Did you know that babies can chew with their gums? They can, the fact that Alfie couldn’t and struggled with BLW before he got teeth couldn’t possibly be true, I was doing something wrong, evidently. Or so I have been told by the Mom Military who attacked my post Our Experience of Baby Led Weaning. Be that as it may, we are here to reconsider our opinion of Baby Led Weaning.
We all but gave up on BLW when Alfie was about 7 months old, the reasons were many but mostly centred around the fact that he couldn’t feed himself or chew quickly enough to satisfy his hunger. We opted instead to introduce purees, yoghurts, cereals, mashed foods – anything from a spoon. During this time I continued to offer him pieces of food, I would just dip them in purree to make sure he got some goodness from all the sucking he was doing!
That worked well for a few weeks, I was happier knowing how much he’d managed to eat and he was happier because he had a fuller tummy.
By 9 months Alfie’s diet was a full Baby Led Weaning one and he feed himself nearly every meal. As his teeth came down he became more and more able to manage ‘real’ food, he moved of examining and sucking foods to gnawing on them almost ever night. His favourite foods are ironically crunchy and textured foods that make a noise when he bites them. He used the spoon himself now too with very little mess once I have filled it up for him.
Looking back I can understand what I did wrong – I took advice and followed “guidelines” instead of following my child. As a first time Mom I wasn’t sure how to wean and didn’t know what his signs meant, so ploughed straight into BLW before Alfie was ready and stressed us both out. I was so blinded by “best practice” that I failed to see what was right in front of me! For some reason I was convinced that a single spoon feed would result in him being incapable of learning to chew – I never said I was sensible!
The combined approach of BLW and purée worked wonderfully for us and taught me a valuable lesson in following the child, ignoring advice (even good advice) and introducing everything slowly. (There may also be a lesson in there about being less dramatic but I’m not sure!)
His favourites now are banana and berry pancakes, fritters of all kind, any sort of fruit, fish especially salmon and cod, eggs, pasta but only if it’s tagliatelle and peanut butter on toast. Honestly he’ll eat anything these days but makes particularly appreciative noises when served these!