A couple of weeks ago, I briefly explained the premise of Baby-Led Weaning and how it’s working out wonderfully for our family. Here are a few more details on BLW. When I get time, I’ll try to upload a video of Andrew chewing up his food with only his gums. It’s pretty amazing.
- Mess, mess, and more mess: As long as you’re fine with this, there’s no problem. Being a bit of a neatnik, I have a hard time with this, but I’m getting over it. I just deal with the fact that I might have to change him after each meal. Many times I don’t, but it’s always a possibility. A friend gave us an awesome bib that’s really more of a smock. It wipes clean and has long sleeves (and comes from England. How cool is that?). We will definitely be getting lots of use out of this!
- Concerns about choking: The book, Baby-Led Weaning, explains how this doesn’t need to be much of a concern. Now a baby might gag, but as the authors explain, a younger baby’s gag reflex is closer to the front of his mouth, and it moves further back over time. So when a baby gags on something, it’s pretty close to the front of his mouth, and as long as he’s in an upright position, he’ll spit the food out with no problem. This has been our experience with Andrew, and I’m no more concerned about him choking than I was with Isabelle.
- No way to gauge what baby eats: Again, if you’re fine with this, then it’s not really a problem. With BLW, you never know how much food the baby has eaten until you take him out of the high chair and see what food has fallen down in the seat. I don’t mind not knowing how much Andrew is eating because this is the attitude we’ve developed with Isabelle, our 2 year old. We present her with a healthy meal. If she eats it, great. If she doesn’t eat much, that’s fine too. She’ll eat up at her next meal. Isabelle has become a better eater since we’ve taken this approach, which was our pediatrician’s suggestion. I like that we’re starting out this way with Andrew. It’s always easier to start as you mean to go, rather than changing up the rules later on.
- Easy Peasy: I love that I can just put food on his tray and enjoy my meal. There’s no stress or frustration involved in feeding the baby.
- Developing a positive attitude towards food: Food is just fun for him, so he has a blast experiencing different foods. There’s nothing he won’t try!
- Baby learns to regulate his own intake of food: He is responsible for knowing when he’s full, and I trust him on that one. It’s the same way it works with breastfeeding, so there’s no need to interfere with what he’s been responsible for since birth. Just like I don’t force him to nurse for one more minute, I never make him take one more bite.
- No food to buy: We don’t buy babyfood, but then again, we never have. I still bake sweet potatoes for him or slice up fresh peaches, but there’s very little prep work involved in this method.