Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Baby-Led Weaning Diary – The Secret is OUT.

Is Baby Led Weaning our wonderful little secret?

The inspiration for this week’s blog arose from a somewhat confusing telephone conversation I had this morning. I needed to check something with my children’s centre so gave my lovely health visitor a call, only to find out she had now departed for her eagerly awaited maternity leave. Oh, how I remember that time fondly. Every day consisted of nesting, writing an unrealistic birth plan, shopping for useless baby gadgets, cooking, eating, cooking, eating, cooking eating…

Anyway, I was transferred to another health visitor and she asked me how old Alban was and then said: “Oh good, have you introduced finger foods yet or are you still just pureeing?”
“Actually, I haven’t tried purees as we’re doing Baby Led Weaning,” I replied.
“Oh right, yes I’m aware of it of course but we do tend to advocate the more traditional approaches,” she said. “Have you been to one of our weaning talks at the children centre?”
“I haven’t no, because there wasn’t a talk on Baby Led Weaning and I really wanted to try that approach.”
“Oh, OK, well if you need anything do give us a call.” “We don’t have any information on Baby Led Weaning, but I can send you some stuff on general weaning?”
“Ermmm – ok, that would be great,” I said.

Out of all my friends there are two of us doing BLW. Of course one should respect every parent’s decision over their chosen weaning method and appreciate what will suit one family would not suit another. I’m also conscious of not provoking a BLW verses pureeing argument and am certainly not presuming parents should or would choose BLW over pureeing. However, I do feel if there was equal emphasis and awareness of both, then parents could make a more informed choice as to what suits their family.

I heard (or I should I admit copied) BLW from a dear friend who’s two babies are such confident eaters. It was purely by chance I came across it. I wasn’t even pregnant at the time and in those days very concerned about extremely trivial things such as fashion, drinking and holidays – not small people’s eating habits.

I met my friend for lunch and her two adorable babies, who were sitting happily in their highchairs. They then did the most amazing thing – picked up pizza and salad off their trays and shoved it in their mouths. “Where was all the baby mush and plastic spoon and pots?” I asked my friend.
“Oh, we don’t so that – they just eat with us,” she replied.
I was so excited (much to my friend’s amusement) I even had to take a picture of them gobbling their pizza and salad it was that impressive. I then decided if I was ever lucky enough to have a baby, BLW would be something I would love to try.

When Alban was ready to be weaned, all I kept hearing was baby rice, rusks and pureeing – in that order! At around four months, well meaning extended family (not my lovely mum) and friends advised: “It’s time to get him onto a bit of baby rice.” Why was it time? He didn’t need it and I didn’t want to give it to him for so many reasons. That was my choice and baby rice lovers may disagree, but I was not advising others not to give baby rice and wait until their baby was 6 months old, so they could start BLW. I can honestly say that I was not aware or offered BLW as a possible weaning option . I reckon that if it wasn’t for that lunch with my friend and her babies I would probably be going berserk with a blender and broccoli right now, not writing this blog!

If you type weaning and then baby weaning into Google, the top search and result (on my computer) is Annabel Karmel’s site. Proof that pureeing is (according to the internet) the most popular weaning choice. There’s also a thread on the BLW forum right now discussing how common BLW is in your area – many have similar experiences to mine.

I asked a couple of friends who aren’t doing BLW why they decided to go for the puree option. I explained I wanted to know for this blog and to get a clearer understanding of the attraction of purees. Most said they chose purees as it was what their health visitor or children’s centre recommended, and were put off BLW because of concerns over gagging and choking. A couple of mums said it was easier and cleaner to spoon fed purees as with BLW there would just be too much mess. The majority also said they felt happier and believed it was more safe for them to feed their babies, rather than letting the babies them feed themselves.

My decision was based on the fact I knew I wouldn’t have the time, energy or patience to steam, mash and puree. I then didn’t want to have to resort to jar dinners because I was too lazy to puree. I also love the fact that Alban can control his own portions so if he wants 3 weetabix for breakfast (happened yesterday) and is not fussed about lunch – that’s up to him. It makes me so happy to see him enjoying fresh, (mostly!) healthy food that we’re eating and for all of those reasons that’s why BLW is an absolute no-brainer for us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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18 Responses to “Baby-Led Weaning Diary – The Secret is OUT.”

  1. Janet says:

    Sorry to say but BLW is indeed the way forward. I think it will be one of those things that ‘catches on’ like slings.

    It’s easier as you say and better for child and avoids two months of pureeing – in fact, this could mean that eventually all weaning begins from 6 months not 4.

    We’ve loved it so far.

  2. Cait says:

    I feel really lucky now. I asked about weaning at the local baby clinic, having missed their talk, and lo and behold, they recommend BLW in my neck of the woods. They give information about both (and plenty of it, they gave me copies of the presentations I’d missed) but advocate BLW. They painted a pretty clear picture of the pros and cons, and were very careful to warn me about the gagging and tell me I should just sit on my hands and let baby get on with it unless she actually chokes. The health visitors here ROCK!

  3. BigFlower says:

    They also advocate BLW in my area too! New mums are invited to a “weaning talk” when their babies are about 4 months old – if they have already started purees they are advised to stop and encouraged down the BLW route.

    I honestly don’t understand why you would do it any other way when you know about BLW – it just makes so much sense to me! That said among my friends from outside my small hippy-tastic town I am a freak with my crazy BLW ways!!!

  4. Maz says:

    Yay! – I agree BLW all the way – lot’s of my recent friends do it – having said that it wasn’t in vogue when mine were babies and you get so much advice (from absolutely anyone and everyone) about feeding techniques it takes courage to ‘go against the grain’. I recommend it to people and they are always excited about the idea. Also the art of chewing is very good for our jaws! Keep chomping!!

  5. pics says:

    Our health visitors recommend it too …..

  6. Angela says:

    Really enjoyed reading this post just now. Our daughter is 7 months old and we have tried purees and BLW. She does get on with both, but doesn’t like my home cooked purees at all!! She does however, love home cooked food that “adults” would eat. That made our minds up. She does have the odd jar and likes a nice yoghurt off a spoon. But generally if she doesn’t feel like eating BLW style, then she doesn’t feel like having food shovelled into her mouth from a spoon either. The last two weeks have shown a huge turn in her eating, and I would encourage all new parents starting out on weaning (of any method) to keep persevering!!!! Especially if you doing BLW!! Don’t give up. It does work. They just need lots of time, encouragement and lovely food to try. I’m so glad we stuck with it. I’m normally a conventional type of person, and just do what everyone else does, so this was quite a challenge for me……definately worth it!!!!

  7. Aaah, I remember writing those unrealistic birth plans :)

    Great post!

  8. Pauline says:

    My daughter is only 4 and a bit months old but as soon as I heard about BLW I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It’s the perfect answer to my deeply engrained laziness; if I can do without purees, I’m all up for it. Also I can’t wait to see her with a chicken leg in her hand.

    I’ve not even started though, and I already got comments when I said that I would continue to rely on breastfeeding for her nutrients for the first year and just let her play with her food. Apparently she will be malnourished if I don’t force feed her proteins for her iron intake…

    I am also really surprised that it is considered such a ‘new’ thing; one really wonders how the world survived before formula, blenders and Annabel Karmel…

    • Aitch says:

      i’ve never found the protein line that convincing, there are plenty of proteins that you can give wee kids. my own children LOVED steak to a near-vampiric degree.

  9. Vicky says:

    This blog is so refreshing and I find it a real support as I’m the only one of my group of friends who is doing BLW so it can feel isolating. I really don’t understand why so many more people don’t follow BLW or at least give it a try – out of all my friends I’m the only one whose baby has not had any problems with food and who happily sits there eating away. I’ve recommended BLW to my sister-in-law whose about to wean my nephew but hear she’s just gone out and bought baby rice and weaning pots so guess that’s another one lost to the cause!

    • Aitch says:

      I really think some people like the blending thing, though, it does seem quite maternal i guess, doing that extra work for your baby. It’s just that i’m too lazy, personally…

  10. amanda says:

    Is it BLW really that good?Because some books not talk about all of the weaning methods.

    amanda

  11. Gallicgirl says:

    BLW promoted in Essex too and the nursery are reasonably ok with it. Think we might have an issue with some jobsworth at the county council but I’ve instructed nursery to continue with BLW and to let my daughter get as messy as she wishes.

  12. Anna says:

    Our health visitor was very negative about BLW until she went & stayed with her DIL, she came back saying how incredible it was…. Yes it is!

    And our centre now runs a weekly BLW session :)

    • Aitch says:

      that’s hysterical… mind you i can totally see why people would be a bit negative about it before seeing babies chomping away, it so totally goes against what we’ve been sold for the last sixty or so years.

  13. Natalie says:

    I’m in Australia & BLW was not discussed as an option by my child health nurse. Only found out about it as I saw my cousin reading the book one day. I dont know any one else doing BLW. I hope its different in other parts of Australia but that is my experience.

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