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Monday, February 17, 2014

Baby Led Weaning

Before I write this, I am not an expert.  This is MY experience with baby led weaning.  If you want to know more, go to the website, buy the book, and check out the many blogs that are devoted to this way of eating.

Basically, baby led weaning (BLW) is just a different way of teaching you baby to eat solids.  Semmes never had rice cereal, he never ate any pureed food, and we never fed him with a spoon.  We started right around the time he was six months old (which is very important) and instead gave him just regular food.  The first thing he ate was steamed baby carrots.  No, he didn't have teeth.  Yes, he was able to "chew" the food.  If you've ever breast fed a baby, you know how strong their little jaws can be.    It did take him a while to actually consume anything.  With spoon feeding, babies learn to swallow first and chew later.  With BLW, they learn to chew first, then swallow.  He was getting all his nutritional needs met through nursing, so it really wasn't a big deal that he was experimenting more than he was eating.  Learning to chew first also means they are much less likely to choke.  Anyway, this is Semmes eating carrots.  He was already putting EVERYTHING into his mouth, he was really excited that this tasted good too.

And then he ate broccoli, which he still loves,  Broccoli is a good first food, since it has a nice stem for them to hold.  At first, all the food has to be longer than their fists, since they don't yet have a pincher grasp.  

There are a million things I can say about this.  I really liked it.  It may not be for you.  But I'm going to conclude with what I have found are some pro's and con's.

Con's:  It's messy.  Really, really messy.  But I think this is funny more than anything.  And the better they get at eating, the less messy they are.  Also, feeding a baby pureed food can also be pretty messy.  

You waste food.  But I'd be throwing away pureed food too.  Plus, the whole thing is they are supposed to eat what you eat.  Obviously, this doesn't ALWAYS happen; I'm not giving my child hot dogs or delivery pizza.  But most of what I make, he can eat with us and the leftovers.  I actually find myself using more of my leftovers now.  

Pro's:  I'm lazy and I don't have to make and store baby food.  Yay! 

I don't have to remember to pack pureed food and spoons for him for lunch/dinners out.  There's always something he can eat.  

He will eat anything.  Indian food, Greek food, Mexican food, soup, chili, pasta, etc.  He's eaten and loved all of it.  For example, he ate a banana and cheerios for breakfast this morning (which he eats every morning).  Then for lunch, we split a bowl of white bean chicken chili and he also ate some broccoli, string cheese, and a pumpkin and banana flavored teething wafer.  Tonight, I'm making a spicy chicken with fried rice.  He'll probably eat that with us and eat the rice as leftovers.  Yummy.

Peas, corn, organic chicken nugget

Veggie mix and taziki sauce (he went crazy for the Greek food)

A pesto, chopped chicken, Greek yogurt mixture we made for sandwiches (a version of chicken salad) and veggies

Last pro:  It's a social experience.  He eats WITH us.  And he loves it.  He laughs, smiles, eats, and generally seems to really enjoy meals.  

Eating with the cousins at Christmas.

All-in-all, we've really enjoyed our BLW experience.  If you're teaching a baby to eat, I recommend you check it out.

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