BLW: Just not common sense.

(35 Posts)
PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 08:23:03

Oh dear. My Dad was pretty vocal in his disapproval of BLW last night at his house. Basically saying, my DGD is a tiny baby and giving her huge chunks of food isn't just a nonsense but dangerous and that he won't tolerate it in his house. In any case, it's not common sense and why don't we feed her properly ie with a spoon.

Now DD is 22 weeks and has been grabbing out at food for 2 weeks. She can sit unaided, she has teeth, she can easily put food into her mouth. We haven't pushed and I was actually quite alarmed that she is doing this all so far before the 26 week mark. She screams Zander cries if we don't give her food.

So, we've been giving her bits of veg or fruit to suck / play with. She bf's the same, so I didn't really see the harm in letting her have a play if she wants to. Especially as she can sit so well. She chews, sucks, tastes and inspects food. Yesterday she was scooping handfuls of porridge (my mum made her some) quite manically! However, last night she choked on some potato. She was over enthusiastic and I think it was too crumbly and broke up in her mouth. I wouldn't have given her potato at home, just roasted or raw things like parsnip or banana. I've been staying with mum and dad for a few days and mum has tried so hard to accommodate us and is really impressed with DD. After potato-gate dad went bright red, was really upset (my DH, DM, me and DD were all fine) and went off on one. His line of argument was tantamount to me killing his GD with irresponsible new fangled nonsense sad

I cried in bed last night and feel like a huge failure (long line of criticism for many years). Besides all this happening before she's 26 weeks, I don't see what I've done wrong. I've tried to get him to read the gill rapley book (one persons opinion according to him), explain the nhs advice I had on the baby and me course (not common sense).

I guess I'm just looking for reassurance really as feel like shit. Also I'm taking them out for dinner to say thanks for having us and can't bear the the thought of a public stand off.

Any advice?

ginmakesitallok Wed 20-Nov-13 08:26:57

Your baby, your choice.

Pennythedog Wed 20-Nov-13 08:26:58

I thought you weren't supposed to do BLW until they turned 6 months? He probably just got a fright with the choking.

KatAndKit Wed 20-Nov-13 08:31:57

Buy one of those mesh feeders. Obviously don't use it unless he is about. By 8 months even babies who have puree are expected to also eat with their hands so this should be short lived anyway.
i am in favour of blw myself but i would have some reservations at 22 weeks. I know all babies are different, but i would be making sure finger foods were very soft indeed, and possibly using puree for early weaning. Take a banana with you when eating out to avoid potato gate round two or give her some mash to lick off her fingers. At the end of the day she is your baby and your dad is overstepping the mark. Is he critical of your parenting in other respects?

blackteaplease Wed 20-Nov-13 08:32:25

Oh poor you. That must have been horrible, sounds like you all got a fright. Can you leave it a few days and Talk to your dad when he is calmer?

Penny you can wean once your baby can sit up unaided, and has lost the tongue thrust reflex. This is normally around 26 weeks.

Everyone has different ideas on what is right and wrong with every single aspect of parenting, even your own family. Consider his opinions but ultimately you do whatever you feel is right for your baby. As long as you are watching her like a hawk, not giving foods that she is more likely to choke on (such as whole grapes) and know how to deal with a choking baby.

PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 08:34:05

I know the 6 mo thing. Maybe this is the problem and we should just eat separately / whilst she's asleep for the next 4 weeks.

I know she's my baby. And I will parent her how I want. He made me feel like a shit mum. It's knocked my confidence and I wonder if I'm doing things wrong.

KatAndKit Wed 20-Nov-13 08:40:33

You can also teach her to feed herself with a spoon that you have loaded up. That is also baby led as you are not putting it in her mouth, just handing her the spoon. Great for yoghurt which also has no choking risk, and handy for those times when a finger food meal isn't practical and you need to use ready made baby food. My Ds could get a spoon in his mouth when i weaned at 24 weeks.

PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 08:42:04

Good advice: thanks guys.
As I said in my op, I'm alarmed at how much she wants food! I didn't expect or want this! But she sits, she can chew and she's inconsolable if she isn't given something to suck on if she's at the table with us. She's handling food (apart from potato) very well. Always heavily supervised etc
DH and I discussed it and we'll only be giving her banana, parsnip, chunks of soft steamed stuff.
I guess by the next time we see them she'll be older. DM said I has finger foods from 6 mo and isn't phased by what we're doing at all.
No, he isn't critical of other parenting stuff. But always critical of other choices I've made in life.

LeBFG Wed 20-Nov-13 08:53:16

Weaning is not something you want to get stressed about or lose sleep over. Do what feels right: don't feel you have to do one sort of weaning if that upsets you or baby, and don't feel like a failure if you try one method and it isn't right for you and then have to try another.

I take exception to you can wean once your baby can sit up unaided, and has lost the tongue thrust reflex. This is normally around 26 weeks. for several reasons: first, my DD was at this stage at 22 weeks - second, some babies are not at this stage until 7 months +: how can these physical characteristics give us a good idea of how the digestive tract works? Surely these things are just guides and not rules set in stone? Also, both my two were like OP's baby at 5 months even though one sat unaided and the other couldn't. These are surely good signs that baby wants to eat and enjoy eating?

nextphase Wed 20-Nov-13 08:54:47

My Mum was horrified by what we were doing with BLW - the mess, mainly.
However she (thank-fully) didn't say too much, til much later on, when she admitted she's have massive doubts about what we were doing, but having seen him eating at 12-18 mths everything and anything, and (reasonably) neetly, while all her other gran mates were saying their grandkids didn't eat properly, she thinks the initial pain was worth the gain.
Many, many kids gag - and that was probably all she was doing, blw or not. Choking is seriously scary, but if they sort it themselves ina few seconds, they are fine (but its scary).
Put it this way, what are you most likly to deal with well, something strange being stuffed in your mouth, or being able to hold, and explore before trying?

The loaded spoon might be a good compromise for your Dad - sticky porridge, and thick yoghurt work well - put the stuff on the spoon, let her get the spoon to her mouth.

My 23 week old is the same OP, she will take food out of my hands if she's on my lap, and she knows what she's doing as her mouth opens in anticipation as she brings the food to it, she gums at it and enjoys it in her mouth. 26 weeks is only a guideline, some babies will be ready a few weeks early, some a few weeks later.

PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 09:11:58

LeBFG, confidence knock aside, I'm another firm believer in guidelines are just that. My baby books have said that teeth come at around 6 mo and that baby's sit unaided from 6 mo. The second tooth cut this weekend and the first cut at 19 weeks. She's been sitting up for 4 weeks now. I've been following my instincts so far, watching her and following her cues.

We've been having a lovely time together so far. Being a mum is the first thing I thought I was doing well at for once. I feel like I've failed at most other things. Although it's confusing to know what to do ahead of guidelines. In that, do you really follow your instincts or are you being irresponsible and judging things badly. I don't want to feed her with a spoon. It doesn't "feel" right to me, at the moment. I don't see how she would benefit. It would only be for my dad's benefit. She's bfing loads and I think she just wants to join in at mealtimes and not be left out. She doesn't need feeding with purée and I guess that's why I'm frustrated: yes, she wants food but no: I don't think she needs it shovelling down her. I guess I was just a bit shock that it wasn't a gentle " I don't agree, carry on" type comment, it was an out and out telling off, like I was a teen again "not under my roof" tirade.

I think we'll go the banana, pre-loaded spoon route to keep the peace when dad's around. His stress and disapproval is just to much for me.

Maybe you need to stand up to him and tell him you're not his baby anymore and he needs to respect your choices and decisions as he would with any other adult

PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 09:17:20

Revenge, I'm pretty feisty (not coming over that way here, good face and all in such situations esp with my family) and I told him what I thought last night. He would be like this with any other adult. I guess I needed reassurance that I'm not being a dumb ass and doing everything wrong. I will continue to stick up to him. Thank you for the rallying though, I think I needed it this morning thanks

PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 09:18:53

next thanks for the success story. Glad to hear your mum was supportive eventually smile

CornishYarg Wed 20-Nov-13 09:19:03

I've recently found out that my parents were anti-BLW when I started. They never mentioned it to me (they always say they'll never tell me how to parent unless I ask them or I'm doing something dangerous smile). But they both felt it was some new-age nonsense and DS would never manage to eat what I gave him.

We went away with them when DS was 7 months so they saw lots of mealtimes and were completely converted! They now tell all their friends about it. So I would just give it time and maybe avoid meals with them in the early weeks when gagging is most likely.

I think most of us worry we are doing everything wrong whether people tell us we are or not, it's difficult this baby stuff! Sounds like you're doing just fine to me.

Pennythedog Wed 20-Nov-13 09:31:25

That's interesting. My baby-led weaning book said not to start before 6 months even though I think if you are doing purees then you can start earlier. The guidelines change so much though.

When my daughter was 10 months old I gave her a bowl of cut up sausage and my aunt became upset and asked me to give her something else. It turned out when my aunt worked with elderly people she had seen a woman choke to death on a sausage. I just gave her something else as I didn't want to upset my aunt any further, it wasn't a big deal for me.

My dad also became upset once when my son ran off from him. It turned out when he was a boy, he had been walking to school along that bit of road when a school friend ran across the road and was hit and killed by a truck right in front of him.

Perhaps your dad has good reason to feel upset at the sight of your daughter choking. It might be a sensitive issue for him.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 20-Nov-13 09:33:05

I think the whole 6 month thing for BLW is because of whether a baby can sit unaided or not. You don't want them laying back when they are eating chucky food because of the increaed risk of choking. So if your DD is sitting up then I would have thought it is fine.

Your Dad was probably just scared by her choking so it might be a good idea to avoid feeding her round him for a bit, as you say. Then when you do, avoid the choky sort of food - apple pieces (our DD's nemesis), whole grapes and, it would seem, potatoes.

Big cucumber sticks are good I seem to remember and also sweet potato and butternut squash cut into sticks and roasted - yum! (DD didn't get too many of those as I had a tendency to scoff them first).

Broccoli florets are good too and great fun for them feel-wise - DD still loves broccoli three years on.

Yogurt on a spoon is excellent and is great for teaching them early coordination which is no bad thing. It is the messiest activity though and, as DD had loads of hair from birth, we ended up putting her in a bandana at meal times so she could aim the spoon wherever she liked without needing a hair wash each time.

I have to say BLW makes some children brilliant eaters. We found DD is in the middle - she does eat vegetables but not all types - and she still has her likes and dislikes. But then we may not have exposed her to enough variety. If you do that, you may have more luck.

What I loved about it was we got over the choking thing so early and quickly I was always much less afraid to give DD the types of chunky food other parents sometimes worry about for quite a long time.

Also I loved that I didn't have to spend hours pureeing everything <lazy mother>. I am glad your mother is onside - that will be a big help hopefully. My mother was totally converted by reading Gill Rapley's book but other relatives thought it was the devil's work, particularly when we had an Indian takeaway at a large family gathering and 8 month old DD tucked into chicken tikka and pieces of naan bread which she dipped in korma sauce (I am not sure whether that is recommended practise but she loved it).

Get the Gill Rapley book- it really makes the argument for BLW well! For instance, most people crap on about choking, but BLW actually reduces the risk of choking- the book explains why in great detail.

You sound like a fab mum, OP!

LeBFG Wed 20-Nov-13 09:42:07

Don't be afraid of the spoon!! No, seriously, do what feels right. Your dad is probably worried for the right reasons but it's your child and you have to make the decisions.

I suppose all I want to add is BLW won't make your baby any more/less fussy, better/worse eater, more likely to choke/less likely to choke. Purees and finger food or BLW, it's all the same in the end.

gwenniebee Wed 20-Nov-13 09:44:59

My dad said he thought BLW was "ridiculous" too - but mainly because he was insistent that dd "couldn't do it" (she was struggling to pick up something slippery as she was only just learning!). I didn't wean before 6mo so didn't have the experience you're feeling of doing it before the guidelines and maybe being wrong, however, I did have enormous anxieties about it. I had intended to do BLW but when it came to it I had a massive fear of dd choking, so in the end we did a traditional mix of finger foods and purees. What I really wanted to say was, it sounds like you have been doing a great job so far by sticking to your instincts. Like you, I felt being a mum was the first thing in my life I was really, and naturally, quite reasonable at - but when we got to weaning I felt completely out of my comfort zone and it knocked my confidence as a mother all round. Hand on heart, looking back, that phase lasted about four weeks... after that dd got the hang of the finger foods, I realised not everything she put in her mouth was going to choke her and we all got on fine from there! It felt like a long time to be so nervous, but it soon passes and you will wonder what all the fuss was about smile

(Dd is just sixteen months btw and happily eats anything and everything with a mix of being fed from a spoon/feeding herself from a spoon/getting stuck in with the hands.)

tweetytwat Wed 20-Nov-13 09:48:44

look at the difference between choking and gagging
do a children's first aid course
carry on as you are, you sound very sensiblegrin
smile and nod when your dad gives you advice. I would bet he has never weaned a child himself.
do you live with him?

tweetytwat Wed 20-Nov-13 09:50:16

and there's no rule against spoons if you are blw. yoghurt is pretty tricky finger food. And I am a die hard blwer

PrincessChick Wed 20-Nov-13 09:58:09

Thank you all. DD does have a spoon... I'm going to give it to her pre-loaded with yoghurt (when we get home) to see how we get on. Maybe I'm being too dogmatic about "the spoon", more so than I thought, after reading the gill rapley book. I just didn't see the point at this stage when she isn't even supposed to be eating yet!

No, we don't live with my parents, just staying here for a few days. No, he didn't wean us (he didn't even live at home when I was a baby) and yes, as a toddler I choked on an apricot stone... Perhaps there's something there...

I have been thinking about a child's first aid course. I'm going to look into that this morning.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 20-Nov-13 10:03:12

Yes you can chop and change between the two. We weren't big on BLW for spaghetti bolognese, for example. We tended to spoonfeed DD that for the sake of the walls.

But an advantage of BLW generally is that I never worried whether DD could take the chunks of meat and veg in bolognese or anything else. In fact before she had teeth we used to give her pieces of steak to suck/chew on. She never actuially ate the steak but she sucked all the goodness out and liked the flavour.

I think some parents do have initial resistance from their babies when they move from totally pureed food to small chunks. That is where they get gagging. Gagging (rather than choking) is something all babies do as they learn how to cope with diffferent foods. Scary at the time though.

Ubik1 Wed 20-Nov-13 10:13:14

Really - children weaned with purees on spoons do eat normal food, they do not turn into frogs.

Put a spoon in baby's hand and you use one too and when baby opens her mouth just put a spoonful in. If she shakes her head don't force her.

In the old days you used to have some cut up fruit/veg/cheese/egg/strips of meat on the plate too and baby would chew and suck on these things while opening mouth for a spoonful of food.

Spoons are nothing to be afraid of - most parents just mix and match and see what what works. There are no dire consequences to this.

sleepyhead Wed 20-Nov-13 10:32:52

I'm really not getting that the op is afraid of spoons, just that her dd is getting some food to play with (and eat if she wants/can) at the table so she can join in with mealtimes rather than needing to eat a decent portion of solid food for nutrition/to fill her up.

If that's the case then there's no need to pre-load spoons or use spoons for the sake of it, much easier to just give her a chunk of something and let her get on with it while you enjoy your meal too.

Neither of my dss' were blw'd per se as I spoon fed both as well, but we did use finger food from around 6 months as a great way to get them used to textures and tastes, and to give them something to keep them occupied up at the table with everyone else. It worked really well for us.

My mum was very hmm about the concept with ds1, but by the time ds2 came along she was really pro waiting until around 6 months to wean so that we could skip the puree stage and go straight on to mashed and finger food.

BlinkQuenelle Wed 20-Nov-13 10:48:31

What your dad is saying doesn't make any sense. If you want to try to change his mind just show him any literature on traditional weaning and it will say to also give your baby finger foods when they're able to sit up unaided. How will that be different?

If I were you I wouldn't bother though. It's none of his business. I would just ignore his comments as best you can until the end of your visit.

And find another way to thank them instead of taking them out for dinner, you're just setting yourself up for a showdown. Take them to a panto or something instead.

Ubik1 Wed 20-Nov-13 10:56:39

My mother in law used to watch DD1 and say "She really experiences her food, doesn't she,' in a less than enthusiastic manner grin

Weaning's a funny thing, it seems to bring out alot of anxiety and judgement in a way that I did not expect.

UriGeller Wed 20-Nov-13 10:57:25

Mashed potato is a weird one, safe because there are no lumps (unless I made it grin ) but still quite inhalable.

Gagging can be scary and look like choking but a child gagging is moving the food round in its mouth and learning not to choke . I think your dad maybe got spooked by seeing your dd gagging and went a bit defensive.

You sound like you have your head screwed on, just carry on doing things your way and ride it out.

Chunderella Fri 22-Nov-13 21:23:13

He's right about Gill Rapley, to be fair. I second the advice to show him the NHS guidelines, as they state blw is a perfectly acceptable weaning method.

weeblueberry Mon 25-Nov-13 11:23:07

I think this is quite common for people of our parents generation. My mum recently admitted she'd been worrying herself mad about a photo we showed her of DD sucking on a piece (a large piece) of dried apple. She had read something about not giving babies apple til they were much older in case they broke a bit off and choked on it. Ident think mum had even heard of blw til I told her we were trying it alongside the purée smile

u32ng Thu 12-Dec-13 10:38:12

It this is something you feel strongly about doing then stick to your guns.

Me and DH had a lot of arguments & a big falling out with his mum because she was totally against the idea and basically said we were putting DS's life at risk and she was so worried about it. I hated having her present at mealtimes as there was an atmosphere or thinly veiled criticisms. It was an upsetting time, and like you I felt shit for a while & had a wobble about continuing with BLW. But deep down I knew that I wanted to do this because DS enjoyed it & I was taking all the precautions (sitting upright; cutting up foods appropriately e.g. Halving/quartering grapes; no hard raw veg; never leaving him alone; and I've even done a paediatric first aid course etc). MIL still disapproves I think but keeps her opinions to herself now thankfully!

At the start (6m) DS could barely pick up a piece of banana but now at 10m his development means he is so much more able and its amazing to watch. As you're right at the start, you could stick to the softer end of the finger food scale until you & DD are used to it & then go from there. You're dad will likely come around to it over time. And yes don't be afraid of the spoon - I feed DS his weetabix/porridge and yoghurt with a spoon.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now