When I say we, I mean Gunnar.
That is the gist of Baby Led Weaning, or BLW. It is not weaning like we American’s use in the traditional sense though. This is a baby weaning ONTO solids, not off milk. I will still be nursing for at least another year or so. The foods he will be trying are for his practice at chewing (or gumming as he is toothless) and putting food to his mouth and tasting different things.
Food before one is just for fun.
I posted on my BBC blog about things we were going to do different this time but this is one thing I did not discover until just a few months ago when I also decided I was not going to pump and give him a bottle.
Here in the US, the baby food companies have marketed to parents their purees in “stages” starting at 4 months. I am guilty of buying in and giving my kids organic cereal and fruit as soon as they could sit up. Chloe got cereal at 4.5 months because we were in a meeting and I was not comfortable nursing in a room with people…I REGRET it so much because knowing what I know now about the gut, it was way too early and maybe why she has cavities and allergies now. (This was also one of my reasons to not pump).
The basics of BLW is giving them sticks or chip sized portions of softish food and letting them play with it when they are ready.
-6 months old (or within a week like we are) and interested in your food
-Able to bring food to mouth
-No tongue thrust
You do not put food in their mouth for them, you do not grab it when they gag and you watch them.
BUT WHAT IF THEY CHOKE?
From what I have read, babies have a gag reflex that is at the front of their mouth, where adults have the reflex at the back. This allows them to gag quicker (which looks terrifying) and not choke. Letting them lead how they eat actually allows them to learn how much to take in sooner than putting a spoon of liquid in their mouth that is swallowed no matter what. There is more of a choke risk going from spoon purees to solids than there is starting at solids. But you must watch them because they can break off a large chunk and there are safety guidelines to follow of course.
We technically started with pears because he grabbed a slice I was eating so I let him lick it. Then I gave him a slice of watermelon which he nommed on.
This steamed bell pepper slice was his first “official” BLW food and he did pretty good with it.
At first, I thought he still had his tongue thrust because he was just licking it. I thought we were going to have to wait a week to try again but then he started sticking it in his mouth and mushing it more. I still don’t think he ate any of it, but that is to be expected.
The next day, I gave him some pear and he mashed that in his mouth as quick as possible.
We are going to go slow because this type of feeding is freaking Corey out and he does not feel Gunnar is ready for “food”. I borrowed the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook from the library so he promised to read it so he can see what to expect since this is so different than us giving a spoonful of mush like we did with the other 3.
The hard part will be watching Finn so he does not give him stuff he is not supposed to eat yet!