Welcome to Baby Led-Weaning-Our Experience Part II, it was supposed to be out last week, but as usual life gets in the way! However I’m always thinking, yes I’m that nut job that walks around going about her day and thinks “wow that would make a great post, I should talk about that. Or how about that “ah ha” moment when you catch yourself saying (and don’t say that you don’t) “This is what my life has become?!!” Just admit it, we’ve all thought it, or if you haven’t than I’m the delusional one then! Like today, the perfect example when I was elbow deep in my what….the eighth poopy diaper of the day (and it was 1pm) and at the last second of wiping my son pulled the wipe from me and yup……..my hand went right in. Right directly in.
To spare you the details of how the rest of that change went and how when I went to actually put the diaper in the diaper bin and the bag split and all the dirty diapers fell out I’ll just move onto the second part of Baby Led-Weaning. I think it can be considered the second half because I believe (and remember I’m new at this I’m just sharing my experience with you) he’s actually consuming some foods!!! Now that he’s actually swallowing food and digesting it it’s filling him up and his formula and bottles are all wacky. Some advice that was shared with me through a local Mom’s group was the bottle/breast always comes first for the first year. So sometimes I have to watch what I give him because if I give him too much food he eats less formula and then guess what???!! Yup he’s up at all god hours of the night looking for formula! So now it’s just a matter of figuring out what works for him, some days when I have errands to run or play dates I skip breakfast or lunch, 90% of the time he has dinner with us because I’m pretty big on sitting down to eat dinner as a family.
Food or Formula??
Since my son is now 9 months old I know he’s slowly going to cut down on his formula consumption (but then again knowing my pork chop maybe he won’t!!) According to authors of the book I’ve read by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, “If a baby is allowed to determine the start of solid feeding and the pace of its progress he will follow his own natural path toward more solids and less milk.” Every baby is different so of course each one will go at their own speed. As your already seeing most likely with your little one is that things happen in bursts so to speak, alternating weeks when they aren’t doing anything new and weeks in a row when they are learning and doing something different every day.
Eating Enough but Not Too Much:
I know as a Mom I worry…..worry worry worry, is he learning the things he should be learning? Is he eating enough? Is he sleeping enough? etc etc etc…..if you don’t worry, well your lucky. One of the things I worry about is if my baby (or toddler for that matter) is he/she eating enough. Persuading babies to eat food they don’t want is easy to do if they are spoon-fed. Babies who learn to feed themselves will naturally manage their own intake, they simply stop eating when they are full. This means they eat as much as they “need”. End. Of. Story. Also, allowing your baby to take his/her time to eat is extremely important. Since the baby is in control of how much and how quickly he eats not only makes the meal more enjoyable for baby, but also it helps recognize more easily when they are full. I can see now how spoon-feeding can interfere with the sensation that tells them if they have had enough. If someone was piling food into your mouth and just kept going wouldn’t you take it? Again the parent controls the amount and how long it takes? I kind of like the idea of my baby getting to take his time and enjoy each piece of food and chew it to his capability.
Will My Baby Choke?
I know this is a big one for me, this one held me back with my first child, however if I had researched it more maybe I would have decided to go this route. As long as baby is in control of any food going into his/her mouth and he/she is sitting upright, BLW doesn’t make choking any more likely than spoon-feeding. This brings us to the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging is a retching movement that pushes food away from the airway if it is too big to actually be swallowed. The baby will open his/her mouth and pushes his/her tongue forward. The food may then appear at the front of his/her mouth and may even vomit a little. I’ve often seen this with my son, he actually leaves the food sitting on his tongue for a long time figuring out what to do with it. I love this because I actually see him learning, it’s just learning to eat vs. ride a bike I guess. It never lasts long and most babies will continue on with their meal as if nothing ever happened. (Yes my son keeps on trucking) I can honestly say the more they become familiar with it the less they even gag.
Will My Baby Be Well Nourished If I Choose This Method?
I can see why this would be a concern, I thought about it, parents assume the child is going to reach for the item that would be more appealing to them, lets say a donut versus a carrot stick. However according the research I did, there is a myth that babies who are eating by spoon will eat the right foods because…..well the parents choose the foods, in fact, the opposite is probably true, many parents who spoon-feed their children report that they have terrible trouble getting them to eat good foods, often resorting to tricks such as hiding them in foods, or promising treats if they eat all of their veggies. By contrast, most parents who have tried BLW say their child eats a huge variety of foods without needing to be persuaded, including those foods that most children would never try say like cabbage! Now I can’t attest to this quite yet, I have my 3.5 year old who is extremely picky, each week I try a different pasta concoction of some sort to sneak in veggies, and every week she picks them out, every night we are saying a certain amount of bites before she can have a snack, which at least always ends up being a piece of fruit because it’s the one thing the kid will pig out on. Once my son becomes a toddler I will surly do a part IV of this and let you know my thoughts on my son.
Is It Really OK To Let My Baby Have Control With Food?
I wondered about this myself only because, yes I’m a control freak LOL, but also because I’m big on my kids knowing that they aren’t the boss (though Daddy has a hard time with this one!!) It helps tremendously with the discipline factor. However I was happy to have learnt what I had when I read up on this section. Think about this, when a child learns to crawl, walk or talk, they all do it upon their own developmental stage right? Every child learns these things at different times right? We don’t control that, so why should eating be any different? Learning to eat solid foods is just as much as a natural stage of development as walking or talking is! No parent would actively prevent their child from walking when he/she is showing signs of it. Many parents without realizing it will exert negative control over their baby’s instinct to eat, by preventing him/her from feeding herself/himself or not allowing them to make any decisions at mealtimes. As a parent, the only control we need is deciding which foods he/she is offered and how often. As long as we deliver them nutritious foods, it should be our babies decision as to what he/she eats, how much and how fast.
I will say this again so I don’t cause too much controversy. I respect any mother and the choices she makes. For a lot of reasons, one because I’ve been their and I know how hard these decisions can be. Also, because I’ve done it both ways BLW and spoon-feeding and I had my reasons for choosing each one. We all make our choices and we all have our reasons, I’ve always been a firm believer of what works for my family may not work for yours. Breast feeding is another big choice, I always wanted to do it, I loved the idea of the nutrients it brings a baby, the cost alone made me think a lot about it, however in the end it wasn’t what worked for my family. End of story. In the end you have to choose what works best for you, your family and your little one. I’m here if any one has any questions, I can only answer them as honestly as I can, I can only tell you my experiences and the knowledge that I have learnt along the way.
I will leave you with another recipe of course. The one I left you with last time was a hit for a week or two, now he could do without them. Be prepared to see your baby change his mind a lot, one week I noticed Drew loving hard fruits and one week he loves all foods that turn to mush, I love watching him discover what he’d rather leave behind and things he gobbles up! Drew is 9 months old today and he is still working on those grasper fingers. The grasper fingers are the thumb and pointy finger, the two fingers you use to pick up little pieces, once he gets that down I’ll start cutting up foods really small so he can grab them!! He still chooses the chunks over the pieces!
This recipe I made last summer when trying to make homemade burgers. Madison never took to them, but I’m going to be trying them again soon for Drew on the grill (if the snow ever melts and sun shines bright!) I like that they are packed with Quinoa and that you can freeze them for weeks upon weeks. Don’t be afraid to shape these into shapes your little one can handle!