09 June 2011

Dilemma number two: of the weaning variety

So the other thing that I have been worrying about is all this hoohar about weaning.

Since the beginning I  have read bits and bobs about baby led weaning, and really agree with the principles, ie waiting until your baby is ready to eat for themselves, letting them feed themselves, letting them discover and play with different foods, and learning to chew first and hopefully avoiding your child becoming a fussy eater.  I like the idea of not having to make purees of everything, the idea of mashing together a whole roast dinner seems weird to me. But I know this works for some/most people.

There are lots of discrepancies over when you should start weaning, well regular weaning. Health advisers all say 6 months. But lots of people actually start just after 4 months, because their babies are showing signs of wanting extra food. I think my mum said that I starting eating food about 4 months.

But with baby led weaning you have to wait until your baby is 6 months and can sit unaided and hold themselves steady. Also their digestive system is advanced enough to handle most foods by then. Also I guess their hand to mouth coordination is a lot better at 6 months. I have so far been led by Theo in all the other aspects of baby life, such as feeding on demand, co-sleeping (because he likes it better that way!) and generally going by what he wants, so why not follow on that way with weaning? So in theory it is all very agreeable to me.

But the things I have been worried about are that what if Theo shows signs of needing extra food other than milk before he gets to 6 months? He is a big baby, and therefore may need food sooner than others. Also I know that for the first bits of baby led weaning the baby doesn't actually eat that much food, because they are discovering new tastes and learning how to chew, so most of the food probably ends up on the floor! So they still need feeding the same amounts of milk. I don't know how long that will go on for, and how long it will take until they are on proper 'meals' in the day.

My friend and I have been talking about BLW for a while now, and both intend to try it. She has another mummy friend who is a tried and tested bl advocate, who swears by it, and would do the same again. I'm not sure of the ins and outs of how it went for her, perhaps I should find out more. But some other mums I've talked to about it have other experiences, one tried it for a few days (not long I know) and got terrified about giving huge chunks of banana to her baby. Also she was saying that a friend did blw only to find that getting the child to feed out and about was hard, as it would take a long while as the child would only feed herself (the whole point I thought?) But the point is, is that perhaps sometimes its not as convenient and practical as it could be.

So my thoughts are that perhaps if Theo showed signs of wanting food earlier maybe I would try just simple fruit and veg purees? Is it ok to do a bit of both? Or to try a bit of baby porridge? Or is it ok to try and give them chunks of food a bit early? Say mushy bits of banana and let them try to feed themselves that? So many questions! If anyone has any interesting pieces of advice or information please send them over!

I'm also keen to carry on feeding as long as possible, because I really enjoy breast feeding, and it's easy and very convenient and free!Not really sure what else to say on the matter, I need to do a lot more reading into each side.

3 comments :

  1. you can definitely do a mixture of both. i know lots of people who've done that & that would solve your before 6 months dilemma. not sure about bigger chunks before then as think they might have less ability to develop a gag reflex at that stage. but i don't know for sure so investigate. n x

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  2. Jes Wainwright12 June 2011 at 10:51

    My sister's baby has a dairy intolerance and so the soya milk he was having just wasn't filling him up so he's been eating baby porridge and pureed fruit pots since he was about 3 months.

    She also lets him gnaw on things also, partly to help him develop his chewing functions and partly 'cause cold stuff is good on his little toothless gums. Slices of cucumber was a particular favourite. Obviously someone would hold it for him so he didn't choke on it.

    Now he's almost 7 months and can almost find his mouth to feed himself with a spoon and he even has a little bit of my sister's curry!

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  3. Have a word with your health visitor. There are a few dvds around about BLW, which she may have a copy of that you could borrow. They can usually get hold of them for nothing, whereas we'd have to pay, so it's worth asking. Or ask at your local SureStart centre.

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