As a mother, there will eventually come a time, when you must wean your baby from formula or breast milk. Weaning your child from the bottle can be very difficult, but it is imperative, at some point or another. With this in mind, you might want to utilize BLW, baby-bed weaning. Some parents suggest this method is more effective than the traditional techniques. Is it actually safer and should you try it for your child? Below, you will learn all there is to know about baby-led weaning.
What is BLW?
So, what exactly is this method of introducing food to your child? If you decide to follow this route, you will actually introduce the food, as your child enjoys breast milk or formula. In fact, your child will actually intake these food simultaneously. While utilizing the basic principles of baby-led weaning, it is possible to promote the growth of oral motor control, while ensuring that your baby interacts with his or her food. With this type of weaning, the child will actually feed his or herself very early on.
Of course, you should take note that this isn’t actually weaning in the traditional term. Instead, the baby stills enjoys their formula or breast milk, while also feeding on their own.
Teaching Your Child Oral Motor Skills Early
As mentioned above, BLW can help to promote a more rapid understanding of the use of oral motor skills. Remember that sucking and swallowing is actually instinctive, while chewing and swallowing food is entirely learned. By utilizing BLW, it is possible to introduce your child to foods slowly. By starting with smooth purees, your child will actually begin to learn the motor skills on their own! Do not be surprised, if your child doesn’t actually ingest very much, during the first few initial attempts.
Still, this will encourage them to learn on their own. With practice, they’ll be much more likely to learn, without the complications often associated with the traditional methods.
The Benefits of Baby-Led Weaning
Although it depends on who you ask, there are some potential benefits of BLW. For your convenience and consideration, these will be listed below.
- Your baby learns to wean him or herself from the bottle through fun exploration.
- When using the traditional weaning methods, your child will gag and spit up their food. This can lead to a negative experience, which could potentially cause your child to be very picky about their food later on.
- Encourages the child to join in on family meals.
- Can potentially lead to healthier food choices and a decrease in the risk of obesity.
The Negatives of Baby-Led Weaning
Of course, BLW isn’t completely beneficial. There are a few potential cons that should be taken into consideration, before attempting this method. Below, you will find these for your convenience.
- A lot of food will be wasted.
- It is entirely possible that your baby’s food won’t be eaten, which can decrease the amount of necessary nutrients they take in.
- Constant supervision is vital!
How Baby-Led Weaning Works
So, are you interested in trying it out? If this is the case, you shouldn’t rush into it right away! Although your child might begin reaching for foods early, it is imperative to wait until he or she is approximately 6 months old. At this point, the baby’s internal digestive system should be mature. This will mean that they’ll actually be able to digest the food on their own.
First and foremost, you should know that your baby is likely to reject food. This is entirely normal, but you shouldn’t hesitate to try it again, at a later time. You should also make sure that your child takes control over the situation and determines how much he or she wants to eat. Once they’re finished, they’re finished! You shouldn’t encourage them to eat afterwards with a spoon. With this in mind, you shouldn’t attempt to rush your child! Give him or her plenty of time to eat whatever they wish. Also, it is a good idea to give them tiny sips of water, during the meal.
What Types of Foods?
Although I won’t go into recipes, I will try and provide you with information that can help you pick and choose food items for your child. First, you will want to start off with very soft vegetables and fruits. Harder foods can also be provided, if they have been cooked and softened. If your child is going to be able to chew up the item with their gums, it should work. Make sure that you avoid potentially dangerous foods, like peanuts, at all costs!
If you want your child to learn how to feed him or herself, with a spoon, you will want to provide them with suitable foods, such as yogurt. Oatmeal is also another option. Typically, you should make sure to stick with soft foods, until your child grows older.
Is Baby-Led Weaning Dangerous?
Many parents will be concerned about their child choking, when introduced to whole foods. As long as your baby remains in an upright position, they should be absolutely fine! In order to offer you a little peace of mind, you should know that babies are more than capable of handling foods in their mouths. They can control the extact amount they decide to eat. When they’re ready to swallow, they’ll be able to move it around and swallow it.
Of course, it is absolutely vital to make sure that you continue monitoring your child, during their meals! Although it might be messy and look awkward, BLW is safe, as long as you stick with soft foods and monitor your child!
Conclusion and Precautions
Now that you know all there is to know about BLW, you will need to determine, whether or not it is right for your and your baby. There are some specific precautions that should be noted. Any child, who has special needs or was born prematurely, should not be weaned using this particular method. Also, if your family has digestive problems, diet intolerances or food allergies in their background, you should not follow this method, until you’ve met with your child’s physician.
If your child doesn’t fall into any of these categories, it is entirely up to you, whether or not you want to give it a try. Some parents love it, while others love to avoid it. The choice is yours and you should do what you feel is best for your child.