Welcome to the second question of Mothers Tell All: 10 Baby Led Weaning Q & A Series by Real and Unfiltered Mamas. In this series, mamas answered: How old was your baby when you started BLW? And, what signs were your baby showing that she was ready?
The purpose of this series to offer insight from mamas who have done Baby Led Weaning and to portray not only how beneficial it is for babies, but for mamas as well. My almost two-year-old son is an excellent eater. I kid you not; he prefers vegetables and fruit over fried food and sweets any day. For the most part, I give BLW credit for Lennox being a fantastic eater. As soon as he turned six months, he got to play around with all foods and textures and learned that food comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Now if I would have blended all of those foods into purees, Lennox would have never been able to differentiate the blended foods. I hypothesize that he would have preferred the consistency of purees and would have been more hesitant to try real food if we would have done traditional weaning.
Questions in this series
8/11/19- Question 6: What did you like/dislike about BLW?
9/11/19- Question 7: How did BLW benefit your baby?
10/11/19- Question 8: How does your child eat today?
11/11/19-Question 9: What were some of your favorite baby products for BLW? Highchairs, utensils, bibs etc.?
12/11/19- Question 10: If you had the option to do it again, or with your next child, would/will you do BLW again?
We decided to start Baby Led Weaning right at the six months mark, maybe shortly beforehand. Why? Well because American Association of Pediatrics and all of my research said so. I like to follow protocol. Also, Lennox was extremely advanced. By 5 months he was already crawling and grabbing at table food; hence I knew six- months-mark was an appropriate time to begin. Since Lennox was so advanced, when he was around 4-5 months, I did do some breastmilk purées and popscicles, which I will go into further detail in a future post.
With that being said, just because Lennox started BLW at six-months, and just because it is AAP recommended that your start after six months, doesn't mean your baby is ready at six-months. Babies grow at different paces, so don't feel pressured by a number or by society. Instead, look for the following cues below which signals your baby is ready to start BLW.
Check out this cute video of Lennox eating a lemon at five-months-old =)
Thank you to the mothers who submitted your answers. We still have eight more questions, so mamas, if you have done Baby Led Weaning, please share your experience with us!
Other mama’s responses to Question 2:
Kassandra at Adelaideandi
Between 7-8 months old. She was reaching for my food when I was eating and could sit up.
Taylor at Mindful.mom_ents
Almost seven months. The signs of readiness - sitting up unassisted, interested in food when we were eating, tongue thrust reflex is gone, etc.
Jessica at HeyMamaJess
6 months. He could sit up, showed interest in food, holds his head up.
Emily at This Crazy Maze
We started solids around seven months. My son has all of the signs of readiness, but he wasn't entirely sitting on his own. He could sit on his own if we propped him up or stuck him in a high chair, so I counted that since that is what most people do. Though we did not use a high chair or prop him up. Goes back to the natural abilities thing - I only put him in positions he can get into on his own. So, I held him up in my lap and completely supported him sitting up. In the future, though I would have just waited until he actually started sitting 100% on his own
6 months with 1st, 7ish with 2nd, lost tongue thrust, sitting independently.
Just a reminder from my introductory post on Baby Led Weaning:
The Benefits Of BLW
· Increases motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
· Encourages better eating. Your child will most likely be less picky eaters.
· It allows your baby to use all of her senses while eating and exploring with different colors, textures, and shapes.
· It allows your baby to decide when she is done eating, promoting appetite control.
· It allows your child to take an active part in mealtime and encourages socialization.
· It is less time-consuming. You offer your baby exactly (minus the condiments) what you are eating, eliminating the mess and time of having to blend purees.
· It teaches independence and confidence.
· It aids your baby in understanding what is edible and what isn’t.
· It allows you, mom, dad or guardian, to be hands-free and enjoy your food while baby enjoys hers.
· It encourages healthier eating on behalf of the parent— at least for me anyways. I wanted Lennox to be a healthy eater so in order to do that I had to change my bad eating habits at mealtime.
· It's cheaper than store-bought purees.
The Cons Of BLW
· It’s extremely messy. I recommend using a plastic bib or even better, let your baby eat in just a diaper.
· The reactions of family and bystanders who are constantly nagging you that your baby is too young to be eating this type of food or is going to choke. This is a fairly new phenomenon so be prepared to be criticized.
· I am not sure if this is BLW-related or not, or if Lennox is just having a bad experience with teething, but my guess is that BLW makes the baby’s gums harder from chewing solids so early on and teething might be a little more difficult for them if their teeth are late bloomers. Has anyone else experienced this?