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Friday, August 17, 2012

baby-led weaning resources

Someone recently mentioned this term I'd never heard, baby-led weaning, on the Mommy Stories Facebook group. I had never even heard of it, but apparently it's been out there for a few years. I figured I owed the readers of this blog some info about it. 

Though I can't quite make up my mind how I feel about it personally. I think I'd be too nervous that my child would have an allergic reaction or choke on something when so little starting this way at 6 months old. But I might possibly try it around 8 months old perhaps when baby has been eating for a bit and I know a little more of what she can handle in her mouth. I like that the food process can be a slow one at the beginning, seeing which cereals he likes best, trying them all one by one, making sure not to introduce too many foods at once. I also LOVED LOVED LOVED making homemade baby food, pureeing, feeding my son, being a big part of that new stage with him, seeing the new foods I could put together that he'd devour up. So I think I'm also conflicted there. Just my personal experience. 

Anyway, hope this helps anyone who may be curious or deciding to go in this direction when starting solid foods with their baby!

The first thing we need is a real definition:
Wikipedia offers this: baby led weaning "is a method of ‘adding complementary foods."
This is the first Web site that comes up when you type the subject "baby-led weaning" into Google. It's an author from England who started a blog and this site about 6 years ago from what I can gather. They also have a book, Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, which I've ordered from the library and hope to review soon for you.

They also have a Facebook group with more information and updates.

The subtext under the title of this site is "The Mush Stops Here!" essentially giving more info about what baby -ed weaning is all about:

*no purees
*no spoon-feeding your child
*letting baby be in charge of what she wants to pick up off the tray
*no baby food jars, homemade baby food ice cubes, no purees or food processers. Solid foods only, cut into chunks the size of a chip so baby can hold onto and gnaw on it as she pleases.
*begin by chewing first, then swallowing, versus puree foods which teach swallowing before chewing.
*suggested starting point is 6 months old because before that baby's digestive system is not ready to handle this size and texture of food, as well as babies are not able to process the food in their mouth yet.

This site seems to offer a lot to anyone interested in baby-led weaning. There are discussion forums on many various topics, not just that of feeding with solid foods. There are recipes and a blog. There are pictures of adorable babies eating things like big chunks of broccoli trees!

I like that on the first page of this site the author explains what the term "weaning" refers to with this process, as that is the first thing that completely confused me about this baby-led weaning stuff. I wasn't sure if it meant breastfeeding or something else. The author wrote: "* re ‘wean’. This is meant in the Brit sense, not the American. In the UK, ‘weaning’ means ‘adding complementary foods’, whereas in the States it means ‘giving up breastfeeding’. Two nations divided by a common language, and all that. In fact, there is even a helpful hands-across-the-ocean translation thread on the subject on the forum, which solves the mystery of what the UK equivalent of the Graham’s Cracker might be. (While we’re on the subject of terminology… if it was up to me, I’d have called this whole thing Baby Self-Feeding, but that ship has sailed, my friends, and Baby-Led Weaning it is.)"

Another good resource that I've used before when making baby food is Wholesome Baby. This site offers general questions and answers about this process, as well as a few great Web sites to check out, including this one by the founder of baby led weaning, Gill Rapley:

She offers an excellent leaflet on baby-led weaning how-tos and tips for success here that you can print:
under the lefthand side of the home page. It's worth checking out and hanging on the fridge if you are planning to do this with your child.

It sounds interesting and fun for sure! Who has tried this? Please post comments!

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