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Everything You Need to Know About Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

Everything you need to know about Baby led weaning
Parenting

Everything You Need to Know About Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

Introduction

The world of stuffing your baby can be overwhelming. From purees to spoon-feeding, there are countless recipes and tips swirling around it. But have you heard of baby-led breastfeeding (BLW)? This method is gaining popularity by focusing on getting your child to take the blade at meal time.

This blog will be your one-stop shop for BLW, covering everything from its basic principles to practical tips and addressing common concerns. So, grab a cup of coffee (or tea!), settle in, and get ready to dive into the exciting world of BLW!

What is baby-led breastfeeding?

BLW is a method of feeding supplements that bypasses traditional fermented foods. Instead, finger foods allow developmentally ready babies (around 6 months) to feed themselves from the beginning of their solid food journey. The emphasis is on exploration – that of taste, texture, color and smell – all in the baby’s movements and choices.

Basic principles of BLW

  • This is important. Babies should be around 6 months old, be able to sit with support and show good head control. They should also be interested in food and access.
  • BLW is all about letting your child take the lead. You provide safe and appropriate finger foods, but they decide how much to eat, what to eat and how to eat it.
  • Sharing meals together is an important part of BLW. This allows babies to observe how others eat and recognize social cues around feeding time.
  • Offer a wide range of textures, flavors and colors to encourage your child to interact and explore different interests.
  • Mealtime should be a positive and relaxing experience. Don’t pressure or bully your child into eating if they don’t seem interested.

Is BLW right for your child?

BLW is generally safe for healthy infants who reach the following developmental milestones:

Good head control: Able to hold head steady and upright.

Supported sitting: They can sit in a high chair with some support.

And reachable hands: They show interest in grabbing things and bringing them to their mouths.

Loss of tongue deviation: This deviation pushes food out of the mouth, and its absence indicates that solids are ready.

It is important to note that BLW is not for every baby. If your child has any medical conditions, allergies, or developmental delays, consult your pediatrician before starting BLW.

Benefits of BLW

  • By letting your child explore food on their own, BLW helps them develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and the ability to eat on their own
  • Chewing textures helps strengthen baby’s facial muscles, which are important for later speech development
  • Exposing your child to a variety of tastes and flavors from the beginning can help prevent them from becoming picky eaters.
  • The ability to self-feed and explore can give your child a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence.

Getting started with BLW

1. Characteristics of preparation:

To make sure your child is developmentally ready for BLW, look for these signs:

  • A good head can sit on his lap, even with a little help.
  • He shows interest in food and gets it.
  • He has lost the tongue-throwing reflex (pushes food out of their mouth through the tongue).
  • It can transfer things from hand to hand.

2. Preparation of BLW:

Do your research! Read books, articles, and check out reliable websites about BLW. A high chair with good support and adjustable harness is essential for safe eating. Choose foods that are soft and easy to grab without posing a choking hazard. Steamed veggies, baked fruit, well-cooked pasta and strips of toast are all good options.

Make sure the choking hazard is out of reach, and keep a close watch on your baby while you eat.

3. BLW Mealtime Tips:

  • Provide colorful plates of different shapes and flavors to encourage exploration.
  •  Make sure the pieces are small enough for your child to hold and chew but not so small that they could be a choking hazard.
  • Let your child experiment with food to hold, smell and taste. Don’t force them to eat anything.
  • it can get messy! Relax and enjoy the process. Learning to eat takes time and practice.
  • Breast milk or formula should still be the primary source of nutrients during this time. Serve before or after meals if needed.
  • Watch out for choking hazards like whole grapes, nuts and hard candies.

Addressing all concerns

My baby doesn’t like food: don’t worry! Babies need time to adjust to new trends and preferences. Be patient when serving different foods.

Additional Common Questions

Q: What are the right first good foods for BLW?

A: Great options include cooked fruits and vegetables like avocados, broccoli florets, banana slices, and whole-boiled potatoes. Remember, the key is for foods to be soft and easy for your baby to digest and swallow.

Q: My child seems to gag a lot during BLW. Is that a fair thing?

A: Yes! Gagging is a reflex that often helps protect your baby from choking. If your child has a tight mouth but can still cough or sneeze easily, it’s usually nothing to worry about. However, if your child turns blue or seems upset, remove the food and treat immediately.

Q: What if my child doesn’t like BLW?

A: Some babies take longer to feed themselves. Continue to offer a variety of safe and delicious foods at mealtimes, and your child’s curiosity will eventually kick in.

Q: I am concerned that my child is not getting enough nutrition with BLW.

A: Breast milk or formula remains the primary source of nutrition for babies in their first year. BLW is about introducing your baby to new tastes and flavors, not replacing formula. If you have concerns about your child’s weight gain or nutritional intake, talk to your pediatrician.

Conclusion

Baby weaning (BLW) can be a useful way to introduce your little one to the exciting world of solid food. It promotes independence, exploration, and a healthy relationship with food. Remember, BLW is a journey, not a destination. There will be aggression, there will be gagging (which is a common reflex!), and frustration is possible. But with patience, guidance, and attention beyond baby’s cues, you can set the stage for a lifetime of fun and enjoyable eating.

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