Back in my pre-baby days when I first heard the term “Baby Led-Weaning”, I scoffed and thought it was just another silly parenting trend and didn’t give it much thought. But once our son was born and we started looking at options for adding food to his diet at 6 months, BLW just made sense. I now call it “self-feeding” because that’s essentially what it is!
With BLW, you give the child food that you would eat in manageable sized pieces they can handle. So for example if we have chicken and salad, I will pull apart some chicken, in french-fry sized pieces and I will pull out some tomato chunks and cucumber for him to eat.
I’m no expert when it comes to BLW so I’ll direct you to the same resource I turned to when I needed help before we started feeding our son. Also, I’m not a doctor. What I’m sharing is purely anecdotal!
The Baby Led Weaning book explains the mechanics of self-feeding and I kept having a-ha moments while reading. The book explains how kids want to touch, lick, bite, and explore their food before they eat it. When we hand our son something to eat he flips it over and over and over and examines every aspect of his food before it even hits his lips.
Here are a few of the perks we’ve found of Baby Led Weaning!
There’s no need to buy expensive pre-prepared purees or cereals. The baby literally eats what you are already cooking for yourself. If I’m having oatmeal for breakfast, I give him a couple spoonfuls or if I’m having eggs, I make an extra egg for him.
We spend zero extra time in the kitchen preparing food for our son. There is no preparing of vegetables, steaming, pureeing, and freezing. He eats when we eat and eats the same stuff. The only additional work is putting a few pieces of food on his plate.
Dinner time is family time. Our son sits at his little high chair at the table with his food in front of him and feeds himself while we eat. Both my husband and I get to enjoy our supper and no one has to rush to finish in order to feed him. This will be increasingly important when there are more kiddies at the table.
3. LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
I once read (can’t remember where) that there is no toy that can teach a child all the things BLW can. From eye hand coordination to fine motor skills, BLW helps teach all those important skills. If you’ve noticed your little one puts everything in their mouth to taste, you’ll see they already pretty much know how to eat. If you replace that toy with something they can eat, you’ve got BLW!
4. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
We’ve all had to sit at the table when were kids until we were finished, even when we didn’t want to. With BLW, there is no forcing. The child will learn to listen to their own bodies and decide when they are finished. Before 1 years old they are still getting majority of their nutrients from breast milk or formula so there’s no need to force food if they don’t want it. The goal with our son and future kiddos is to let them have a healthy relationship with eating and to teach them to listen to their bodies, which is instinct for them,l if you let it happen naturally.
I totally pictured feeding my future baby to be a sweaty struggle, pushing purees into their mouth, them screaming and spitting it out. BLW is actually super fun. He looks like such a little adult sitting there eating big people food. We get to experiment with flavours and textures and he loves it! Having food with flavour isn’t a big deal for little ones who drink breast milk because they have been tasting different flavours through mom’s breast milk all along.
BLW works for our family but it certainly isn’t for everyone. We have been very lucky and haven’t experienced any choking, gagging, or vomiting which I’ve read can be common for some families. If we went through that with our son, BLW might not be such a positive experience for us. It’s not for everyone!
And once again, I’m not a doctor and this is all anecdotal information. If you have any questions about your child’s diet I urge you to seek out a professional to answer your questions.
Have you heard of BLW? Tried it and loved it or it wasn’t for you? Let me know in the comments!
PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these blogs.