Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

As we get closer and closer to the 4 month mark, I've been reading more and more about the benefits of BLW. Basically this means skipping the cereal and purees and, when baby is 6 months and ready, go straight for solid foods. From what I've researched, this is a better way to introduce food because it gives baby more control over what they eat. This leads to better appetite control, a taste for nutritious food, and a reduced tendency towards pickiness. The last part alone is enough for me to consider trying BLW with Abigail. I love Audrey to pieces & think she's perfect in every way... EXCEPT her stupid eating habits. She is awful when it comes to trying new things; her newest tactic is to "cough" when offered new foods...or she'll just say, "No thanks, it makes me cough." UGH!

Now, I know that every child is different, but I can't help think that something I did (or didn't do) contributed to the way Audrey is with food. Maybe if we had waited and allowed her to experiment with "real" food she'd have a healthier relationship with food. As much as I was looking forward to starting solid food with Abby in a couple of weeks, I'm going to try and hold off. She'll continue to get all of her nutritional needs through breast milk only until she's 6 months (I'm praying that pumping + freezer stash will get us that far!) Then at about 6 months we'll let her go at it! I found a great blog while I was researching. It's great to see BLW in action!

It's a little scary to try it this way; I don't like going against the normal or usual way of doing things. I really like having control of the food Abby will be getting and when. But in reality BLW seems to be much a much more natural way to introduce foods. Audrey did amazing with cereal and she loved every single fruit and veggie puree (even the mixes and dinners!) But where did that get us?! Nowhere. Nowhere except Food Hell. I think I'll pass this time! I feel like Audrey will be struggling with food for a long time to come and I'm really hoping to avoid that with Abigail.

I'd love to hear your experiences with BLW. I still plan on doing lots of research and of course talking to the pedi. Any other insight is appreciated!

9 comments:

CarolineR said...

I have never researched baby led weaning, but it sounds like what I did with the boys. Neither of them had food until 6 months. Charlie didn't really start until about 7-8 months because he just wasn't interested until then. I still made purees out of veggies and fruit simply because I'm paranoid about choking. Neither of the boys are picky and I make a point of not making special meals for them. They eat what we eat or they can wait until the next meal. Even as babies (once they could eat whatever) I would just mash or puree what we were having.

Jenn said...

I dont have any experience with BLW, but I will say that I also have a SUPER picky eating toddler on my hands as well. Emma Kate will literally gag (and almost throw up) when she either a) tries something new (which is really difficult to get her to do) or b) is "full." Then she will be just fine for dessert or whatever else, so we just tell her that if she doesnt finish her food, then that is all she gets. Parenting in the food department is a struggle for us, but we try. Good luck with BLW. I cant wait to see how it goes for you.

kparks said...

I'm not sure how or when I came across your blog but I thought I'd share our experience here...My daughter, Ellen, turned 2 in June. When she was a baby, I did try cereal with her around 4-5 months (just because you get excited about that milestone!) but she was never too excited about it. For the next couple of months, I did use some baby food purees, but mostly I gave her real food--mashed up bananas, steamed veggies, apples cut into strips that she could gnaw on. It was great--I have photos of her munching away on broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots,etc. I figured I had lucked out and found a way to avoid the picky toddler eating. But once she got a bit older, we gave her macaroni and cheese/pasta & I swear ever since then, she will not touch vegetables!!! I can usually get her to try them, but she always responds with "I don't like them--I don't like vegetables." I will say she did eat a bunch of corn today but I don't think you can classify that as the best example of a vegetable!

Anyway, all that is to say that you never know what will happen! I try to be pretty laid back about eating. I figure she will eat when she's hungry and if she doesn't want to eat, I can't force her. We had days in the past where I felt like she hardly ate anything for a day or two and then other days where she's eating a ton. Overall she's at a healthy weight though (slim for her height but still within reason). I just try to make eating into a huge power struggle that neither of us will win! Oh, and even if she's given up on the veggies for now, I really did like feeding her "real" food as opposed to purees. Every once in awhile I had a minor nervousness about her choking on something, but overall I found it a great experience! Hope that super-long example helps! Off to write lesson plans for this week...

carolinecameron said...

Hi Sherri,
I have read your blog for a long time but this is my first ever comment. My son is just a bit younger than Audrey and we 'followed' BLW and I'm passionate about it now. I stumbled across a book about it and it made so much sense to me for all the reasons you suggest. Brodie took so well to it and we had a great experience. I breastfed for 6 months then we just let Brodie explore at this own pace but to be honest I think he was having three meals a day after about a week because he so enjoyed digging in with us. I never worried about how much he had eaten because there really is no way to tell you just have to trust Abby will eat when she's hungry and that she'll be getting your milk still. It will be messy but that never worried me either because he just enjoyed it so much. If it works for you you will have so much less 'work' do do organising and preparing meals.
I found that health practioners were not particularly supportive as they hadn't considered this way of feeding before but I just went with my instinct when I saw how happy B was. Also some friends and family thought I was crazy handing my seven month old an apple to eat whole, but he loved it.
I think wanting control over their food is normal for most toddlers and Brodie doesn't eat as many vegetables as I would like but he will always try new things and I'm confident he always will.
I say go ahead and have fun. Sorry for writing so much, but I just wish other mums would see how easy introducing solids can be and how eating together can be a wonderful part of your day! Good luck, I can't wait to hear how Abby gets on, who knows perhaps Audrey will be inspired to join in:)

SB said...

Thank you so much ladies! The more I hear about it the more I'm motivated to give it a try :)

Anonymous said...

My older boys (3 and 2) are SOOOOOO picky and I did they "typical" food introduction with baby food.... My daughter (9 months) wanted NOTHING to do with baby food (when I offered at about 5ish months). At her 6 month well child check, our pedi (new from when the boys were little bcs we moved) suggested I just give her regular food. She eats like a CHAMP! she enjoys everything I offer her, which is just whatever I am eating. It is sooooo nice to have one just eat what I give her. Best of luck!

Ryan said...

My daughter is 2 and is a fantastic eater. Similar to what others said..I didn't give her much "baby food" she didn't take to it too much and i ended up just giving her little bits of what we were eating. she loved it all and continues to pretty much eat anything i give her. good luck!! i am hoping to do the same thing with my son(2months). hopefully it works with him as well!

Leanne said...

Sounds interesting! I plan to start Caroline on rice cereal soon as we were pretty successful with Lucas. We did (and will do again) rice cereal, oatmeal, and later some veggie & fruit purees. By 6 months, however, Lucas was eating more "chunked" solids that I was actually making at home. I plan to do the same with Caroline. While Lucas is pickier than ever (as most toddlers are), he still eats great for a 2 year old! I definitely think every child is different and the most important thing is to offer a wide variety of nutritional foods (whenever is right for you and baby)! I'd love to hear how it all goes!

Laura said...

I have a friend who did BLW with her daughter (same age as Audrey and my older son). I would say her daughter is just as picky of an eater as my son, but just with different foods. I don't know if you've done this yet with Audrey, but what we found most helpful with our son is simply to stop catering to his pickiness. We're pretty firm about this is what we're eating, and if you don't want to eat it, that's fine. And we're willing to have him go to bed after eating only one bite at dinner because we know he's eaten enough other food during the day and he's not going to starve. But it has helped SO much. I usually always try to make one part of our meals something I know he likes so I feel comfortable knowing there's something on his plate he'll actually eat.