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Baby-led Weaning FTW
I have awesome friends who can out-hippie even the hippie-est of my hippie ways.
So remember my last post? The one where I go on and on about how much I dread baby food season. Yeah, forget all that. We’re going a different route.
After I wrote my last post, a friend of mine who I refer to as Super Mom (she has three kids under age four, two of which are twins) sent me some information about a different tactic that she took with her twins. This approach to baby feeding eliminated the need to spend hours preparing and dirtying dishes each week and it even helped to improve the babies’ dexterity, expose them to different food textures, and prepared the baby sooner for real food. She says they will now eat anything. The same cannot be said for her oldest who got the purées.
The method is called Baby-led Weaning. Or BLW. Or as I like to call it, Bee El Dub.
Despite what you may think, that doesn’t mean taking the baby off the boob. The name is misleading because this method was popularized in Britain where the term “wean” means to add complementary food to a baby’s diet of breast milk or formula. Tricky, I know.
The way to explain it to your mom or grandma is this: It’s a method that allows the baby to control their solid food intake by self-feeding from their first experiences with food. The way to explain it to your friends or your super confused husband is this: Instead of peeling, chopping, cooking, and pureeing a bunch of mush to spoon feed her, we give her larger soft pieces of food and let her figure it out with her own instincts.
If you’re anything like me when I first heard about this after I had HJ, you’re all “WAIT! THE BABY’S GOING TO CHOKE! TAKE AWAY THAT CARROT!!!” But seriously, it’s all good. Based on the research I’ve done on this topic, babies in the Bee El Dub club are less likely to choke on food than their purée eating counterparts. This is because babes don’t learn how to move food from the front part of their mouth to the back until they’ve learned how to chew and, they don’t learn to chew until they are able to grasp objects and place them in their mouth. Therefore, this method goes hand-in-hand with their development stages. Whenever something too big does occasionally make it back too far, they gag (their gagging reflex is super strong at the beginning) or cough the food out. Of course, it’s also smart to be close by and watching them in case they get carried away.
So you can imagine how excited I was about this and how annoying I was to my husband through all my research. It got especially bad when I found the video of the baby chowing down on steak. Oh yes. We dived in the next day… but not with steak. We gave B a peeled and steamed carrot. She gummed, sucked, and gnawed it to a slobbery death. Then on another day, we gave her a portion of a banana. She smooshed it, licked it, smeared it and eventually ate some pieces. SUCCESS.
She seems to really enjoy the exploration factor and to also join us during meal times with her own fare.
I really enjoy the freezer space I just saved.