Saturday, September 14, 2013

What is Baby-led Weaning?

I’ve been reading a lot about Baby-led Weaning (BLW) lately and I wasn’t really sure what it was. So I decided to do some research to see if it’s something we might want to do with our boys.

So what exactly is Baby-led Weaning? Basically it is skipping the pureed foods and not feeding your baby with a spoon. From what I understand, you offer your baby soft-cooked, age appropriate foods and your baby feeds himself. The baby is in control of what he eats and you don’t put the food in his mouth.

From what I’ve read it works for some people but not for others, just like anything else of course. With my first little boy we started with cereals and purees and he has never been a picky eater (yet) and it has worked just fine. He is just now learning how to feed himself more, so that’s been nice.

What is Baby-Led Weaning?
My little man when he first tried out his high-chair. He is such a cutie!

One advantage to BLW would be not having to guess or wonder if the baby is done eating or what they are doing. With Jaden, I never know if he is turning his head from the spoon because he is full or because he’s just being difficult (he can be a very stubborn boy, I think he gets that from his mother). With BLW the baby supposedly will only eat what they need to and no more. That is why you do not place food into their mouth for them with this approach.

Other advantages to using BLW that I can see: 
  • It will be easier at meal times than trying to spoon feed two babies at once. 
  • Easier and cheaper than buying pureed baby food (although I plan on making it myself this time around). 
  • It is said to prevent weight problems by giving the baby complete control over the amount of food he eats. 
  • The babies will learn independence and be able to explore lots of textures and flavors at an earlier age. 

Some disadvantages: 
  • It sounds like it will be extremely messy at meal times for everyone. 
  • A lot of food would probably end up being thrown away and wasted. 
  • It will take them a long time to eat by themselves, it would be quicker to spoon-feed. 

Babies are ready to start eating solid foods when they start showing these signs, generally this happens around six months: 
  • They start showing interest in what you are eating at meal times. 
  • They can sit without support. 
  • They lose the tongue-thrust reflex. 
  • They are ready and able to chew, even if they don’t have teeth. 
  • They can pick up items with thumb and forefinger. 

Have any of you used this method for your babies? How has it worked for you? At the moment I’m thinking that we will use kind of a combination. I’ll probably give them some cereals and purees along with other foods as well. I do want them to learn to feed themselves sooner, so maybe I will just give it to them and let them figure out what to do, and be prepared to clean up huge messes! I guess I will see what happens. We still have a few more months before they will be ready, but you know how fast time flies…

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  1. I had planned on doing BLW. Jack gagged and vomited each time. As a first time mom I freaked out. It was so scary. He "choked" each time we tried. I was too nervous and got tired of cleaning up puke. We do pureed food and it works for us.

    1. Yeah I am worried about choking as well, I am a little paranoid about it actually. I'll see how it works, my 15 month old still has a sensitive gag reflex and vomits quite often, hopefully they aren't the same way :)

  2. With our first son, we did it the old-fashioned way, but now he is 5 and a fussy eater. Our second son is now 13 months and we are following BLW. He eats everything and never over eats. It is messy for sure though!

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

    1. I wonder if my first little boy will end up being a picky eater, so far he still eats everything we feed him but he's only 15 months. I think we better get a dog to help clean up the mess! :)

  3. I am also contemplating this approach with our twins. With our older two it was definitely a mixed approach and they are pretty balanced eaters so we will see what works, :)

    1. I will probably go more with a mixed approach as well :)

  4. Hi! Stopping by from Mommy Moments :)
    I know a couple people who are doing this and love it, but I wasn't totally sure what it was all about. Thanks for the explanation. I think I want to try it with my next baby - my daughter is 8 months and we've already got her on purees, although I'm starting to try mixing in some different textures and finger foods now too...Definitely want to look into BLW a bit more with my next one.
    Have a great day! :)
    Nancy @ My Little Criatura

    1. Yeah I wasn't sure what it was either before. I don't think I had even heard of it with my first, but it makes some good points, I kind of want to try it as well :)



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