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Friday, March 15, 2013

Baby Led Weaning Update

I know MANY of you have been enjoying the benefits of Baby-Led Weaning with your own babies and I've been asked many times for an update on how Baby-Led Weaning has been going for Britt. I know I mention it in most of her monthly posts but now that she's a toddler I thought it'd be good to devote an entire post just to an update on it. You can go back and read about when I introduced Baby-Led Weaning and more about the method of infant feeding HERE! Again, I have to highly recommend reading the book. So many people have contacted me saying they attempted to do some of the BLW techniques just based off reading my blog about it and had some issues with some things...it's because they did NOT read the LEGIT book. Baby-Led Weaning isn't just handing your kid some cut up food...there is more too it that the book goes into detail about :) Anyways, the official book is: Baby-Led Weaning and is by Tracey Murkett and Gill Rapley! You can get it on Amazon for like $10 here :)

I am SO thankful we decided to go with this route for introducing solids to Britt. I have seen SO MANY benefits of it and have enjoyed it so much more than spoon feeding. I found this great chart of some of the known benefits to Baby-Led Weaning (you can click on it to make it bigger so you can read it easier!):
I can see many of those benefits on that chart with Britt! Our meals are NEVER a battle ground with her, she developed the pincher grasp at a very early age, she def has a very healthy weight, and she has excellent eye-hand coordination. The only thing I don't really agree with is that a baby-led weaning baby is less fussy at meal times. Britt fusses a decent bit at meals because she DOES have a better understanding of food and literally wants to eat EVERYTHING we eat. As long as we feed her the same things as us she's a happier camper though for sure ;)

I know when most people first hear about Baby Led Weaning they think it sounds SO MESSY. And guess what? They are right :) Especially in the early months of self-feeding it can be a tad on the messy side. However, I feel like when Kye was spoon fed that it was still messy. Rather than cleaning up a bunch of bowls and spoons and such I'm just having to clean off her high chair tray and wipe down the chair. And instead of just cleaning off a messy baby food face I'm also cleaning off some messy hands...but really that's the only extra cleaning I feel like I have to do. I don't mind the mess. Zach cannot stand it so I typically always am the one who wipes her down :) We also save the messiest foods for dinner time. The kids go to bath right after dinner so it's not a big deal just to toss her in the tub for a good scrubbin'!

Other than the mess on the tray and on my child, it's not any added mess. Kye went through a stage as a baby where he tossed his food off the tray. He was a little older than Britt because we didn't do self-feeding with him as young as we did with her, but he still went through it. Britt, too, has gone through the "toss it on the floor to learn what gravity means" stage but the beauty of it is that she did it younger. She tested those boundaries, learned that we won't allow it (a little pop on the hand with a spank stick goes a looong way in training, yes we believe in spanking), and it was a great learning tool for her. It allowed her to know early on that we expect certain behavior and that we make the rules, not her ;)

Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Applesauce...anything runny gets saved for dinner ;)
Another area I've seen Baby Led Weaning make a difference is with Britt's utensil usage. She is not yet 16 months old yet understands how to use both a fork and a spoon and will at least attempt to use them properly. I think having an older sibling helps with this too ;) She sees Kye using his fork and spoon and wants to be a "big kid" like him. I was shocked by how quickly she understood the concept and I do think that has a LOT to do with the fact that she feeds herself. I remember with Kye we spoon fed and would have to tell him "no sir" when he tried to grab the spoon from us. I felt strange doing that because I knew eventually he'd need to learn to use the spoon. But I had to tell him no because it'd be a disaster trying to spoon feed him with him grabbing the spoon every bite! I've never had to discourage Britt from using utensils so I think it's helped her enjoy them at a younger age. She also does have SUCH great eye hand coordination that she's picked up using them with ease.
Britt is also ALWAYS up for trying new things. Like I said, whatever we eat...she wants to eat. She loves everything we give her. We never have to coax her to eat something. We never have to put something in her mouth for her to try it. There is NEVER any issues with anything like that. We put it on her tray and she gobbles it up. It's so fun to watch her truly enjoy food. Especially when it's healthy stuff! While I'm trying all sorts of new ways to introduce healthier lunches for Kye, I can simply hand Britt something healthy and she's good to go. No tricks. No gimmicks. No dipping sauces. No "secret" healthy ingredients. It's WONDERFUL!

One of her newest favorite snacks have been raw carrots sticks! 


She also LOVES whole wheat waffles
This face is HILARIOUS.
Since Britt did develop the pincher grasp at a pretty young age, she does prefer her food cut into small pieces rather than the long stick like pieces we did in the beginning. I cut up a variety of things at each meal and let her go to town. She out eats our four year old at pretty much every meal time :) Girl can GRUB! I think she has a very healthy appetite and eats a wide variety of foods...and, the best part to me, SHE ENJOYS IT!!! As a mega picky eater myself it's such a joy to see my child enjoy healthy eating in a way that I never have and probably never will :)

First big girl sandwich! 
Another area I saw a big benefit in Baby-Led Weaning was in the actual weaning process. Weaning Britt from the breast (and sometimes bottle) to a cup was NO ISSUE at ALL. Weaning her from breast milk to whole milk was NO ISSUE at ALL! It was all A BREEZE. With Kye? It was more difficult and more of an issue. The smooth transitions for her made my mommy guilt a lot less and it was so great to see her "get it" so quickly with the cup as well as enjoy whole milk with no issues. You can read my full weaning experience with Britt Here!

While Baby-Led Weaning has obviously made a big impact on the way Britt eats, I have seen benefits from it in other areas as well. The biggest one is that Britt RARELY puts toys and things in her mouth. It makes SO much sense. Since she has always fed herself she KNOWS what food is. When a baby is spoon fed they don't really have a full understanding of what is food and what isn't so they taste test everything they come in contact with! Britt surprises me so much with how little she tries to chew or lick or suck on random household objects. I can remember having to tell Kye often "not in the mouth Kye!" And I rarely have to do that with Britt. She loves to carry little toys around with her and I'm thankful she doesn't try to eat them as many of the toys she likes are her older brothers...hello choking hazards! The one thing she DOES ALWAYS put in her mouth is the play food from her kitchen haha. Even in Bible Class when they pull out the pretend food to feed the farm animals Britt will always try to eat it herself ;) I think the fact that the play food really is the only thing she puts in her mouth further proves that it's due to Baby Led Weaning because she KNOWS it's food and therefore thinks she should eat it ;)

I am NOT someone who is so hardcore about BLW that I think badly of spoon feeding or jar feeding or home made baby food or whatever other ways to introduce solid foods that there may be out there. Do I think BLW is awesome? Yes! Do I love it and plan to do it with all my future babies? Double yes! Will I encourage others to read the book and try out the methods? Of course! But I TOTALLY get why people chose to spoon feed. I understand using jarred baby food. I understand using home made baby food. I know there are pros and cons to any method! I've personally done spoon feeding (with jarred baby food) and have now done Baby Led Weaning. I prefer the Baby Led Weaning approach and am so thankful I decided to go this route with Britt. I am confident that she will continue to be a healthy eater thanks to these methods! I wish I could go back in time and introduce Kye to solid foods the same way as I do think it has made a big difference in her enjoyment of healthy eating and I wish he enjoyed it the way she does! Only time will tell if she will continue to LOVE such a wide variety of foods but I'm very impressed with all the ways BLW has helped her so far along this journey :)

1 comment:

  1. I never even thought about the correlation of BLW and putting non-food stuff in their mouths....Bo didn't do that nearly as much as Arabelle did (spoon fed)! Surprisingly, Bo, my BLW baby, was/is the picky eater though. I still plan to BLW #3...just so much easier!

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