My journey through Baby Led Weaning and Solids - By Fi Morrison
A big thank you to Fi Morrison for sharing her experience with introducing solids to her baby as a new Mum x
Our "introduction to solids" journey began over 7 months ago, when my son was 4 months old. I was eager to start him on solids, because it seemed to be another “milestone” he could meet. Another step in his development, signaling that he was growing more and more with each passing day (how I could wish those younger days back!). I eagerly did the “mum thing” by creating purees from scratch – chopping, steaming and blending countless vegetables and fruits. I did this consistently for a couple of months, but not because I enjoyed it. No, it lost its novelty factor within a week. I continued on blending fruits and veg because I thought I was giving my son the best chance for a nutritious, healthy diet. And because the thought of baby-led weaning frightened me.
Introducing solids to your baby - my experience with Baby Led Weaning (BLW)
For anyone who might not know what baby-led weaning (BLW) is, it refers to allowing your baby to feed themselves, usually with the same meal that the rest of the family eats. This is different to ‘traditional’ weaning, which is the common term for using purees or mashed foods, and spoon-feeding your child (for a comprehensive take on the differences between the two, there is a great guest post on my site here). BLW versus traditional weaning is one of those “controversial” topics that you come across in motherhood, similar to breastfeeding versus formula feeding, or the use of sleep training. Most mothers will have an opinion on the way to start a baby on solids, and as a new mum I found it all very confusing and extremely daunting.
As I mentioned earlier, BLW frightened me. It was the thought of my son choking on something that really freaked me out. Of course, talking to my mum friends, many of them were doing BLW and giving their child anything and everything. As I sat there, tired and exhausted from countless pureeing sessions, the logic behind BLW really appealed to me – that and avoiding peeling one more carrot. I was keen to give it a try, but I couldn’t get past the anxiety of something happening to him. I tried a little piece of toast here and there, but didn’t move beyond that. In fact, the one time I DID try to give him something different – a piece of banana – he had a partial choking incident (thank goodness I did Family First Aid that day!).
Despite being so eager to get my son’s solids journey underway, it has proven to be an interesting ride.
I’ve read books, I’ve Googled websites and articles and blog posts, and I’ve purchased recipe books. I’ve asked in Facebook groups and forums about the best foods to start BLW on, or whether I should stick with Traditional weaning – and that was really like poking the bear. However what this research showed me was the most important thing to know in feeding your child: the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging is a reflex babies need to develop, as it helps them avoid choking (it involves a lot of noise and coughing); whereas choking is where food is actually stuck in the baby’s airway, and baby is silent as a result (and possibly turning blue). Once I learnt this difference, I instantly became less worried when my son gagged – which was often – as I knew that it was a reflex he needed to develop, and it meant he wasn’t actually choking.
From here, I decided I wanted to try a bit more BLW, but slowly. I found that what worked best for us was following his cues, and doing a combination of things. Once our boy got his first couple of teeth, I was a bit more confident in giving him foods to chew on (he began eating peanut butter toast regularly). As I saw him become more adept at eating his toast, I started venturing with other foods such as apple pieces, pancakes and healthy slices. My confidence has slowly continued to increase up until now, where my son is almost a year old. Of course, as he is now a lot older than when he first started solids, he is able to process foods of varying textures.
As with anything in motherhood, this journey through solids is an ever-changing process.
Now my son can eat varying types of foods, however my new challenge is to let go of my OCD and let him feed himself the messy foods. My husband and I are currently still spoon-feeding my son foods such as lasagna or spaghetti bolognaise (as the thought of it all over the floor and his clothes makes me tremble). If we wanted to go fully into BLW mode, we would need to let the OCD go and tip the spag bol all over his highchair tray. That might be something new for us to work on, or as our son has started grabbing for the spoon, he may learn to feed himself with the spoon first!
Ultimately, the thing I have learnt through my son’s solids journey, is that while there is lots of information out there about baby-led weaning and traditional weaning, you will find something that works best for you and your family. There are lots of perceived pros and cons to each approach, but at the end of the day, as long as your baby is eating and is well-nourished, then you are on the right solids path.
Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us Fi! We'd love to hear about your experiences with introducing solids and what you may be struggling with! Pop your thoughts in the comments below!
Fi also helps admin our Facebook group over at Find Your Village – a truly supportive community of new and experienced mamas where you can vent frustrations or share your excitement in a space that is free from judgment. We'd love you to join us! ♥ Cathy
Follow Fi's wonderful blog Mumma Morrison here!
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