Not sure where to come and ask this but here goes...
LO is 4 months old, obviously a couple months shy of intro'ing solids but I want to ask early. I will see ped next week and get their 411 also BUT...
The more research I do, the more I do not want to give LO baby food. I am 100% opposed to cereal, somewhat opposed to baby food. I have done minor research on BLW but like most parents, am kinda concerned about the choking aspect.
Can you all tell me what your experiences have been like? Have any of you done BLW? Since I'm a FTM whose nannied a zillion kids who did things the regular way (bottles, cereal, etc.) I'm lost. Plus I can't listen to a thing my mom says bc her ways are not up to par with today.
PCOS // Loss 3/2010 // Single Mom // Natural Birth // DC Metro // Baby Girl Born 2/2/2014
Re: TTM about introducing solids/Baby Led Weaning
Baby is not ready for solids at some arbitrary day on a calendar (i.e. 6mo). Even just showing an interest in solids at mealtime does not indicate readiness: oftentimes baby just wants to be a part of what everyone else is doing (and clearly enjoying!), and giving baby a spoon or some plastic cups to play with is enough to make him happy.
Baby is ready for solids when he shows ALL the physical signs that his digestive system is mature enough to process them well. These include:
Sitting up unassisted
Improved pincer grasp
Loss of tongue-thrust reflex
Baby is able to chew (often has a couple teeth)
Baby will pick up solid foods happily and put them in his mouth
Solids in the first year of a breastfed baby's life are mostly just for play, exploring textures and flavors, future eating practice, and fine motor development. You can start by just making healthy and safe solid foods available on his tray during mealtimes for him to play with. He may just play with the cool-feeling foods. He might smell them and he might even taste them! Yum.
This way, he's eating just what he needs/wants, and breastmilk remains his primary source of nutrition for his first year of life.
We started offering DS solids between 7 and 8 months, and we offered pear slices, banana, sweet potato, and avocado. He didn't like avocado (which I too bad because it's a great source of healthy fat!), but he loved the others. Between 8 and 9 months, we would still offer those foods, but we transitioned to putting on his tray whatever we were eating for lunch/dinner. Sometimes he would eat it. Sometimes he would just play. That's the BLW way!
1 - pincer grasp: this actually develops after the introduction of solids. In fact, one of the reasons BLW recommends cutting thick sticks of food is because a child won't have pincer grasp that early, they use their whole hand to grasp and hold things, rather than finger and thumb. (But as a plus, BLW really helps develop that pincer grasp since they're manipulating their food earlier than many of their peers)
2- teeth: You need 0 teeth for BLW. We chew with our molars, which most infants don't get till they're around a year old. Chewing for the under 1 involves their gums. My son didn't get his first tooth until he was 10 months old. By that time he was happily eating anything and everything under the sun, from chicken, pork, steak to broccoli, apple slices, and green beans.
As far as your choking fears, I highly recommend picking up the BLW book. This really helped my anxiety about it. Knowing exactly what to expect made me less nervous, and when things happened I could say "Oh, this is what the book said would happen! This is normal!" Something to ease your mind with the choking (which I learned from the book) - nature prevents babies who feed themselves from choking. Their gag reflex is right at the front of their tongue, so they push the food out at first. They physically can't get the food to the back of their throat to choke until they learn to chew and manipulate it with their tongue. So one of the hallmarks of BLW is gagging, where they push the food out. Eventually, that gag reflex moves back, to where it is for us adults.
We started at 6 months with my guy, feeding him exactly what we were eating. So his first meal was pancakes, sausage and green beans. That week he had steak, pork, chicken, melon, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and peaches.
I did a couple blog entries about it. The first has a video of his first meal, so you can see what I mean about the gagging.
as PP said, don't worry about choking. their own gag reflex will push the food back out if it's too big for them to handle. there are lots of BLW videos on youtube if you want to watch kids eat various foods to get an idea of what the whole process is like.
here's a PDF with a good overview: https://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/blwleaflet.pdf
And with the teeth, kids get teeth at all sorts of ages. Sometimes kids will have teeth when they're ready to start solids. Sometimes not. They should be able to chew, though...or make the chewing motion with their mouths.
My 15month old started BLW at 6months we experienced zero choking...but some gagging. Learn the difference between the two before you begin. Fully encourage BLW.
Our daughter is an amazing eater and I do believe that BLW is largely the reason for this.
I blogged about our wonderful journey with DS1. I really should do one about DS2 someday, too. he had different preferences (pickier and not as coordinated), but it was equally as great. We loved the BLW book. As for recipes, we just made modifications to whatever we were eating.
More Green For Less Green
In the grand scheme of things, your baby will go from not eating any "food" (other than milk or formula) to eating anything that isn't physically a choking hazard or allergen in a relatively short period of time. So, as much as we all like to research and debate these things, it will be a very brief stage.
I can make an argument against or negate about every point that a BLWer will make. I have yet to find a Pediatrician that recommends it, though some will say "if you want to try it, go ahead". And I have never seen any research supporting it.
That being said, can you imagine a time before commercial baby food? It actually wasn't that long ago.
When you say "baby food" are you referring to commercially-made baby food or all puréed baby food? Just curious.
Anyway, keep doing your research and talk to people who have done both. BLW does not ensure a non-picky eater, nor does it protect your milk supply more than purées. It is one of the many choices we have as parents. Just make sure you're at peace with whatever you decide.
We did BLW but offered plenty of purée-style foods, like applesauce or mashed potato, mashed sweet potato, etc. They're great textures to explore.
I feel like the main ideas behind BLW are:
1. Wait until child is physiologically ready to introduce solids
2. Allow child to feed himself (which can even be done with some purees...just messily).
Finger foods ARE great for fine motor development, though!
"It's that spoon feeding baby can easily lead to over-feeding solids. When baby is the one feeding himself, he's more likely to stop when he's full."
Yeah, I don't buy that either. A baby being spoon-fed will communicate when they are full and/or disinterested in eating any more. Just because you "can" overfeed, doesn't mean you will. And if you are timing/spacing your nursing and feedings, it shouldn't be a problem.
Again, I've never met a BLW point I couldn't argue/negate. I think it boasts a lot of things that sound sensical to a lot of people, but just aren't facts.
Also BLW tends to act like feeding purées is a process of single consistency foods. It's not. Nor does it mean your kid never gets finger foods.
The one thing I'll say is, regardless of the feeding "method" you go with, make sure baby gets to eat a lot of different tastes/spices/etc (minus salt). Feed her whatever you eat. DD hasn't yet hit the "2 years old and will only eat plain pasta" phase, but for now, she happily eats pretty much anything (today, she has had oatmeal, a nectarine, a piece of bagel with PB, peas/carrots/corn, and a chicken quesadilla with spinach, avocado and salsa).