Baby Led Weaning

As promised- here is the low down of what we do in the Bowen home when it comes to solid foods. I am not looking for your opinions/judgements so please don't share them :) You mother your child and I will mother mine!

So....like I mentioned in my past post I ran across the idea of Baby Led Weaning and loved the concept. No pureed foods. No spoon feeding. No "make your own organic fresh baby food and freeze in ice cubes". The idea is that (most) babies are ready to eat real people food at 6 months old. So whatever we are making for dinner- Mckenzie gets some too. Since Bart and I force-eat healthy I thought this would be perfect.

A few things Mckenzie has tried
  • Sweet potatoes (baked, cooled and cut into finger strips)
  • Pears (cut into strips)
  • Apples (cut)
  • Carrots (baked)
  • Zucchini (grilled, cut)
  • Broccoli (steamed)
  • Green beans (baked)
  • Bread + Tortillas
  • Fries
  • Brown rice & Quinoa mix
She really liked the broccoli and sweet potatoes and didn't mind everything else. If you read the book they teach you that very little food actually ends up being swallowed during the first several months. It's all about the baby learning and experiencing the different textures, tastes and how it feels in their mouth. 95% of what goes into their mouth eventually gets spit back up. This is all fine because babies this age aren't needing any kind of nutrients from solid food just yet. Mckenzie would grab a stick of sweet potato, shove it all in her mouth and then bring it back out again multiple times. On the occasion that something was "bitten" off she would just spit that out too.

This was mostly just a photo op. The meat was all gone by the time she got her chubby hands on it!

My biggest concern was choking and the book does a great job at explaining how this really isn't possible and the chance of them choking isn't any higher if they are BLW or not. Babies' gag reflexes are very far forward in their mouths. If they do gag, the food isn't anywhere close to the back of their throat. I will admit that the first time Mckenzie gagged totally made me nervous and I just sat there and watched her try to figure out what was going on. They gag because they aren't use to anything that far back in their throat (she was gagging on a soft piece of sweet potato that was smaller than a dime). They aren't gagging because they are choking. They are gagging because it's a new experience for them and they don't know what to do. BWL lets them learn at their own pace how to swallow food. Isn't that a cool concept? I still watch her the whole time she is eating, but it's fun to see her figure things out on her own.

According to the book Mckenzie is still pretty young and I shouldn't be expecting her to be "eating" very much. We try it usually once a day in the afternoons but sometimes we just don't get the chance. The other day she was really into it and I left her there for about 25 minutes. Other days she isn't super interested so it only lasts maybe 10 minutes. It's pretty messy, but I think the baby food gets pretty messy too right? I'm sure once she gets really into it things will get even messier, but I love to watch her learn and perfect those little motor skills on her own!

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