Baby Led Weaning

10 May

I don’t have any pictures from today, but it was a fantastic day.  After an early wake up (3:30, ugh), we managed a long nap in my bed which was glorious.  Later, we had a delicious lunch, long walk and trip to the mall with my Mom.  I truly hope to be doing the same thing in 27 years with Chloe.

Okay, so tomorrow is Chloe’s 4 month appointment and I’m really nervous about it.  When I saw him at 3 months, he mentioned starting cereals at 4 months.  Hunter and I have done a ton of research and are committed to at least giving the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) route a try.  What this means is that we won’t be starting cereal for a while.

I’ve read the book (found here) and I’m going to take this space to regurgitate what I remember so that I’m prepared to discuss it with her pediatrician tomorrow.

In America, BLW typically means weaning your baby from breastfeeding/formula.  In the UK, it means introducing solids.  From what I understand, the two go hand in hand.  You introduce solids so your child is eventually weaned from breastfeeding.

What most pediatricians recommend is purees and different stages of foods that you introduce as your baby grows.  BLW acknowledges that breastfeeding in particular puts the baby in control of the feedings, as well as builds the muscles that a child needs to chew foods.  Therefore, by spoon feeding you are essentially force feeding your child and it can create negative associations with food and eating (if you know me, you know this is something I want to avoid at all costs).  Also, it isn’t necessary.  Breastfeeding has prepared little Chloe’s mouth for food!  Real food!

I’ll stop here and address some of the issues I’m used to defending:

  • choking: Before 12 months, a baby’s gag reflex is much, much closer to the front of their mouth.  If you notice when you put something in a baby’s mouth, they push it out with their tongue.  It’s a reflex to keep anything but a nipple (I just said nipple on my blog…ah.) out of it.  Gagging and choking are two totally different things.  She can gag; that’s just her getting the food out of her mouth.  It’s very unlikely that she will choke.  But just to be safe, we’ll brush up on our infant choking procedures.
  • not getting enough nutrition from food:  I’ll talk about it more in a minute, but essentially, babies don’t swallow much food in BLW until they are 8-9 months.  Some doctors will tell you that the stores of some nutrients that they built up during pregnancy have fun out, but breast milk can still provide all of those things.  As long as your baby is growing, she’s fine.  Food should be exploration and fun until 12 months.  Any nutrition they get from it is just a bonus.

It is also going to be so much easier than pureeing my own food (which was what I had planned before I learned about BLW).  She can eat what we eat!  I plan on starting with pieces of softer foods (avocado, banana, cooked broccoli, sweet potato, etc,.), but eventually just giving her some of whatever we are having and letting her go at it.  If she can grab it, she can eat it.

There are a few benefits here:

  • texture:  Chloe won’t have any issues transitioning to textured foods.  She’ll already be eating them.
  • flavor:  There’s no need to limit what foods we give her.  If she likes it, she’ll eat it.  If she doesn’t, she won’t.  As long as you don’t use salt (babies can’t tolerate much salt at this point), you’re golden.
  • family meal time:  Instead of one parent feeding Chloe while the other one eats, we can all eat together.  I’m looking forward to family meals and getting a head start on that will be awesome.
  • restaurants:  Chloe can pretty much eat off of our plate.

Anyway, this isn’t a very good rundown of it and if you’re interested, I suggest you read the book.  There’s also a few really great forums and Facebook groups about it.  LIke cloth diapering, it seems to fit our family best.  Also, let it be known that I’m not against some purees and spoon feeding if Chloe doesn’t take to BLW well.  All that is important is that it is working for her.

We plan on waiting until she begins to show signs that she’s ready (air chewing, focusing on us eating, grabbing at our food, etc.,) but hope to start around 6 months.

Hopefully typing all of this out has prepared me for our appointment tomorrow!  A lot of pediatricians are totally okay with it (and even encourage it) so hopefully ours will be on board.  Sorry for the lack of cuteness today–I’ll be back tomorrow with some pictures and her stats from the appointment!

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One Response to “Baby Led Weaning”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chloe Lately « Chloe Makes Three - August 31, 2012

    […] kale and mushrooms with Mom and Dad.  I plan to do a post on how Baby-Led Weaning is going next week.  I’m so excited about […]

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