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Baby Led Weaning

June 18, 2009

Micah spaghetti head!

Further to my previous post on BLW I thought I’d share a bit more information that I’ve collected since a few of you have been asking!

Micah is now 11 months and is still on approx 85% breast milk and the rest bits of food that he can pick up himself at our family meal times. I’m in no rush to get solids in him and the more I read, the more I’m convinced of this! He’s growing, thriving and happy Praise God, and we as a family are enjoying the BLW process (although very messy!)

Most babies will become developmentally and physiologically ready to eat solids by 6-9 months of age. For some babies, delaying solids longer than six months can be a good thing; for example, some doctors may recommend delaying solids for 12 months if there is a family history of allergies.

Reasons for delaying solids:

Although some of the reasons listed here assume that your baby is breastfed or fed breast milk only, experts recommend that solids be delayed for formula fed babies also.

  • Delaying solids gives baby greater protection from illness.

  • Delaying solids gives baby’s digestive system time to mature.

  • Delaying solids decreases the risk of food allergies.

  • Delaying solids helps to protect baby from iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Delaying solids helps to protect baby from future obesity.

  • Delaying solids helps Mama to maintain her milk supply.

  • Delaying solids helps to space babies.

  • Delaying solids makes starting solids easier.

You can read more about these points in great detail with further study at this site here.

I also found this information really helpful:

DOs and DON’Ts for baby-led weaning

1. DO offer your baby the chance to participate whenever anyone else in the family is eating. You can begin to do this as soon as he shows an interest in watching you, although he is unlikely to be ready to put food in his mouth until he is about six months old.

2. DO ensure that your baby is supported in an upright position while he is experimenting with food. In the early days you can sit him on your lap, facing the table. Once he is beginning to show skill at picking food up he will almost certainly be mature enough to sit, with minimal support, in a high chair.

3. DO start by offering foods that are baby-fist-sized, preferably chip-shaped (i.e., with a ‘handle’). As far as possible, and provided they are suitable, offer him the same foods that you are eating, so that he feels part of what is going on.

4. DO offer a variety of foods. There is no need to limit your baby’s experience with food any more than you do with toys.

5. DON’T hurry your baby. Allow him to direct the pace of what he is doing. In particular, don’t be tempted to ‘help’ him by putting things in his mouth for him.

6. DON’T expect your baby to eat any food on the first few occasions. Once he has discovered that these new toys taste nice, he will begin to chew and, later, to swallow.

7. DON’T expect a young baby to eat all of each piece of food at first – remember that he won’t yet have developed the ability to get at food which is inside his fist.

8. DO try rejected foods again later – babies often change their minds and later accept foods they originally turned down.

9. DON’T leave your baby on his own with food.

10. DON’T offer foods which present an obvious danger, such as peanuts.

11. DON’T offer ‘fast’ foods, ready meals or foods that have added salt or sugar.

12. DO offer water from a cup but don’t worry if your baby shows no interest in it. A breastfed baby, in particular, is likely to continue for some time to get all the drinks he needs from the breast.

13. DO be prepared for the mess! A clean plastic sheet on the floor under the high chair will protect your carpet and make clearing up easier. It will also enable you to give back foods that have been dropped, so that less is wasted. (You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your baby learns to eat with very little mess!)

14. DO continue to allow your baby to breastfeed whenever he wants, for as long as he wants. Expect his feeding pattern to change as he starts to eat more solid foods.

15. If you have a family history of food intolerance, allergy or digestive problems, DO discuss this method of weaning with your health advisers before embarking on it.

16. Finally, DO enjoy watching your baby learn about food – and develop his skills with his hands ans mouth in the process
© Gill Rapley, 2008

And finally I’ll leave you with this little rhyme about food that I read on the ‘Natural Mama’s’ forum a little while ago:

Up till one it’s just for fun!
From one till two, they’ll copy you.
From two till three, just let them be.
From three till four, worry no more.
From four till five, just watch them thrive.

Happy baby feeding!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2009 5:15 pm

    Thanks for this Leah, its given me lots to think about and a few more questions to ask you at some point!Sam

  2. June 21, 2009 8:03 pm

    Ask away Sam! I'm about to read and review a/the only (!) book purely dedicated to babyled weaning so I'll keep you posted as I read…

  3. June 23, 2009 8:24 pm

    I have let my past 3 babies determine when they wanted to be weaned. The first nursed till 13 months. The 2nd, 20 months, my 3rd is 17 months and still nurses 4 – 5 times a day. She didn't eat table food till she was a year old. I encourage everyone to relax and keep up the nursing and forget supplementing with a bottle or early force your blog!Jenny in Texas

  4. June 24, 2009 8:13 am

    Hi Jenny – thanks for your comment; it's great to hear from other Mamas who are raising their babies this way, I still have so much to learn but am enjoying the journey!

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