BLW (Baby Led Weaning) or TLWT (Tough Love Weaning Torture) or “this is a nightmare” as I’ve been heard to call it.
I introduced pureed solids to the boy at 5 months, it all went fine. We had one small chocking incident with a mini flapjack but he sorted himself out and all was well. Now, as a nearly 5year old, he is really fussy. Really, really fussy. It warrants a separate post! So I decided, this time I’d try a different approach to weaning. I knew a little about baby led weaning and it sounded ridiculous, but I read up about it, bought the book and realised that it IS ridiculous. (Although I think I bought the female version as the baby is referred to as a “she” throughout, I’d better find a male version!).
I tried the baby with a little baby rice and some baby porridge from a spoon and it put it politely, he didn’t seem to be the kind of baby that was going to be spoon fed, so I have approached weaning in that ridiculous, whole foods way.
I’m struggling to agree with the concept of BLW, maybe it’s my stubbornness but I find the BLWeensters proclamation that they are different and more natural, very irritating. At the heart of BLW is the principal that the baby feeds itself, rule no.1 – you must never feed your baby, rather counter intuitive! That babies are ready for whole or finger foods at 6 months (not 8 or 9 months as Annabel Karmel may suggest). That they are no stages and purees are not needed, but at the 2nd development stage (not stage 2) you should try some thick soups or dips (not purees) on a spoon or to dip into, (don’t you put the spoon in their mouths though, tut tut tut!) That choking is no more likely to happen with BLW than with puree weaning. You should offer food in large finger sized pieces, small pieces could be a choking hazard. The your baby can pick up the finger sized piece and bit off a small piece (Uh, um, small piece!?! Choking hazard?!?)
I’m finding BLW and anyone’s advice around it a bit too “Tough Love for weaning” for me. “Can’t manage it sweet heart? Well that’s how you learn, practise”. “Can’t swallow something that big honey? Well you have to learn to gag it up and spit it out”. “You’d like to eat taste this delicious thing, well you can’t because you haven’t any teeth to bite it or the skills to chew it or the ability to move it to the back of your mouth and swallow, ha ha ha!”
“You want to eat? Well here’s a load of food. Get on Ok!” “I’m not allowed to help. Sorry, it’ll make you a fussy eater”.
Gagging when beginning weaning is normal and I suppose when whole foods are introduced, gagging should certainly be expected, but if you ask a BLWeenster they will say their baby never gagged. Their baby didn’t gagg and gagg and gagg until it vomited and safely removed the offended piece of banana. Or got a mound of sweet potato stuck to the roof of their mouth and sit there with their mouth gaping open for 10 minutes until I realised and a river of drool covered the high chair tray. And if your baby ever does get anything stuck to the roof of the mouth, don’t remove it, you’re not allowed to remove it. You have to offer it a drink of water. A drink of water!!! My baby has only ever had milk from a bottle, how the hell is offering him a drink of water going to remove a mound of food from his upper palate. (BLWeensters and medical professionals don’t listen. I’m afraid I had to lie him down, shine a torch in his mouth and put my finger in there to get it out). It wasn’t a nice experience.
Well BLWeensters, I’m glad you had a good experience, I’m happy for you. How great that your baby happy chomps away on anything you them. I’ve yet to have a nice experience at meal times, every shudder followed bite, every eye watering swallow and every chicken sneeze* is stressful and worrying. Eating never used to be as difficult as this!
*yesterday the baby had his first taste of chicken. He picked it up, played a bit, put it in his mouth, chewed, spat some out, dropped some, picked some up, then started manically rubbing his eyes. After giving his chicken eyes a little wipe, and trying to wipe his chickeny hands to avoid further chickeny eyes, his sneezed. He sneezed out chicken! It came out of his nose, WTF!