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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    PA, USA

    Baby Led Weaning

    I searched for a thread on this but didn't find one, so I thought I'd start one! I've done a decent amount of research on BLW and it seems like the best way for us to go. I would love to hear about firsthand experiences with it and whether you liked it or didn't like it, whether it worked or not, etc.

    I'm especially curious about these points:
    1) I've heard that a lot of people don't try BLW because they're scared of their child choking, but I've also read that what a lot of people think is choking is actually just gagging, which is a natural part of them learning to manipulate the food in their mouths. Anyone have experience with this?

    2) If you did BLW, what was your child's first food? People's choices for this seem to vary wildly. I've even read about people feeding their 4 month olds raw egg yolk!

    3) I've read that at the very beginning you can either leave foods in large chunks for babies to gnaw on, or dice foods pea sized for babies to pick up and manipulate. For those of you who've done this, which did you do, or did you use a combination of these?

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just trying to gather as much info as possible! Thanks!

    Mama to Quentin Charles, born July 4!

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Flyover Territory
    We started solids with BLW around 7 months, and were really happy with it for a few months. DD's first food was avocado and man did she love it

    However, we ran into actual choking when we hit 9 or 10 months. Not gagging. Full on, face turning purple, mama had to do a throat sweep and beat baby on the back. I don't blame BLW, though, I blame my daughter's pre-existing food issues. She was born with a posterior tongue tie that was revised at 4 months, but we had some minor reattachment and I think it caused her trouble with managing food in her mouth. She also had a tendency to cram as much food as possible into her mouth at once, exacerbating the choking hazard. We could've continued with BLW and just put one piece of food on her tray at a time, but that was way more time consuming than feeding her a puree, and eliminated the benefit of the "family meal" feel that BLW is supposed to foster.

    All that said, I think BLW is a great way to go for most parents and babies, and plan to start solids this way with the new baby unless there is some reason not to. There's a good chance he'll be tongue tied, too, but I know better how to look for reattachment now.
    Tara, proud mama to a Honey Badger
    ... and a Badger in Training

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    We did this, but we didn't read the book or anything. My parents and my husband's parents had both fed us table food from about six months on, so that is what we did.

    Our son would gag occasionally, but then he would just reposition the food in his mouth and go on eating. It never seemed to bother him. He has never choked. But since babies can choke on anything, including milk, I think the best thing to do is to take a basic infant CPR and safety course. They will teach you how to do the Heimlich safely for an infant. You will probably never need it, but the peace of mind is invaluable.

    Our son's first food was avocado. We didn't go in a particular order or wait to introduce things, though. Other than honey, he ate everything we ate from six months on. I did not give him straight cows milk till one year, but he had milk and other dairy in things. I stopped salting our food during cooking, but continued to use all kinds of spices and non-salt seasonings. I do not know if this is why, but our now two year old son eats everything, including spicy Indian and Thai food.

    Regarding whole pieces of food or finely chopped food- we did both, just depending on what it was and how he was handling it. We mostly did large pieces, just because it was easier, but if he was having trouble, we would chop things up or even mash them with a fork.

    My favorite part of baby led weaning was that it allowed us to eat as a family, rather than use spooning purees into his mouth. It was also really easy and allowed us to not worry about what he was eating and how much he was getting since his main source of nutrition continued to be formula till age one.

  4. #7
    Me and DH have quite opposing cultural views on this - in the UK, it's fairly 'trendy' and the thing that pretty much all parents seem to be doing. My friends were baby-led-weaning their own babies when I was pregnant with Leo, and I unquestioningly assumed that's the route we'd go (although I had quite been looking forward to the whole steaming/blending organic turnip and banana thing that my mum had given me books about)

    DH on the other hand was born and raised in France, where I've seen 2 year olds eating out of jars in restaurants. Its a massive market there, even bigger than the US/UK because it's the absolute cultural norm. He couldn't get his head round my brother's 8 month old eating a whole apple.

    We decided we wouldn't fully decide until he was a bit closer to 6 months (since we were extensively breastfeeding anyway, another massive cultural difference, I assumed it wasn't vital to 'get him going early' with solids). That was until he was about 4.5 months and we were on DH's parents' farm trying to get a cute picture of him with some herb plants, when he reached over and pulled a chunk of coriander into his mouth. And I don't mean just grabbing and sucking - my boy was picking raw coriander, 'chewing' and swallowing (I think is against all professional advice... his immune and digestive systems were underdeveloped and he's shoving his face with an unwashed plant in a foreign country, but hey ho, he's alive and well!)

    He'd clearly decided he wanted to baby-led-wean, and DH was won over too! He had odd bits of courgette, avocardo etc. for the next couple of weeks, but by 7 months he was eating almost exactly what we ate on top of breastfeeding. As for the size of food, we always gave him chunks to reduce the choking hazard and never had any horrible experiences.

    It's all worked out perfectly, plus I got to watch old French lady's faces as my 1 year old ate crab and spinach pasta in a cafe several times! We're probably going to follow the same sort of thing with Juliet, who's coming up for 5 months now (although she's not showing much interest in food, we're just seeing how things go at the minute). I honestly would recommend it - the two main points people seem to criticize are a) mess and b) waste which are fairly trivial in my opinion, and we never seemed to have a massive amount of either. I haven't done any calculations, but it must have saved us a fortune!
    Last edited by luciad; January 6th, 2014 at 07:32 PM.

    Léonard Cyrille (Leo) 08/11 - Juliet Sylvia Perrine (Letty) 09/13

    Breeding program incomplete! Planning for next bebe and heading to Southern France 2016.
    Flora Sixtine / Emmanuelle Beatrix ''Manou'' / Isaline Franseza / Erminie Eleanor
    Sacha James / Elouan Raphael / William Bastien / Bruno George

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    I didn't do this, but I did allow my daughter to experiment with solids earlier than most. I did let her gnaw things like avocado & banana through a sleeve

    My SIL did BLW by the book and it was rather terrifying to watch. She talked all about it all the time, but I never quite understood the point. I think that doing a modified version works best for me. She was introducing meats & dairies way younger than I would feel comfortable with. She was also strongly opposed to purees which I am all about. She was saying that is doesn't teach them how to eat properly, but I think that giving them varied textures including purees is just as valid a learning experience as other foods.

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