Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

You’ve got 6 months to get this weaning thing cracked…

So don't sweat it.

It really irritates me that so many Health Visitors I hear about seem to be making a virtue out of the fact that if you feed your babies puree 'you can have him on three meals a day within a fortnight'. Honest, my friend's HV told her that only last week.

I just don't understand what the rush is… is it not true that babies should be getting the bulk of their nutrients from their milk for the first 12 months? Did I pick that up wrong?

Well, I suppose that if I was spoon feeding my child every day while my own meal got cold then I'd be highly motivated to get onto the 'self-feeding' stage, but don't people who are doing baby led weaning get a free pass in that regard? Or is it just me who truly does not give a flying bollock how quickly Babybear takes to solids?

Now, I'm not saying that if she was refusing all food that I would be quite so relaxed, and I do understand that I am fortunate that she is prepared to give most things at least a try before letting them dangle precariously over the side of her highchair in the manner of a gangland boss dealing with a copper's nark. But if you read the BLW FAQ you will see that a lot, really, a lot of the Yahoo Group babies didn't take to self-feeding until they got to 12 months. Which is, not by coincidence I think, the same time as their milk needs to be supplemented…

So if you are new to BLW and freaking out because your friends' puree-fed babies seem to be wolfing down chickenandapricotandsweetpotato mush as fast as their mums can spoon it in, don't worry, your baby will get there when they are ready. To be perfectly honest Babybear rarely has three square meals a day and she's nearly ten months old, but that is I admit largely down to my lack of organisation. I reckon I've got another couple of months before I need to crack it so I'm not at all worried.

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51 Responses to “You’ve got 6 months to get this weaning thing cracked…”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just love your straight talking Aitch! It's so true how mush shovellers love to tell you of their latest cook up; Chicken Casserole, Lamb and Bean Hot Pot, etc, and how their little darling just loved it ! What they don't tell you is that actually it took 214 verses of 'The Wheels on the Bus' to get it down their babies necks and that infact it was threwn up an hour later.
    Total topic change – Has Babybear tried any pasta yet?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Extreme views for one so new to BLW!!! Most mum's are just trying their best to do what they think is right for their babies and don't force feed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Everyone wants the best for their baby. Do what comes naturally. Nothing worth doing is easy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It does feel a little intimidating to be responding to anonymous postings but I need to say that I totally agree that everyone is doing their best here. That includes me too, I'm not here to put anyone's choices down.
    The point of that post was that it seems that puree-fed babies take to solids earlier and quicker, so mums doing BLW should try not to compare themselves with their friends who are spoon feeding and expect to keep to the HV's timetable of just a few weeks.
    It seems to take longer for BLW babies to get the hang of things, and if we all relax and give ourselves the 6 months then the whole weaning experience need not be stressful. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to get stressed? Probably…
    And I'm glad that things are going well, The Momma, and in fact Babybear dined on spaghetti bolognese this afternoon and loved it. Bit messy. But I did sing The Ugly Duckling a couple of times to distract her from slapping water from her highchair tray onto the curtains…
    I do need to state that some of my best friends are 'mush-shovellers', though, bless their hearts and spoons, and are really enjoying the weaning experience so I think it's horses for courses. I don't think that any of them force feeds their child (okay, well there is one, actually, who does a bit of jamming of spoon into mouth but only one.)
    I do notice that they are all giving their babies finger foods maybe a little earlier than they might otherwise have, so it gets us all closer to that 'piping hot meal' that we all so desire when we are out for lunch together. Which, if you feel like you haven't had a chance for a proper chat in nine months, can only be a good thing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just about to type and had to deal with one very full nappy – up to the neck! The joys of motherhood. Sorry if anyone was upset by my little rant yesterday. Mother-in-laws who constantly tell you 'we didn't do it like that' kinda get you a little cross now and then! I am just so into the whole BLW approach. Who knows in a few weeks I might think differently – watching and listening to the Baba suck a piece of cucumber will keep me amused for hours (mean mummy – gotta get your kicks some how) so I don't think I'll be changing tack anytime soon. However, The baba has developed an alarming attachment to a free petie filous spoon said mother-in-law gave her. But she does spend more time waving it about than trying to get it in her mouth. I'm sure I would be merrily making tasty hotpots and freezing it in ice cube trays (because I do love to cook) if I had not been introduced to BLW by HV and seen this wonderful site! And I'm sure me and the Baba would have been having just as much fun. So Anonymous have fun what ever you do.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yay! I've been lurking for a while, but finally sorted out how to post….my HV looked at me very oddly when I mentioned that we're going to be doing BLW (Minipig is only ten weeks atm)…my Mum thinks I'm insane, despite having relevant studies thrust into her hands every time she mentions it!
    By the way….Hello!

  7. Anonymous says:

    you are so right – and i'm so glad that you have the wherewithal to say these things out loud!
    i really am not worried that angelcake seems to eat less than her puree-fed chums, but i can't help wondering about the difference when i watch them opening their little mouths hungrily for the next spoonful. it is really reassuring to hear someone say what i think deep down and chase away that niggling imp off my shoulder.
    my mother-in-law was really worried when we first started, because angelcake gagged so often, but now she loves watching her tucking in to fruit and veg so independently.

  8. Anonymous says:

    er, thell… don't look now but you seem to have some sort of pixie hovering around your neck area… is it a niggling imp on your shoulder?
    phew, it's gone now…
    (i would use a smiley here if i was that sort of person, but you get the gist.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    hello Pink, my goodness you are organised… i don't think i had my head out from under the duvet when Babybear was ten weeks old…
    see you again in sixteen or so weeks time, it'll fly by.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Seriously – do NOT worry about how much food baby is taking in unless they're also off their milk (in which case they're probably showing other poorly symptoms). The key, imo, to successful BLW – and to building a good relationship with food all their lives – is for you to stay chilled out about it. So what if they only eat three pieces of pasta for lunch? Odds are (ime) they'll eat like a horse the next day. As long as you're feeding milk unrestrictedly, they're not going to go short of nutrients or calories. Babies have hungry and not-hungry days just like adults. If you're really worried, keep a week's diary of what they eat and usually you'll see it balances out to more than you expect. But even if it looks low, bear in mind that some kids just don't really express much of an interest in solids til they're older. You wouldn't measure walking/talking by such a narrow band of time, so don't apply it to eating either. You'll feel better :) Our attitude is “If she eats, great. If she doesn't, no problem”. She won't let herself starve because she'll ask for milk if she wants it.
    One last point – sure, you can see puree-fed babies who clear the plate every time, but you can't see how much is actually being digested – so don't let lumps of food in poo be a red herring either.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well, Minky just had a very unsuccessful lunch if the aim was to actually get food into her tummy. If the aim was to pick up lumps of cottage pie and drop them on the floor, then she gets a gold star! She polished off her banana just fine though. Honestly, what would we do without bananas?
    I do find it difficult to accept that some days she will eat virtually nothing. Well, I accept it, but I do worry about her a bit. Wednesday was virtually a banana-only day. Thursday was a mountain of food. Today is looking like banana-only!
    To be fair, she had attached a peg to the inside of her mouth just before lunch. I wouldn't want to eat much with the taste of my own blood still fresh in my mouth. If only we would buy her some toys so that she didn't have to play with pegs…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Minky's now eating a corn snack she threw on the floor eight times whilst in her high chair. Apparently it taste better if you eat it whilst hiding under the table.

  13. Anonymous says:

    'don't let lumps of poo be a red herring either'
    oh no! and we were going to have red herring for tea…
    Seawood's is good advice, seriously Thell, Babybear often has banana days too. But then sometimes I have cereal-and-milk days, so i know how she feels.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, not Thell, I meant Moomin.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi ther BLWers. Hi Pink.
    Me and the Baba on second week of BLW now. Perhaps we have enough experience now to make a comment?!?
    The Baba has enjoyed licking and sucking a variety of food and yesterday had cucumber – she just love those seeds! and pear out at IKEA!! Me and Granny were very proud to see our little one sucking furiously on cool cucumber (nice for teeth coming!). But yesterday she actually started to get bit of food mushed off, keep it in her mouth and swallow! Hurrah! I know ther is no rush but she has been breast feeding like a maniac recently and sleep is not great as getting up two or three times to feed her. So how does BLW affect sleep??

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sleep – ahhhh the eternal question , will they sleep more? – does she sleep through? – does the burger before bed help? MMMMmmmmmmm not sure. Boomer has always woken once or twice during the night. The amount she eats doesn't really see to make any difference. I know this isn't really helpful and at the moment what you need to hear is soon she will sleeeeeeeeeeeeepppppppp.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Poop. I was going to try her on a nice juicy quarted pounder next…Do not actually mind the 3am feed too much. She is quick and half asleep. Maybe it will be different when I return to work. Other people are quite obsessed with your baby sleeping through. My HV is convinced they all lie when asked the question – 'Oh yes they sleep right through, not a peep!' I am often made to feel inadequate by fellow mums whose little dears sleep through. But I have to say I would rather feed her at 3am and then be woken at 7:30 than to be woken at 6am.
    Change of subject – I do that a lot – kiwis. Do babies like them?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Depends if they're Australian or not.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Yeah sorry about the facetious answer. I agree about the sleeping through….kinda.
    TheBubs has just started doing it about 50% of the time and I swear she isn't eating any more. You're right one feed in the night is fine if she goes straight back to sleep, but with teething we are finding she wants more than just a breastfeed. This usually coincides on a night when I am working the next day and has to be woken at 6.45 because she's knackered, so we get a disturbed night, an early morning and a long day at work to get through. When she sleeps through it's usually to 7.30 on a day I am not working and DON'T need to get up. I've spent the 3 months since I've been back at work praying that she will start sleeping through, and am still not happy when she does!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Babybear has slept through since about six weeks, give or take the odd teething sesh or stuffy cold. I think it was the hammock.
    If anything, starting her on solid foods interrupted her sleep patterns, which is understandable given that her digestive system was suddenly kicking into action.
    And she doesn't get kiwi and strawberries yet as they are associated with possible latex allergies. I'm not being particularly cautious, just that i don't care for kiwis and would rather have rasps then strawbs any day.

  21. Anonymous says:

    ahhh – who needs sleep anyway. I agree that I prefer a 3am feed than an 6am alarm call , although with the tusk that appears to be coming through Boomers gums at the moment I regularly get both! I knew those party years staying up all night would stand me in good stead in the long run.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well Ihave been attempting blw for 2 months and have been meaning to post something every time i log on .So here goes Cublet is doing just fine ,gaining weight and enjoying flicking food. At the moment everything is given a serious flicking at some stage during the meal.I must say flicking my nipple with greast joy was less well received. I have had phases where i torture myself that he is eating much less than mush weaners but have also found somedays he eats hardly anything and others eats a helping I would be proud of. He has been on a mix of breast and bottle since birth due to poor production but has baby led bottle intake and when I think back some days he would make it very clear boob just wasn't enough and other days would be fine without extra so perhaps there is no difference if you leave him to his own devices. Re sleep I did notice a change about 4 weeksi nto BLW when he was beginning to swallow a bit more I was up several times a night with him crying and looking like he had dodgy gut….all would be sorted with a good fart/poo. This lasted about 3 week sand then settled but I don'tknow whether this is just Cublet or BLW .He was a month prem so six and half months but five and half months on all hv charts when I started BLW . I just put it down to his gut maturing. Still having sleepless nights as he is rolling round the cot and getting stuck.

  23. Anonymous says:

    hi Shelly,
    when we moved Babybear into a cot she used to roll around and bang her head on the bars. all was solved with just one Ikea cot bumper that only cost £7.99. I wish we'd got one earlier… Glad to hear that the Cublet is doing well with BLW, that one day on, one day off thing can be unnerving, can't it?

  24. Anonymous says:

    hi all,
    can we be a wee bit careful about posting message titles that have words of, say, more than 25 letters? this sleeeeeeeeeeep one is rather squashing the blog into a thin stripe down the middle and it's not going to stop until the messages die out of Recent Comments. cheers, Hx

  25. Anonymous says:

    My LO slept through the night (ie from 7pm to 7am rather than 5am) a week before I stopped bf morning and evening. He was 8 months old and had been BLW for 2 months. I too think food/milk is a red herring once you're past 4 months or so.
    PS My babe loves kiwi fruit (excellent source of vitamin c and kind on the tum), I prepare them in the manner of a mango hedgehog (IYKWIM) ie cut them in half and then criss cross with a knife and turn inside out ! He like to nibble the nobbles off.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure if this is the right place to be posting this so if it is in the wrong place – sorry!!
    I stumbled across this site (and very glad I did!) Looking for weaning advice.
    My daughter is 7 months old and we have been weaning since just before 6 months. Starting of with the HV favourite of baby rice and then fruit purees etc etc. She seemed to be doing well but hated all veg. I tried warm and cold, mixing with fruit (lol!) alsorts and she hates them all. So I stupidly mentioned to my health visitor who basically told me my daughter was playing me and I had to be more pushy and only offer her veg and if she doesn't take it take it away and try again in 20 mins and go on until she takes it.
    This veg situation is causing my daughter and I great stress. I don't want to starve and forcefeed my baby and every instinct in my body tells me that this woman in wrong. But as a first time mum I am not completely confident and when someone is telling me my baby is not getting all she needs nutritionally I started to worry.
    THEN….I found this blog.
    I LOVE IT!!
    I love the whole idea of BLW. I have to say the thought of never having to puree another carrot or sterilise another spoon make me feel so relieved.
    So my daughter in the last few days has enjoyed buttered toast, roasted cheese, cucumber, green beans, cheese, 2 cheerios (lol) banana (which she used to completely refuse when it was mashed)
    I do have some concerns that I was hoping someone could clear up for me.
    I am worried it isn't fair of me to change her weaning method. She is used to being spoon fed now, and perhaps expects her “meals” at meal time. You think it is OK to just start BWL. Will she still have the ability/instinct to regulate her own food intake?
    She had slowed down on the breastfeeding as she was on 3 “meals” a day will this pick back up? I am just worried that she is going to go hungry?

  27. Anonymous says:

    HURRAH!!! melfi, so glad you found us and it sounds like your daughter is doing beautifully already.
    with regards to your question, it's not a question of fair or unfair. she likes it, doesn't she? and BLW, despite having 'a name' isn't much more of a method than 'don't stress the amounts of food and don't limit the amount of milk'. you can continue to give her three meals a day if you want to, the only thing that's changed is that if the baby doesn't want it then you don't have to worry. if it really stresses you out then you could transition for a while but by the sounds of things it would be a bit of a waste of effort if your child is already scarfing down bits of toast.
    I'm not a huge expert on BFing but you have coped with growth spurts so far so i'm presuming that if you take it easy and feed on demand then your supply will pick up. It might be a bit of a chore for a few days, though, i'm afraid…

  28. Anonymous says:

    Don't worry, BLW is completely natural and she is likely to be happier more than put off or go hungry! Carry on BF on demand, allow her to dictate her own schedule and give her her solid meals when you sit down to eat.
    Don't worry about HV they're a breed unto themselves, most of them – have to say MOST as Gill Rapley is a HV and a couple of people here have said they have good ones.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Right – firstly, apologies for being anonymous again, but I cannot seem to get my account working. Anyway, I'm having a worry. The Nome is 6 1/2 months and a big big girl. She's always been a great breastfeeder, which suits her lazy, disorganised mother down to the ground. She's point blank refused bottles in the past, and I think it's a bit late to try to introduce them now, so we're working on cups.
    My problem is that I'd really like another baby quite soon. I'm 35, and so, while not over the hill, don't have the huge luxury of a 25 year old biological clock. However, if I'm still feeding her while she toys with food (yes, you guessed it – a rubbish feeding day from start to finish), I don't like my chances of getting pregnant – no periods = no ovulation, I guess. I don't want to be in a hurry with her, but I'm torn. Some of this is a bit moot, actually, as I have to take high dose folic acid for 3 months before trying again, so she'll be 10 months then, and maybe this will resolve itself.
    Oh pox. Just wanted to see what people thought. Anybody with similar issues?

  30. Anonymous says:

    OK – take it back – have finally got an account. Just thought I'd add this to stop being anonymous. I am the Nome's mother, and I claim my prize…

  31. Anonymous says:

    ooooh, interesting. i mix fed then formula fed so i don't know much about it all. why don't i copy and paste this into a proper post so that people see it easier? wait there. no more posting until i sort it.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if this helps, but positive non the less…
    I am still breast feeding – Xavier will be 1 next week and got my periods back at about 7/8 months – he was waking sometimes 10 times a night then – so was feeding a lot more then than now (down to one feed a day). Another friend who was exclusively BF, got pregnant after 5 months and my SIL didn't get her periods back till after she stopped BF (1 year). So it just shows that we are all different and some can get preggers when BF and some can not – I suppose our bodies are all different? Best of luck and keep trying – if you have the energy!!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Claire
    I got pregnant while bf when dd was 9 months old. She had just gone a few nights with only one night bf, and think that was enough to stimulate ovulation. I decided that dd could manage with formula for night feeds from then on and dh could do them (much to his annoyance) and miraculously within a few weeks she didn't want them. We HAD decided that we were going to start trying and it happened (ahem) first attempt. I haven't had a period since before dd. I'm not 30 yet though…..
    I'm now 28 weeks and finished bf dd when she was 14 months old, 6 weeks ago. It was a very slow wind down and boobs hardly noticed at all. My hormones on the other hand went haywire.
    Good luck!

  34. Anonymous says:

    stop it! i've Started A Proper thread for claire so that it will be searchable, it's going to get lost here … look to your left.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I am also 35 and, whilst not ttc no 2 in a hurry, am also conscious that time is not on my side. However, Small has taken to this food lark like a small hungry thing and is weaning herself off the breast at an alarming rate. She is already prefering a bottle in the afternoons (a measure I have been driven to in order to ensure she gets some milk down her neck).
    From your post the thing that leaps out is that it is early days for The Nome. Small only really started to pick up the hang of it after about 6-8 weeks so you may find that in a few weeks time she may have picked up with the solids a bit.
    I suppose the worst case scenario is that you get to 1 year & she is still BF and still not going great guns with solids. At that point you may feel more comfy embarking on a rather more hard-ass strategy to get her off breast milk – but by then she can start cows milk anyway. If you started your folic acid when she is 9 months then at the one year point, everything will be in place to try to wind down BF & start ttc.
    Btw – I seem to think that one can get pg whilst still bf – if your period comes back in the interim. I still haven't restarted yet so all this is a bit hazy.
    Maybe set some kind of mental deadline that feels OK – like her first birthday and take stock at that point.
    Not sure I've been of much help – but some thoughts for what they are worth!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Aitch – so so sorry. I thought I had replied under the Proper Thread but somehow it didn't work out that way…..

  37. Anonymous says:

    Hi spingle,
    I can't help personally but two of my friends (32 and 35) both got pg whilst bf before their periods had started. I bit of a shock for both of them as you can imagine. No scientific help here at all but probably just a note that ovulation sometimes starts before your periods and that it can happen pretty darn quickly.
    Hope you get a bit more evidence-based help!

  38. Anonymous says:

    oops, how did I do that. This was supposed to be a reply to the bf question. Will try again….

  39. Anonymous says:

    Hi I am in exactly the same position as you. I have researched it and you can ovulate without your periods returning so you can still get pregnant. It gets more likely when your child is over 6 months and if you are going more than 4 hours between feeds during the day and 6 during the night. This came from a peadiatrician. I have also tried and tried with bottles and yesterday got her to take very diluted apple juice – more chewing the teat than sucking but a lot went in and I then tried with a bit of formula and got some in. not taking the risk with EBM yet ! keep trying with a bottle and I also make the holes bigger. After reading this site also just gave my daughter a banana in her hand which she loved. Finally, re being 35 I had my daughter in the Royal Surrey Hospital and the average age for first time mums in that hospital is now 35 so we are not so old after all xx

  40. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad you say most. All in all HVs seem to be fairly berated in this collection of pieces. I'd like to say I am a HV, a breed unto my own, I guess. I'm also a mum trying my best like everyone else seems to be. I first learn't about BLF from a client and I don't find that shameful. It sounded wonderful and I've since learn't a lot more. I support and encourage any woman willing to give it a go.
    I appreciate each and every woman has her individual experience of her health visitor and I don't want to deny that. But there are those of us out there on our knees with work at the moment. For them and all the clients who actually value what we do and tell us they do, I want to say thanks.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I have to say that I have said my HV wasn't happy and posted some of her comments, but I have since discovered that her colleauge (who I know better) was at a conference, heard about BLW, thought it was a wonderful idea and wanted to know more. I had printed some sites off to give to the other HV and gave it to the usual one. She was delighted and is going to have a look online, I've even given her this site (Hello Helen, if you get here!)
    It is good to know that there are some HVs supportive of BLW out there. I have to convince my paediatrition next, he didn't seem keen when I said I was planning on it and I haven't seen him since!

  42. Anonymous says:

    I thought I saw a comment way back about follow on milk but can't find it now. My search abilities are poor!
    Anyway, Bruno is now 5 months and follow on milk is advertised as being from 6 months but is it very different? I'm just thinking of my stock of milk & when I need to switch my shopping order really…

  43. Anonymous says:

    There is absolutely no need for follow on milk. It was invented by the formula companies to get around the advertising/giving free samples ban.

  44. Anonymous says:

    as it happens i never even switched from the no 1 milk as i looked at the pack, there was zillions of iron on there even for a bigger baby and the no 2 pack didn't have fish oils in it.
    i've heard that too about the follow-on milk, Katy, very cunning of them.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I thought that was what I'd read on here before. Thanks – more of the same Mr Supermarket please!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Meant to post last night and got sidetracked. I realise you've already decided, but I also wanted to add that the different formulation of follow-on can constipate some babies (it has more iron in it). And yes, follow-on totally invented to get round the ban on advertising infant formula. Gah.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to compare the two types & see what the differences are for Aptamil. The extra iron I guess is to appease the health visitors who say our LOs need more iron than the starter milk gives?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Partly, and partly the formulation needs to be different, I believe, so that they can market it as a “different product”.
    But yes, much is made of diminishing iron levels – erroneously in many cases, and usually as a stick to beat women who want to keep bfing past 6 months (especially those who are weirdy BLWers and positively starving their babies to boot…!).

  49. Anonymous says:

    When I went to a weaning talk by the dietician she made much of it and then suggested breastfeeding mums buy the vitamins they sell at the clinic!

  50. Anonymous says:

    This issue has been in the news a lot lately, they are plugging the loophole to stop formula companies messing with the ingredients just so they can package it as follow on milk and advertise it. They are now no longer allowed to advertise any infant milk.
    I read a report this morning that said formula companies spend 10 times the amout on advertising as the government! If the givernment was to start spending money on making training available to MWs, HVs and Drs, we would see a lot more babies being BF.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Hi Anon,
    I'm -mk and I'm new here. ummmm don't be fooled, no period does NOT NECESSARILY mean no ovulation. I think whether a woman's body shuts down the repro function while breast feeding continues may depend a lot on how well nourished mom is.
    I have a friend who was exclusively breast feeding and got pg with her second child at 6 weeks! Sooo Ya never know!
    I'm breast feeding on demand and my little one is now 6mos 2weeks. We're only just beginning our adventures in weaning–That's why I'm here! Help!!!
    But that's an aside ;)
    LittleOne had a phase of sleeping through between 3 to 5 months
    So, I'm back on the rag not to put too fine a point on it–sorry ewww
    I'm wondering about a second little wonder too and I'm almost 39! Yikes! The one big thing I did aside from inadvertently taking the right vitamins for conception was that for health reasons I stopped drinking about 2 years ago. I find even orange juice does weird things to me–so I guess strong sugars and alcohol just don't agree with me. I can't get away with anything–makes me ill.
    I think not drinking made a huge difference to my fertility
    but I don't know for sure… certainly didn't hurt though!

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