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Candle in the Night

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Led Weaning Vs. Starting Solids Traditionally

Aah, the days before solids.  When mama's milk is the only thing a baby needs and a dirty diaper means something that wipes clean easily and smells like popcorn.  And then...everything changes.

At first, H was delighted to see something new coming toward her.   

 But after that first bite...  Well, delight is not how I would describe it.

We started Baby H on solids at 6 months.  She wasn't a fan at first, so we were patient and waited a week and tried again.  After a few tries, she came to love her food.  I made all kids of purees for her and combined those with store bought baby food.  When she got older, we introduced finger foods like Puffs and Cheerio's.  Eventually, she was allowed to have what we eat.  You know, the traditional method.  The way you were served baby food.

(If you do go this route, I highly recommend this book.  Actually, no matter what route you go, I recommend it.  It has great ideas for meals and tons of info about feeding your baby, no matter how you choose to do it.)

But wait, this "traditional method" isn't as traditional as one might think.  

When Baby M was getting about the age to start solids, I heard of this book called "Baby-Led Weaning".

I read a good part of this book and really liked the ideas in it.  Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) in a nutshell is this.  Your child eats what you eat.  You start your baby on finger-sized pieces of mushy foods.  Things they can grab onto and put in their mouths.  Bananas, cooked carrots, cooked sweet potatoes...  Then, as they do better with those, you add variety.  This allows the child to explore the foods they are eating and put them into their own mouths, thus producing kids who enjoy meal time more and are less picky eaters.  Oh, and did I mention that it's also SUPER convenient?!?

I decided to try BLW with M.  I knew that with a 21 month old and a 6 month old, I wasn't going to have the time I had before to cook, puree, and freeze all that baby food.  So I didn't.  I researched this method and found that moms have been using this method for generations...just not calling it BLW.

Here she is with her first banana.  She mashed that thing all over her tray, and although I missed her expression when she stuck it in her mouth, it was honestly much the same as H's expression with her first bite of solids.  So we did the same thing.  We waited a week or so and tried again.  And now M loves to eat just as much as H does.

The only down side that I can see with BLW is the mess.  And to be honest, I just couldn't handle it.  BLW recommends that you basically never spoon feed your child and let them explore the food and feed themselves.  But I couldn't do it.  There is no way I can just set a bowl of oatmeal or applesauce or spaghetti on my daughter's tray and just let her have at it daily.  I do it once in a while (mainly when I'm trying to get ready to go somewhere and I just need her to stay busy) but when I do, she's a disaster.  I know the idea is that they'll learn to eat neatly sooner, but I just don't see it happening that way.  H is a pretty neat eater and we spoon fed her.  And I think M will learn to be neat as well...without being a complete mess first!

Overall, I will never go back to the days of pureeing pounds and pounds of sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, and rice and freezing them in ice cube trays.  Since the majority of nutrition is still coming from my milk up until the child is a year, I will give them whatever we're eating and let them get the rest of their nutrients from me.  Not because I really think it has much impact on whether they're a picky eater or not, but because it's just so, so, so much easier!  (Oh, and it's really fun to be at a restaurant and have some old lady look at you in shock because you're giving your 7 month old a whole breadstick!)

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At July 27, 2012 at 8:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wrote about this also! My second daughter is 7 months and she just started solids. She's tried banana and avocado. We did BLW with our first and yes it is messy- but it does get better. Our oldest was eating with a fork before she was one (not sure if that is a normal age) so we only had a few months of mess. :)

At August 1, 2012 at 10:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magnificent! (As usual. :-P )


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