Here is my boasting: I have never bought baby food. I have never thrown a mash of green mashed peas on my wall. I have never had a spoon with a "plane" in the direction of my daughter's closed mouth. And I never begged her to eat anything.
When my daughter was five months old and called a friend Baby Led Leding (BLW), I was confused. She explained that it is a way to introduce solid food without having to feed it to her with a spoon. In principle, you put food that is suitable for the age into small pieces cut for baby & # 39; s and let it go.
"It is a way to promote independence," she explained. I was skeptical: would she have enough to eat? What about suffocation risks? But the idea of avoiding all begging and begging and dealing with cooked smashed squash sounded like a good deal. So I started to investigate.
It appears that the practice is known to have some advantages. In a study published this year, parents reported that babies who fed themselves, seemed less picky about food and enjoyed more food. BLW shows the small eaters they have choices.
"It allows the baby to lead the whole process, using her instincts and abilities," writes Gill Rapley and Gill Tracey Murkett in their book Baby Led-teats: the essential guide for introducing solid food – and helps your baby grow up a happy and confident eater.
I started with BLW when my daughter was seven months old – and almost two years later I am happy (mostly) with her eating habits. Do you also want to remove the baby porridge? Here are some things that you should consider before you get started.
When should BLW be started
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing about six months of solid food.
The trick, however, is to search for markings: can your baby keep his head up? Can she swallow food (instead of pushing her tongue out of her mouth, like the instinct of a baby)? Does it reach for food when it gets its way, or looks obsessive? If the answers are yes, it may be time to start.
What to feed them
"Baby-Led Weaning means offering your baby (age-appropriate) food that is softly cooked and cut or pureed into small easy-to-handle pieces," explains Momtastic Wholesome Babyfood Blog. I started with avocado, bananas and omelettes, which are still favorite with my daughter to this day.
There are also numerous BLW recipes in the area. Our best breakfast choice is banana pancakes: a banana, an egg, a pinch of bicarbonate soft drinks and voila! Some say that a baby needs ten attempts before she starts to appreciate a new food, so it's important to keep doing it. (Although it seems that my child will never rely on cooked peppers.)
How to feed them
In my own experience with the process, the how your feed is more important than the what. "The food is given to your baby to eat without being mashed and without being fed," advises Momtastic. This means that you put it in front of them and they can do what they want.
To paraphrase the words of Judy Blume Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing: "Eat it or wear it." First offer a few bites, and later you can bring in utensils.
"To offer yours, to refuse them"
In short, this motto means that you feed a child as you would feed an adult:
"Do you want some more banana?"
It's logical, right? You are not begging and begging adults: "Please have a bite, for me?" (Unless, of course, you are like my overflowing Jewish mother.) This requires a bit of a mental shift. You "do not let your baby eat", you teach them how food.
You do not have to worry about their consumption right now, because before the age of one, food is not a primary source of food. You simply put it down for them to experiment with it. And you avoid the power struggle that can come with dinner time.
Embrace the Mess
Yes, I have said that I have never had to sweep mashed peas from the ceiling, but I did not say that the BLW experience would be messy. Your baby plays with the food, gets acquainted with it and rubs it over her face. It is an important part of the process – they simply become familiar with food. As a parent you can decide at any time that they are ready and take it away.
Some BLW proponents recommend avoiding high high chairs and allowing the child to sit on your lap while eating, and then when they are old enough to move them to a real chair so that they do not fall into the trap when they are done. We used a high chair – my daughter loved it – but also measured when she was ready to be taken.
What about stifling risk & # 39; s?
Here I will be honest: I was very afraid to give my daughter solid food because of the possible choking hazards. That is why baby mush was probably invented. Sometimes it was hard to see my sweetest cough on food – but if I waited a moment, I learned that it was nothing.
The good news? Studies show that there is no difference in addiction risk between BLW and traditional baby food. The older the baby, the less likely the risk. Nevertheless, regardless of which method you choose, you must learn what to do if a baby suffocates.
How to maintain healthy eating habits
Since BLW is to teach your child healthy eating habits, it is good to prepare only one meal for the whole family. "Together!" is one of my favorite things to say during a meal, because it is a time when we can all stop what we do and meet at the table.
BLW cookbooks all offer layered recipes where sauces and hot things and salt can be added for the adults. Speaking of spices: babies do not need you to cheer up their food – it is all new to them, so do not rush to decorate vegetables for their budding taste buds. Salt and sugar must of course be limited, but new herbs and flavors can arouse their interest.
Some parents use this to train their child into adventurous eaters, but you can not force it: I know my toddler does not like slimy substances like mango, peaches, okra and green beans. I offer, she refuses.
On the other hand, she often says of our meal-based, "More salad, mama!" And although she still wants ice cream later, I consider this a victory.