I started to wean my son three weeks ago at 5 months using baby led weaning as he was grabbing food. He took to it well, having some soft foods and managing them well. Then he nearly choked on a rusk, and now gags and chokes on every single piece of 'whole' food. He was still really interested in food so I have given him a loaded spoon as per advice which he gets into his mouth and will eat a reasonable quantity of food this way. However, he has now discovered that mummy can feed him, so sits with his mouth open and drops the spoon over the side if I give it to him. He basically wants me to feed him! I am worried that if I do keep feeding him he will 1) become reliant on the food, 2) be unable to do true BLW as he will be being spoon fed or 3) keep choking and gagging on whole foods. I feel like I've really messed up the BLW and I really wanted it to work. My OH's family are eagerly waiting for BLW to fail, and I really believe it can work. I just don't know what to do next, and I'm worried about just stopping feeding him in case he is hungry without it. Any help or advice would be great.
Well, you don't need to worry about him being hungry without solids yet - as you see on here repeatedly, 'food is for fun until they're one'. Nutrition mainly has to come from milk until then.
Gagging is quite normal with BLW, or any weaning for that matter. I went to an NHS-run talk the other day where the presenter pointed out that 100% of babies will gag during weaning and that this is an essential mechanism for the brain to stimulate chewing.
Thirdly, what do you want to achieve - a baby who will take a range of solids happily or a point scored in a game of one-upmanship with the in-laws? I'd hope it was the former You're more likely to achieve that if you focus on effective, happy methods rather than ideologies. The majority of babies wean with purées and the majority of them grow into people who are happy with a wide range of foods.
I do agree a mix of foods is important though (as does the NHS who advocate purées and finger foods from 6 months). Maybe go easy on the spoon feeding for now and just put some food in front of your DS during your own meal and just watch - as far as I understand it, that's the idea of BLW anyway. No need to bother with intentionally soft food or stuff that needs to be offered on a spoon. With my DS, he eats porridge with his hands (no, really...it's not messy at all ) and sucks soup off a crust of bread. I'm also pretty sure the BLW police will get you for giving him rusks so wait another week or two and you can go crazy with real food which he may find far more enticing.
Thanks for your thoughts. It's really hard because no one I know is actually doing BLW despite it being the recommended method in our area, and a lot of people think it's a bit bohemian and unorthodox. I find that this means I can't ask my family for support in the same way because they see any problem as evidence that BLW is faddy and unnecessary. it's hard enough being a mum without constant worry that he will choke or starve!
I think I'm going to just wait a while before trying BLW again. He's 6 months next week so I might just wait til then. I wish I'd waited anyway to be honest, but never mind. Thanks
At 5/6m, especially with BLW, you can offer food or let them grab safe stuff and if they eat it that's great but if they don't no stress. DS had his own stick of steamed carrot/broccoli floret/green beans to play with from about 23w and it took a few tries for him to get the idea but he did in the end. The key with BLW is patience and letting the baby control what happens. That's why it's baby led, otherwise it would just be finger food
I found BLW quite scary (you'll find my own posts on here from a couple of weeks ago panicking about the gagging) but it's fine now, and DS definitely prefers it to spoon-feeding.
Even if your DS bites off big chunks, he will gag them out, and possibly even vomit - he would have to have a pretty advanced swallow to be able to get a large chunk far enough back to choke. A baby's gag reflex is initiated much further forward in the mouth than an adult's, and it just needs (a surprisingly short) time to desensitise a bit.
PS Mine eats amazingly 'properly' after just a couple of weeks. He doesn't swallow a huge amount (they don't tend to for a while with BLW) but part of the theory of the approach is that they learn to bite and chew before swallowing, in a more 'correct' developmental sequence.
The great thing about the gag reflex is that it is there to stop them choking on things. I guess because your baby can effectively take bites the gag reflex is maybe coming into play more than for some but IMO that just shows how useful it is. I'd just carry on offering regular foods at the same time as you are eating and see how things go - the great thing about BLW is that you can't really do it too early as they won't eat until they're able/ready.
Thought I'd add an update: after my comment I stopped offering food to DS until he was over 6 months (so he went back to milk for a week), then began BLW again, offering sticks of finger food, and I cannot believe the difference. No gagging, no stress, he picks up all the food and is actually eating and swallowing foods. Amazing! I really can't get over the difference even a few days can make and every day he is managing new and different foods. My advice to anyone struggling with BLW is just to wait a few days and try again, and not to start before 6 months. And the best thing is, he is loving his food, gets excited about meals and is really enjoying sitting up at the table and eating with us!