I'm pretty sure BLW also stands for Best L-idea W-ever. (The L and W are silent.)
Peanut was a puree eater. And not just any puree - it had to be Rafferty's Garden. She wouldn't touch my homemade slop with a ten foot, plastic handled, easy grip baby spoon. I bought baby-food recipe books. I searched online forums. I even tried to copy the ingredients in the bought stuff. No dice. It was Rafferty's or nothing. I felt like a total failure and, in hindsight, I bred a fussy eater. Even worse, feeding Peanut was costing more than feeding me! (In her defence, that stuff is pretty delicious.)
|I'll chew screws, but not your delicious pie. No siree.|
I didn't make the same mistake with Bug, she was fed actual solid food from the very beginning. She started by swiping normal vegies off my plate and by six months was in her high chair, munching on the same food as the rest of the family.
|Did you know you can pop a whole cob of corn? |
The things I learn on twitter...
But won't she choke?!
Surprisingly, no. She never did. Instead of struggling with a spoon of purée thrust into her mouth, which would encourage her to suck the food straight back into her throat, she had control over the rate and amount of food she ate. There were a couple of incidences of mild gagging, but she was never worried by it - she was just learning how to control the food in her mouth.
A child's hand to mouth coordination and mouthing / swallowing control develop at around six months of age, at around the same time as 'solid' food is normally introduced. Kids this age are naturally curious and learn by mimicking others, and love to be included in family activities, so baby led weaning made developmental sense to me. As Bug became more competent chewing and swallowing, she naturally ate more food and dropped her milk consumption. In the meantime she was still getting the sustenance she needed from the milk. Perfect!
The biggest advantage of baby led weaning was being able to continue to eat as a family. First time around, I used to feed Peanut her dinner first, then eat after she was in bed. I starved half to death Every Single Night. The other option was trying to feed the baby while eating my own dinner, and that just frustrated both of us. Babies suck at taking turns. But baby led weaning meant Bug sat at the table with the family and her own plate, and I could just leave her to it. Bliss.
Now, if you're going to give this a try, expect mess! As a baby gets more practice she will become neater but the first few months are interesting. Ahem. I was very thankful for a tile floor, two dogs to lick it, and a big plastic bib. Also, make sure to sit the baby up to eat. This will let food that they are struggling with to fall forward from their mouth, lessening the risk of choking.
And now, with Bug at eighteen months, I can happily say that in the great puree vs baby led weaning battle, I'm BLW all the way. The kid's an eating machine. Dominates sushi. Loves a curry. Veggies are eaten by the plateful.
|Bug would eat this in an instant... |
...and then lick the chopping board.