After the initial thrill of starting solids, my younger daughter stopped liking solids. I had a tough time getting her to eat any purees and whenever I’d try to feed her, she’d grab the spoon and try to feed herself. So it made perfect sense to me that I should try baby led weaning. For those of you not familiar, the thought behind baby led weaning is that babies should learn to chew before they learn to swallow, they should feed themselves, and that they should eat what you eat (minus the over-processed, sodium heavy foods). As long as the baby is able to sit up, feed themselves, and chew, they should be able to do this. Basically instead of spoon feeding your baby purees, you give them whole foods and you don’t hold off on table foods. It’s supposed to give your baby the skills to eat themselves and it’s supposed to encourage their own ability to self regulate food quantities for life.
I read the bible on BLW and I tried it. Here’s why I think it’s ridiculous:
1. Just because a baby can sit up, doesn’t mean that their stomachs are ready for some of the harder to digest foods that are recommended by the book. We didn’t start solids until six months for both of our girls. They both had allergies and we didn’t want to push their digestive systems too early. I found that the little one would get constipated when I’d let her eat things like bread. The book sort of walks you through what’s appropriate at what age but honestly, I think people just hear that you can feed your baby what you eat and they don’t use good judgement. I’ve heard of people giving their babies Cheetos!
2. It makes a huge effing mess. Babies + solids = mess. I get that. BUT baby led weaning makes things so much worse. She basically threw her food around and smooshed it in her fingers and splattered it all over her clothes. The book even says to expect it. But it’s really no fun to have to clean up the booster, the tray, the chair the booster sits on, the carpet, the dining table, AND the baby every single time we eat. She doesn’t seem to enjoy a messy meal any more than I do. So why go through this? Granted, even when I’m feeding purees, we sometimes have a mess, but at least that’s manageable.
3. You can’t tell how much they’ve eaten. Because baby is feeding herself, I constantly found myself wondering how much she actually ate. I know solids aren’t critical for babies under the age of one, but i do like to have a sense of what she ate. Let’s say I gave her two sticks of steamed zucchini. After a few minutes, they’d be gone from her tray. I would get hopeful that she actually ate all of it. Between the gumming, the throwing, the smashing and the dropping, I was completely wrong. More often than not, the majority of the food was on the floor or smashed under her legs.
Ok. So in reality, I did some BLW and some purees and still am. I do give her a stalk of broccoli and let her go at it; I put peas on her tray and am thrilled at how much she ate and then disappointed when I see its in her seat. I’ve torn off pieces of bread and let her gnaw on it. I give her slices of avocado instead of mashing it up. But she and I love purees too. I don’t want her to be eating baby food until she’s 2 but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making things a little easier on her and her stomach. And for the record, I don’t think spoon feeding is shoving baby food down her throat. I pay attention and when she shuts her mouth or starts to fuss, I listen to her and stop attempting to feed her. Even when I’m not satisfied with the amount, I let her self regulate. So maybe I don’t think it’s 100% ridiculous. It’s just mostly ridiculous. 🙂