Baby Led Weaning

We started Emmalyne on solids when she was just about 5 months old.  While we started with the traditional purees at the time I was really interested in learning more about Baby Led Weaning.  After doing some research and realizing there really is no scientific or nutritional reason indicating that babies MUST start with purees we decided to give BLW a shot … and never looked back.

 

 

Baby Led Weaning basically means you allow your baby to eat real foods rather than purees.  By eating real foods, your baby gets to experiment with different foods and textures at their own pace.  They are responsible for deciding which foods on their “plate” they eat and how much of it they consume.  This is done by providing foods cut into manageable sizes for them to enjoy.  Emmalyne is a HUGE fan of self-feeding at this point.  While breastfeeding is recommended when doing BLW there really is no reason why a formula fed baby couldn’t do it as well.  We are still going strong with breastfeeding and I hope to keep that up until Em turns one.

 

There were several pieces of information that led us to trying BLW.  First, there is indication that BLW helps with motor development, particularly with hand-eye-coordination and chewing.  This makes perfect sense since Em is responsible for getting the food to her mouth on her own.  Also, some studies are showing that children that children that do BLW are more likely to make healthy food choices and are less likely to become overweight.  While there isn’t enough scientific data for me to fully believe that it is still pretty interesting.

 

So, when did we start Baby Led Weaning?  We started using BLW at 6 months per suggestion by our pediatrician.  She was familiar with the method and said it is best suited for kids 6 months and up because they are developmentally at the point where self-feeding is both possible and safe.  Other indications that your child may be ready for solids include them being able to sit in your lap and their high chair unsupported, they indicate interest in food, they reach for food, or they have doubled their birth weight.  As with anything else regarding your child, check with your pediatrician to see what they think.

 

For us BLW has been an awesome experience.  Emmalyne gets to be a part of meal time with us and we all get to enjoy our meal rather than either Chris or I have to wait to eat because we have to spoon-feed Emmie.  Emmie normally eats what we are eating or a random assortment of easy to prepare foods that I keep stocked.  One thing that BLW says it that it supports independence.  I can completely see this in Emmie because now if I try to feed her anything she gets MAD and wants to do it herself.  IE: I will try to feed her a pea and she will slam her mouth shut and use her hands to take the pea from me and then feed herself.  It’s pretty funny haha.

 

When I am getting Em’s meals ready I prepare her foods into manageable and “soft” pieces.  For things like sweet potatoes, I cut them into strips and bake them so they get soft enough to mush but firm enough to grasp.  For meats I tend to shred them and most fruits I just cut in to strips.  While the risk of choking isn’t increased with BLW it is still prudent to refresh your CPR skills before starting … I did!  Granted I did that before feeding her oatmeal the first time too because babies can choke
on mush too 😉  I also try to wait 3-4 days (per pediatrician)between introducing foods to make sure Em doesn’t have an allergy.  So far so good!  I will admit that I have broken this rule on occasion.

 

Here is a list of some of our favorite BLW friendly foods:


 

Those are great foods to get started with!  AND here is a video of Em demolishing her dinner … proof that she loves to eat :)

We also give Emmie a couple “treats” a day.  Her favorite are Mum Mums and puffs.  These don’t hold a ton of nutritional value but they are great in a pinch when she needs to be occupied in the store.  She LOVES Mum Mums … like crazy love.  She sees the box and goes NUTS.

 

I will add that although our approach is 90% BLW we still on occasion give Em “mush” to eat.  She really likes oatmeal mixed with applesauce at breakfast and sometimes yogurt as well.  In addition, if we are going out to eat and I am unsure of the menu and what options it would afford Emmalyne we will bring a baby food pouch with us just in case.  Same thing when we are traveling.

 

Anyway … I would love to answer any questions you have so feel free to leave them in the comment section or drop me an email at FoodFitnessandFamily {at} gmail {dot} com.  I will answer all those questions in an upcoming follow-up posts so dish them out!

 

Other bloggers who do BLW:

What do you think of Baby Led Weaning?  Have you tried it with your kids or know someone (besides me) that has?