Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Fun Photos

It was a lovely weekend here and we spent a lot of time outside. We watched a marathon, played in leaves, went to enjoy one last meal of the season at Sea Salt (an eatery set within a city park), and we spent some time in our own back yard just hanging out, being together, enjoying the day.  It was lovely.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Angry Roller

Alice, at nearly 5 months old.

A happy little thing, that girl.

Exhibit A: Look at me and all my happiness!
She's so content and reasonable.

Exhibit B: Life is so pleasant and care free! 



The end.

Friday, October 18, 2013

BLW Revisited

If you were a reader of my blog wayyyyy back in the day when I blogged more than once a month (hello 2 kids!!!), you probably remember all my talk about baby led weaning and how much Eliza loved it.  And you probably remember the series I used to do called 'What she was offered vs. What she ate'.  So, yeah, I used to like to talk a lot about food.  And after a mama chat at the park this morning about introducing solids to babies, I'm really excited to get back at it again with Alice.  She's not yet 6 months old, so we've still got some time, but I am excited as all heck to do BLW again with her.  I thought I'd just repost a couple of old blog posts here to re-introduce the topic.  I'm hoping to get back into blogging again (haha said that sooo many times before I know!), and maybe talking about BLW with Alice will get me excited about blogging again.  


I’m sure most of you have heard of baby led weaning (BLW) already, but for those of you who have not, it basically means letting your child feed him or herself from the time they begin eating solid foods, at 6 months old.

Just before Eliza turned 6 months old, she and I were at a play date hosted by a mama who is also a family practice doctor. I noticed her little boy, who is 2 months older than Eliza, was perched on his high chair eating chunks of melon and Annie’s cheddar bunnies off of his tray by himself, his mom watching him as she chatted with the group of mommies seated around her living room. ‘Hmmm’, I thought, ‘how interesting that he’s eating real food. I thought babies ate baby food…’ 

This was my first introduction to baby-led weaning. Before that day, I had never heard of it, and, in fact, my husband and I were already busy planning Eliza’s first solid food: mashed sweet peas. We were all set to feed our girl purees – complete with airplane- spooning the stuff straight into her mouth. After all, that’s what you were supposed to do, right? Feed your baby… baby food. That’s what I thought until I read this book about BLW written by Gill Rapley, a British researcher who developed and researched BLW (this mama loves her evidence-based advice!).

I brought the book home, and hubby and I read it (or, to be exact, I read it and then provided him with a verbal book report on it), and we also did some further research online. Hubby and I both commented how this seemed perfect for Eliza – she was already reaching out and grabbing for our food at the dinner table, and she practically had a Ph.D in Putting Things in Her Mouth, so it made sense to us that putting food in her own mouth was the next step. Then, at Eliza’s 6-month well baby exam, our pediatric nurse practitioner mentioned BLW as a method of introducing solid food (right after telling us that feeding babies rice cereal as their first food was an outdated - and somewhat disgusting, I might add – recommendation that we could skip). It seemed our decision was made, and it was an easy one: BLW was going to be our method of
introducing our girl to the wide world of food.

The term ‘baby-led weaning’ is a bit of a strange name. First, the word “weaning” – well, this is the ultimate, literal term for what is happening from the moment at which babies begin to explore solid food. This is the very first step in the weaning process. Up until this point, they have relied on mama’s milk (or formula) for their nutritional needs.

The introduction of solids signifies the beginning of the (albeit very gradual) end to this need. Obviously, babies wean at different rates, and so this process may take anywhere from 6 months for some to 5 years or more for others (Eliza weaned completely a week after her 3rd birthday), but nonetheless, weaning officially begins when solid foods are introduced (no matter the method in which they are introduced). The “baby led” descriptor is used because it is, one again, a literal description of what’s going on in BLW: the babies lead the way! They are, for the most part, in control of their eating/exploring. Self-feeding is the main tenant of the BLW process; allowing babies to feed themselves gives them more control over how much they eat and what they eat (out of the variety of foods mama or daddy offer, of course).

On the very day Eliza turned 6 months old, we handed her a chunk of banana and let her have at it. And in that moment, as we watched her try to figure out how to pick up that banana and bring it to her mouth without it shooting out of her chubby little hands, it was like a light bulb went off. ‘This feels so natural’, we said to each other, looking in awe at our girl digging into that fruit with gusto. It just felt right, and Eliza loved it.

We were excited. She was excited. She was exploring her food, feeling it, playing with it, tasting it, and just having fun. And that is the point of BLW; first foods are not meant to serve a nutritional purpose (remember this little rhyme: “food before one is just for fun!”), they are meant to help our babes learn about food, to let them experience it and get accustomed to its presence and its feel – not just in their mouths, but in between their fingers, on their foreheads, etc… To learn what different foods look like, to feel their unique textures, and of course, eventually, to taste all the wonderful, varied flavors this
beautiful earth offers us. This is, after all, the important process that culminates in their eventual weaning from breastmilk or formula to table food for their nutritional needs.

BLW turned out to be a great fit for our family. We enjoyed the little perks that come with BLW like eating with Eliza, as a family, instead of one of us having to spoon-feed her during dinner, the hilarious perk of watching her figure out corn on the cob, and the expression of pure, unabashed glee when she got her first taste of a sweet cherry tomato exploding in her mouth (which, I might add, was freshly-picked from our garden by herown cherry-tomato-stealing little hand). Eliza took to BLW like a fish to water – she was just as excited about touching and tasting the food, and bringing it to her mouth on her own, as we were about watching her do it.

Epilogue: It’s been a pleasure watching Eliza learn to love good food, and her journey continues to this day. I’m happy to report that she easily mastered the art of using a spoon and fork (a common question I used to get when I'd tell people about our BLW adventures), and she has liked most of the food we have introduced to her. Sure, she still has her picky moments – I don’t think you can escape that no matter how you introduce solids – but for the most part, she is an independent, healthy, interested and adventurous little eater (a little foodie-in-training, I fear!). In order to attempt to combat, or at least curb, food struggles, we abide by the mantra that it is our job as parents to offer her varied, healthy meals, and it is Eliza’s job – not ours – to decide if she is going to eat and how much she is going to eat. This also avoids the potential Mama/Daddy-as-short-order-cook trap.

If you have questions about BLW and want to learn more about the specifics of it, I highly suggest reading this book. This website is also a great resource.

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