at a play date recently I was telling another mom (who is also a family physician) about our plans to introduce solid foods this weekend to Eliza, and we got to talking.  She told me about a 'method' of introducing solids that has been termed 'Baby-Led Weaning' (BLW).  I've heard her talk about this before, and I've also noticed that her little boy (at 8 months old) eats whole pieces of avocado, crushed grapes and pieces of bread at play dates and was always interested... I thought babies had to eat purees first?  But it turns out that babies don't have to eat purees first, and in fact there is a lot of research that supports offering babies (at 6 months old, not earlier) finger foods - steamed, but not pureed - and allowing them to self-feed instead of spoon-feeding them pureed foods.

Okay, so there is a lot more to BLW, I'm just giving a brief description but the general idea is that baby gets to control his or her solid food intake by self-feeding from the very beginning (6 months).

So I borrowed this book from this mom and haven't been able to put it down all day.  It makes a lot of sense to me; it seems so natural and common sense, and my instincts tell me this is the way to do it... so I am definitely intrigued... but I'm just curious - has anyone else out there done BLW?

(Our PNP actually mentioned this to us at Eliza's 4 month visit - she said that we should wait until 6 months to start solids, but if we didn't want to, we didn't have to give Eliza purees first (though of course we could!).  She actually recommended giving her a steamed baby carrot to gnaw on, which I remember being surprised by...!  I'm going to talk to her at Eliza's 6 month appointment next week and see what her thoughts are about BLW and see if she's heard of this book.)


justadrienne said...

Ella--I heard of this awhile ago and it made immediate sense to me as well.

I think Sarah has done it with Desmond and even more so with Eloise, so you should ask her about it!

One first food I heard recommended was something like broccoli or cauliflower steamed until it was VERY tender--it's nice because the baby can grab a pretty good hold of it but it pretty much dissolves in the mouth.

But you probably got plenty of ideas from the book!

But yeah, we won't be buying or making "baby food".

Aletta said...

First of all, yay for waiting until 6 months for solids!

I was all psyched for baby-led weaning. And also ready to go for something like broccoli for starters. But, I never quite embraced it whole-heartedly, I guess. Patrick didn't take to broccoli, or the slices of avocado we tried, and so I ended up regrouping since I felt a lot of pressure to have him taking some solids, and his weight was starting to fall off (which may well be fine, but made me stress).

So, we gave him applesauce, mashed banana, and sometimes mixed them with oatmeal (honest-to-goodness cooked oatmeal, not that baby stuff). We'd also offered him some or whatever we were having, if it was something you could imagine being able to mash up with gums and a tongue. You have to wonder if people who claim a baby needs teeth to mash up food have never felt a newborn's gums on their nipple!

Anyway, he took better to that and we went from there. By 8 or 9 months he pretty much ate anything. The only baby food he's every had is pureed prunes, since they're not something I can easily replicate and have an important purpose. And I actually like how Gerber prunes taste. My rule is I won't feed him anything I'm not happy to eat myself.

Oh, another secret people don't know is that with the revised AAP guidelines, you don't actually need to wait on anything except for honey - not even peanut butter. We did only give it at 11 month or so b/c of the stickiness.

I've loved for ideas. They focus on making "baby food" but you can just use their recipes and not puree at the end.

Have fun!

Ash said...

I have heard of it and think it makes tons of sense but also think that it is one of those things where the little one has to play along.

There is always the possibility that they just aren't into it like in Aletta's case. I'm planning on trying it out though and am excited to see how it goes for you:)

Grace said...

We tried to do BLW in the beginning, but it made my husband way to nervous with the choking. They don't really choke, but a 6 month old will (at least James did) try to stick the entire piece of broccoli or whatever in their mouth, and then they end up gagging on it.

That being said I was a lot more laid back with offering finger foods because of all I had read about BLW, and now James eats pretty much everything.

B MoM said...

huh,never heard of BLW, but am now intrigued. Thanks for the info!

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz