Monday, 21 July 2014

Baby Led weaning vs Traditional weaning

It feels like everything is happening altogether at the moment. I feel so busy and the little man is learning new things every day.

Not only has he started to teethe (nothing has popped through just yet) he's also started to eat! We have officially started to wean. It's such fun, but terrifying that he's even ready for it. It's doesn't seem two seconds since it was 6th February and he'd just been born. 

He's been eating for the last week and all is going well ... so far. 

Guidelines now state that solids shouldn't be introduced into a babies diet until 6 months. A great deal of research has been carried out which has suggested that a baby doesn't have a fully developed digestive system until they are 6 months old. It's a very debatable topic though, everyone who is a parent has an opinion on it. The older generation (including my Mother in Law!) will tell you that babies should be introduced to food from 3 or 4 months ( in my case, while trying to tell you should be letting him taste ice cream!). It's interesting to hear other peoples opinions but you, yourself will know when YOUR baby is ready to move on to solids.

Once you've decided on the time, you need to decide on the method. Will you use the traditional puree spoon feeding method or will you try baby led weaning? 



For those of you who don't know Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, it means letting your baby feed themselves from the very start of weaning. Baby Led weaning means no purees, no mass production of frozen 'meals, no blending and no 'here comes the aeroplane while trying to manoeuvre a loaded spoon into a little mouth. It's said to encourage babies not to be fussy and eat lumpy food without issue whilst discovering tastes and textures at their own rate. I'm not so sure. I was spoon feed when I was a baby and I'm not fussy, neither is hubby so I'm not sure how valid that argument is. 

Whilst the more traditional use of purees is a slower process. Baby starts with puree before moving on to lumpier purees before introducing finger foods at about 7-8 months. 

There's obviously also the option of using both methods combined which probably describes what we're doing. 

Whilst I like the idea of it, I don't think exclusive baby led weaning is for us. During the first few days of solids I tried the little man with an extremely well cooked and soft carrot finger which he immediately picked up from his high chair tray and rammed in his mouth, seconds later he started to choke to the point he couldn't breathe and was terrified and screaming. Whilst I'm aware it might not happen again, I'm not happy to take the risk, so we've opted for starting off on purees with some additional large pieces added, including toast. 


I intend to gradually introduce lumps and chunks and offer him large pieces of cooked food to touch and become familiar with but not necessarily worry too much about him eating them until he's around the 7 month mark. Despite the carrot incident we have tried green beans and toast which were actually fantastic. They went really sloppy and flaccid so I was much less worried about him choking and he was keen to play with them/try and put them in his ears. 



Traditional Weaning

Traditional weaning allows you to control how much your baby is eating and what they are eating. 

Pros

  • You are able to measure out the amounts of food you'd like your baby to eat and are aware of the amounts they've eaten
  • You control the types of food and the combinations so you know whether they are eating enough of the right food 
  • It's not too messy, other than the mess around your babies mouth, making it a little easier when you're in a social setting

Cons
  • You need to plan ahead and be organised, ideally creating food for the week in one freezable batch.
  • Your baby doesn't really have a choice of what it eats
  • It may get used to smooth soft food and struggle to move on to anything with a different texture

Baby Led Weaning

Baby-led weaning is when your child controls how much he eats, how hey eat it and what they eat.  

Pros
  • Baby eats at his own rate
  • Baby gets to make choices about the food he eats
  • More textures and consistencies are eaten
  • You don't need to prepare separate meals for your baby, they eat what you're having
Cons
  • The mess
  • The choking issue

I honestly don't think I could cope with the mess either. I know that makes me sound like a bad mother but I would be mortified if we were eating out and little man threw his food all over the place. Baby feeding is messy at the best of times but food up the walls, all over the floor and all over him doesn't seem very fun to me. 



My reasons for NOT choosing to exclusively baby led wean -

  • I want to know what he's eaten and how much of it he's eaten
  • Personally I think vegetable and fruit purees are a better way of getting a varied selection of nutrients and vitamins into his diet
  • It's less messy and easier in a public setting 
  • He's less likely to choke or gag

As with anything related to babies and children there are various differing opinions, some stronger than others! 

I asked some other bloggers for their opinions about both methods -

Mix of both for eldest - started off with puree because I thought that was how it was done. When he was 7m I came across blw which made much more sense to me, tried it & he went from being a fussy eater to a good one straight away. Did blw straight away with youngest and will do same with baby when he or she is weaning age. No faffing with blending and mushing, proper taste and texture straight away and much easier to sort out meals if you're not at home! Www.parenthoodhighsandlows.com

My daughter had always been independent and stubborn (no idea where she gets it from!), I chose to go with baby/toddler led with weaning, toilet training etc and for that I do not have a fussy eater and no regression due to being forced. Simslife.co.uk

I did a mixture of both, simply out of trial and error to see what worked best. My bub loved purees initially then came to a stage where he refused anything from a spoon, so I took the blw route most of the way. http://ligurl27.wordpress.com

We chose baby led weaning for a few reasons. Indiana wasn't interested in food until 6 months so we were able to wait. We also wanted her to be Independent and less fussy and it's working as she eats everything! Blw is also just amazing to watch, as she just eats normal food, which is also easier to do. So many reasons lol x www.emilyandindiana.com


My daughter had reflux, wouldn't eat purees, ended up letting her feed herself food, at 8 months before BLW became trendy, then with my son, did the same, both did really well. www.themadhouseofcatsandbabies.com


 I had no idea what route to take and decided on a combination of purée and BLW, I kept flitting between the two due to my fears of choking. I ended up BLW organically as N didn't take to purées yet shoved a carrot baton in his mouth straight away and wouldn't have it any other way. www.boardbaby.wordpress.com


We went baby led after seeing a friend use the method very successfully. I love the fact that Max can choose what he wants to eat and when - we do that so why shouldn't he? Out of my 3 kids, he is the best eater by far and will try anything. http://myfamilyfever.co.uk

We did a combination. Started both with purees, but soon moved to lots of finger foods, both loved finger foods and tried everything put in front of them and it was so much fun watching them explore and enjoy their food. I found that they were more fussy when trying purees. www.l-platemummy.com

Joss has always been fiercely independent, baby led weaning interested me as I liked the idea of giving her the space and control to explore food for herself; I started to enjoy trying to make and blog about family meals that were really easy for her to pick up but that we could all eat and it transformed the way my husband and I eat for the better too with less salt and sugar and better portion control www.thereandbackagainamotherstale.com

Mixture for both my girls. Youngest loved to hold food and suck it. She teethed at 4 months so I think she used food to help her teething. Had 6 teeth at 6months. Eldest was lazy and fussy so preferred puree food. www.thisdayilove.co.uk

We just started off with baby rice with banana mashed up in it because she was only 4 months! (Bottle just wasn't enough for her!) so we just spoon feed her as she's still little. However when she's 6 months I think we will do a bit of both as I want her to explore foods and get all messy! www.thesmallestofthings.com

I spoon feed. Oscar won't put anything in his mouth so there would be absolutely no point in trying to let him do it himself. I sometimes leave cucumber and carrot sticks or baby biscuits where he can pick them up while I'm preparing his food just incase he decides he wants to feed himself but he usually just picks them up and holds them in his hands for the duration of the meal or gives them an occasional lick!! 
www.confessionsofasecretshopper.com

As you can see opinions are varied. I was actually quite surprised to read how many people used the baby led weaning method.

What are you opinions on weaning?

What method did you use? Did it work?













13 comments:

  1. Great post! Weaning scares the crap out of me. I used to break into a cold sweat whenever carsom had anything remotely lumpy. So he was spoon fed. Nowt wrong with him for doing so either. He'll eat anything! There's no way I could go down the BLW route with Finley. I'm sticking to what I know works! (And less likely to give me a heart attack!) X

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    1. Thanks for linking to #babybabble this last week, hope to see you link up again tomorrow! xx

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  2. This all sounds very messy and complex! I can definitely see why you would go for the traditional method!!!
    Makes feeding in public places much less of a disaster :P
    Love Lucinda xx
    http://thefashionfictionary.com

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  3. Such a well written post, it's nice to see you included other bloggers comments on the subject! I will be honest, I have no idea about weaning as I don't have any children yet but I hear a lot of YouTuber Mummy's talk about baby led weaning & it frightened me when I saw a baby being given chunks of carrot/cucumber etc to chew on at such a young age! X

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  4. Great post. Was such an interesting read! x

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  5. For me a mixture of both is the way to go, depending on situation.. I wouldn't want to choose one method exclusively over the other.

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  6. Great post!! I think I did a mixture of both.....Seems so long ago....My girls are 6 & 11!
    I know with my 11 year old she was eating mashed potato, carrots and swede when she was about 3 and a half months old on Christmas day...The part of baby led weaning which scare me is the choking!!

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  7. It's really interesting post, my little one's 13 months now so it wasn't that long ago we weaned. I weaned between 4 and 5 months very little bits of fruit from 4 months onwards we were recommend to do that by our doctor as my son had to come off breast milk at 10 weeks, I think different babies are ready at different times. We did a combo of both traditional spoon feeding and baby led but my son loves being spoon feed he just loves food so much and seems to have worked out that if mama feeds him he gets to eat much faster than if he feeds him self :-)

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  8. Great post,your little one is a little cutie!
    thanks for this,i can show my bestfriend this as her little one is soo close to this stage!
    www.simplelifeofjade.blogspot.com
    xo

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  9. My little one is 4 months and already showing signs she wants to wean. I'm going to hold off as long as possible, but I think we'll probably go down the route of doing a mix of traditional and baby led. Your post was really interesting x
    #babybabble

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  10. I think you are totally right about knowing when, and what, is right for YOUR baby. We started to wean monkey around 41/2 months so started with purees then added in some finger foods at around 6 months and he had a mixture of purees and solids from then on. He never had any problem with lumps or different textures and ate just about everything - I have a picture of him covered, literally covered in bits of broccoli that he had been gnawing on. Then at 13 months he became fussy, almost overnight and we have struggled a lot over the past year. he is doing a lot better now but he is still fussy, though I honestly don't believe we could have done anything differently. Not sure how we will wean baby no,2, we shall see what happens I guess! xx #babybabble

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  11. This is a great post! My baby is only 17 days old, but I'm reading other bloggers' experiences and I've found your post really useful for when the time comes. I think I'll probably to a mix of both options for the pros and cons that you've mentioned xx #babybabble

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  12. You always need to think of the cons, such a awkward time but worth it I'm sure x

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Thanks for commenting