I've been meaning to make a post about our progress with Baby Led Weaning and now have a chance to sit down and do so. Naps are so few and far between these days.
Baby Led Weaning, or BLW, is poorly named because when people hear you are following it they assume you are weaning your child from breastfeeding which isn't BLW at all. Sometimes you'll hear it being referred to as Baby Led Solids which I feel is a much better term. Instead of spoon feeding your child purees you are giving your child table foods and allowing them to eat along with you. Studies have shown that this affords children the opportunity to explore different tastes and textures of foods. BLW children are said to be less picky with their foods. This makes sense to me because often pablum and purees seem tasteless or a far cry from their fresh counterparts.
With BLW you offer your child foods and allow them to choose what they want to eat. You do not feed them, but allow them the power to feed themselves. For example, instead of feeding Sebastian yogurt from a spoon, I load the spoon and either set it down or hold it out for him to grab. He puts the spoon in his own mouth.
In the beginning you don't expect babies to eat much of what is placed in front of them (Most of their nutrition up to a year comes from breastmilk or formula anyway). They usually just explore it. Sebastian doesn't play with his food much, nor does he drop much on the floor if he's in the mood to get down to business. He does taste everything and mash it into his mouth. He will take bites of things and roll it around in his mouth and suck on it. Sometimes I'll find a piece a few hours later that he's stored like a chipmunk.
So while he isn't swallowing much I do find evidence of it in his diapers more and more each week. I think that will just come with time. He has mastered use of his sippy cup, however, and loves totting it around to get sips of water now and again. He tips his head back and everything. Of course he also tries to drink out of any cup or bottle we are drinking out of which makes morning coffee consumption a bit difficult.
As for the foods he's tried, I'm very impressed with his list and impressed by what he seems to like and will "eat". He'll try anything you place in front of him and there are only a few thinks he's ever made a face at (but then will try it again anyway). The following is our list of foods, his very favorites have a heart next to them. Most veggies we steam though some we roast, like the squash. Most fruit will be given to him with the skin and rind on so he can get a better grip of it.
Green beans ♥
Sweet potato (has to be mashed and he's not into that texture)
Whole wheat pasta
Cinnamon raisin bagel
Chicken (roast and pan cooked)
Hot dog (small piece due to all the crap in them)
Yogurt (various flavours)
Pizza (homemade including crust)
Grilled cheese ♥
Meat pasta sauce
The few foods he didn't seem to like after a few tries were avocado, sweet potato, and banana. I suspect it's because of the texture. We'll keep trying those out periodically to see if he changes his mind.
Here he was double spooning. He does pretty well with holding the spoon correctly but sometimes will ignore the handle to feel the fun stuff on the spoon. After this he offered his spoon of yogurt to the cat.
This was his first try of broccoli. He got the hang of it right away and will eat both ends. It's a good food to start with because they have good handles that allow babies to get a good grip.
Mmm banana, or not. I give it to Sebastian cut in half with a fourth of the peel peeled away so he has a peel covered handle. Banana on its own was too hard to handle. As you can see by his face he wasn't liking it. This was around the fourth time we tried it. By the way, banana stains. It leaves weird black flecks on clothes. Who knew?
Another broccoli shot. He does love his broccoli. He can always have mine.
This is what gagging looks like. At first it's scary and luckily for us it doesn't happen often, however, once you settle down and realize it's the child's way of preventing choking, it's pretty cool to watch. You can see the bit of broccoli he has on his tongue. It was too big and he slowly moved it forward until he could spit it out.
"Millions of peaches...", yeah Sebastian would be happy. He loves fresh peaches.
We are still thrilled with our choice to BLW and can see that it works for us and for Sebastian. Alex says that he only wishes he knew about it when his older kids were little because he loves it so much.
For those that are interested in learning more, check out the following websites:
Gill Rapley's Original Paper on BLW (Dutch site with lots of info)
babyledweaning.com with forum