Baby led weaning (BLW) didn’t work for us when baby was ready for solids at 6 months. Learn how we found a compromise that worked for our entire family.
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a hot practice in the world of natural mamas right now.
It’s a method of gradually weaning your baby from a milk diet, whether breast milk or formula, to solid foods. It allows your baby to control his/her solid food intake by self-feeding from the very beginning of the weaning process.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
BLW school 1: Large chunks of food
From what I’ve researched, it looks like there are two schools of camp on how to implement BLW. One is give your child big chunks of food, preferably foods with a “handle” like bananas and broccoli, and letting your child gnaw off small bites. The theory is that babies don’t have the ability to send foods to the back of their throats until they are able to chew. And they are not able to chew until they can reach out and grab objects. Therefore, a baby can’t practice BLW until he/she can chew and swallow foods safely.
My experience: I tried giving Griffin a banana and he proceeded to gnaw off a large piece that was heading back to his throat. It freaked me out as it looked like a major choking hazard to me. That’s when my experiment with giving Griffin large chunks of food stopped. I just didn’t feel comfortable with taking any risks.
BLW school 2: Small pieces of soft food
The other BLW school of thought is to place very small, soft foods in front of baby for him/her to eat. According to this theory, it keeps the choking hazard is to a minimum while also empowering your child to feed him or herself.
My experience: At 6 months, Griffin doesn’t have the motor skills to grab very small pieces and put into his month consistently. This usually develops closer to 8 months.
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What’s a mama to do?
My dilemma is that Griffin was clearly interested in food, staring and grabbing for it when we ate. But, he was too young to feed himself in a way that I felt comfortable.
Practice the middle way
I decided to do the homemade food purees for the next few months as a bridge until he is able to feed himself small pieces of food. This way, he’s being introduced to new flavors and the practice of eating, granted, he only eats a few tablespoons a day, while remaining safe in his mama’s eyes.
There are some wonderful, unexpected side effects to this practice. My husband and mom are able to bond with Griffin in a new way through feeding him, something they’ve been deprived of up until now since Griffin is a breastfed baby.
How about you?
Did you do BLW from the start or did you do some purees? Please share your experience so we can all learn!