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Baby led weaning, still on the boob.

(35 Posts)
Barbamamama Thu 20-Feb-14 11:50:34

LO has just turned 10 months and I had him weighed yesterday as last week he bit his tongue quite badly (and had a fever and 3 new teeth! Fun fun fun!) so has been off his food. As expected his weight has dropped a bit, but he is just under 50th centile and perfectly healthy.
The HV I spoke to said I should only really be BF four times in 24 hours at this stage and should aim not to BF during the day by the time he's a year old.
LO still BFs every couple of hours and I have been doing BLW since he was 5 1/2 months old with varying success. Some weeks he loves solids and eats everything I give him but he hardly eats anything at the moment and I don't really want to cut down his breast milk if he's not ready. I was hoping he would've taken to solids more by now but am not in any rush really.
If I cut down on BF will he eat more solids?
Would be good to hear from others that have done BLW and how long it took.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 20-Feb-14 12:50:14

You HV is talking utter bollocks. If your DS has been off his food, what could build him up more than BM?

It's also none of her business how many times you bf your Lo. Yes, ff babies should be off the bootle by 12 months but the who guidelines say to bf to a minimum of 2 years and she should be supporting you to bf for as long as you both like. That's as long as you and your baby like. Her thoughts shouldn't come into it.

Also, eating loads one week and hardly anything the next is just what babies do. Its normal and not a cause for concern, especially if he's under the weather.

As for his weight. She should only be concerned if he's dropped 2 centiles and then she should be suggesting you see a BFC first, not cutting down on bfing.

Stick with your instincts, which are obviously bang on. Is there a bfing support group near to you? Sounds like talking to someone who knows what they are on about might be good.

Once he's 12 months you can start offering solids before bfing, but that's the only thing she should be suggesting.

NorthEasterlyGale Thu 20-Feb-14 12:57:36

I went with the 'food is fun until they're one' approach to weaning with my DS1. Started solids around 5.5 months and offered something little at breakfast, lunch and dinner for him to play with eat and just let him BF whenever he wanted, day or night (which varied a lot as I went back to work three days a week when he was about 7 months old and he wouldn't take bottles so on those days he just nibbled solids, got water from a doidy cup and then BF at night as often as needed).

He did just fine. Self-weaned off BF at around 16 months, and now (at 20 months) eats well. For 'eating well' this means some days (like today) he will eat everything in sight. Some days he'll barely eat a thing and just chuck his food around (won't be sorry when he grows out of that grin). I plan to do the same with DS2, who'll be arriving on Monday! Relax, go with your instincts, it'll be fine.

Eletheomel Thu 20-Feb-14 13:27:24

4 times a day - what nonsense, the whole point of bfeeding and blw is to allow your child to choose when to up their solids and drop their milk feeds. I went back to work when DS1 was 12.5 months and he was still taking 4 feeds during the day and 3 at night! Breastfeeding is more than just calories, it's comfort and security as well.

I did BLW with DS1 and he was probably about 11 months before I could honestly say he was 'eating' meals, prior to that he just nibbled, sucked, tasted and threw things about :-) DS2 is almost 9 months and I'm also doing BLW with him, he probably started 'eating' meals at about 7.5 months - much much earlier and he'll happily sit in his highchair for an hour (or more) constantly grazing... Mind you, he's still on about 5 feeds during the day and as many as he can get away with during the night....

They're all different and they all do it at their own pace, as long as your boy is healthy and you're not worried about his health, keep on as you are :-)

Barbamamama Thu 20-Feb-14 15:00:05

Thanks everyone! I will def keep going with it! Needed some words of encouragement after seeing the HV and being told to cut down.

One more thing. How many times a day do you sit at the table and eat with your child, and how long for? We always have dinner at home at the table and take our time over it, but he eats at 5:30 so me and DH just snack while he eats and have our dinner later.

breakfast I will sit with him at the table but he never eats much, I've never been a breakfast person but I'm trying to set a good example!

And lunch time we are usually out and about so will just eat wherever we are.

Maybe I should spend more time focussing on meal times? We would literally spend all day on meal times then though!

LunchLadyWannabe Thu 20-Feb-14 15:16:05

Sorry but i agree with your hv

Shes not telling you to stop breast feeding, shes advising you to try and encourage a solid diet rather than a liquid diet.

I think its fine to breastfeed every few hours up until 12 months, but after that i think encouraging him to feed so frequently is the reason hes not eating much. Hes getting his calories from somewhere else and thats whys hes not eating is because hes full.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 20-Feb-14 15:16:39

Really don't fixate about it. Just try to keep mealtimes light and fun. If he feels that you are anxious he will quickly pick up on it.

We do eat with our DC in the evening and DH has his warmed up if he's not home, but I don't wait, he's been known to get in from work at 2.30 and that's just a tad too late for me smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 20-Feb-14 15:17:40

Lunch have you got any links to back that up? Would be very interested smile

LunchLadyWannabe Thu 20-Feb-14 15:19:28

Its my opinion and what i was told by my hv.

Im sure they must get their resources from somewhere.

LunchLadyWannabe Thu 20-Feb-14 15:25:19

Milk is a food supplement.

If you drink milk throughout the day instead of water, tea, juice etc then you wont feel like eating as milk of any sort does fill you up.

When i used to work in a nursing home, one resident in particular used to constantly want to drink milk at meal times, then wouldnt eat their meal, saying they were full.

The lady was very frail, and it wasnt until a new nurse started at the care home, that she pointed out why the lady wouldnt eat.

She ate really well when we did lots of encouragement to eat meals rather than milk.

Weegiemum Thu 20-Feb-14 15:30:45

My HV got her information out of thin air.

Breast milk can and should be the main food until age 1. Carry on what you're doing, make mealtimes sociable but don't obsess about it, give him lots of nice varied food to try and relax. You're doing brilliantly! 3 teeth in a week??!! Poor wee guy!

ZuleikaD Thu 20-Feb-14 15:30:58

Well, it's certainly true that by 10 months they are able to obtain most of their calories from solid food. That doesn't mean that they must, but it's also true that "just for fun until they're 1" is nicely-rhyming nonsense. Unfortunately after six months breastmilk is no longer nutritionally sufficient - there isn't enough iron in it for a start - so they need to gradually switch to taking most of their nutrients from a varied solid diet. There's a considerable overlap, of course - between six months and nine months the shift from milk to solids is very gradual - but by age 1 they should definitely be getting nearly all their calories from solids so they're getting all the nutrition they need. You are of course welcome to breastfeed for as long as you and your baby both want to, but it's not sensible to do so to such a degree that the baby doesn't want solids.

You asked whether if you were feeding less would your baby eat more - the answer is almost certainly yes. I too would agree with your HV that four feeds in 24 is about right at this age, going down to two next month. 'Don't offer, don't refuse' is a sensible strategy, but I would definitely not feed him for two hours before a solid meal so that he's actually hungry.

LunchLadyWannabe Thu 20-Feb-14 15:36:38


Very well put

100% agree

Barbamamama Thu 20-Feb-14 18:38:18

Thanks everyone. "Don't offer, don't refuse" sounds like a good theory to me, I've been on autopilot with BFing and do it without even thinking about it! I think if I just start taking more notice as to times etc. then things will fall into place :-)

Hawkmoth Thu 20-Feb-14 18:42:43

Im sure they must get their resources from somewhere.


And OP, don't ever mention it to your GP, they can often be even more out of date. I've been told to drop all night feeds for my DD who's not yet eight months. As if. I would bloody love it if she did seven-seven but I'm not going to starve her in the meantime.

jamtoast12 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:04:05

zulieka agree totally. It's obvious really, if a child is drinking milk a lot, it's not going to be hungry for food. I wouldn't eat much if I'd filled up on milk. I also agree with HV.

I've not heard much of this blw so apologies for ignorance but after having two kids who are now way past this stage (6&8), isn't it likely to encourage picky and grazing food habits? Genuine question not critisising! but mine were weaned at 6 months to eat 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks and 9 years later, eat just that. Maybe its a consequence of blw but I don't remember knowing kids when mine were young who ate loads some days and not much at all on others (unless they're sick of course etc)?

Eletheomel Thu 20-Feb-14 19:55:54

I think some posters are missing the point of blw - it stands for baby led weaning, which means you trust your child to know what it needs and don't force spooned food into them because you think it's the best for them.

Re: iron stores. Yes, from six months the iron stores babies are born with start to deplete - they don't vanish over night, your baby doesn;t wake up on 6 months 1 day with no iron stores - that's nonsense. By the time your child is one year old, most of their diet should be solids with milk supplements, but your baby is still only 10 months and (based on my experience of DS1) there can be a massive change in their eating habits in the months between 10 and 12.

Jamtoast - I don't understand why you think allowing a baby to put their own food into their mouths would lead to fussiness? I know plenty of spoonfed babies who eat nothing unless its covered with ketchup (and even then only eat white foods), the idea that shoving mush into their mouts three times a day will guarantee them a good future diet is nonsesne, its far more to do with the diet and eating practices of the household far more than it is to do with blw or spoon feeding.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 20-Feb-14 19:58:53

There's a good article here OP. This article is interesting too.

waterrat Thu 20-Feb-14 20:01:08

I dislike the idea that blw has to be done to the exclusion of helping a child get food in their mouth

I did a mixture - I let ds play with and grab all food he could - and I also spoon fed him - I have no idea why people criticise spoon feeding, I simply offered to help him get more food in his mouth I never forced it in ! I allowed him to make a mess and was relaxed about how it all went in

But fundamentally I wanted him to move to solids - I was exhausted by night feeds and could see how hungry he was

He is now aged 2 an amazing eater - has never refused anything and is good at feeding himself

I found the blw book incredibly bossy and prescriptive - help your baby eat and you will know as you are doing it if they are enjoying it !

ZuleikaD Thu 20-Feb-14 20:07:23

I agree with waterrat - we did BLW with both boys and it was clear that by about 8-9m they were frustrated by their lack of success with getting decent amounts of food to their mouths. In particular, of course, they couldn't pick up the sort of stuff that if you're using a spoon you can help them with. Ever seen a 9mo baby try to feed itself couscous? Soup? Or even slippery pasta? We too adopted a mixed approach and it's worked well. DS2 is much happier now that he's eating a decent amount with our help.

mrsbug Thu 20-Feb-14 20:19:10

Dd is 14 months and still has an afternoon bf on the days she doesn't go to nursery. I think it's fine.

Ime hvs are more used to people formula feeding and their advice doesn't always apply to bf babies.

We did blw with dd and she was one of those babies who take to solid food straight away,and now she will eat anything. I believe that babies probably have different nutritional needs; some need solid food from six months or so and some of them need lots of milk till they are a bit older.

Eletheomel Thu 20-Feb-14 20:20:41

My 8 month old has no problems shoving handfuls of cous cous, rice or twirly pasta into his mouth. He's also been a dap hand with a spoon since 6 months, so feeds pre-loaded spoons of yoghurt, thick soup and readybrek no problem. DS2 has better hand/mouth coordination than DS1 (who took a few weeks of putting the spoon against his cheek before finding his mouth) but both managed it, although I totally accept that some babies will be better at this earlier than others (given that they all do different things at different rates).

In light of that, I'm not against parent-child spoonfeeding, I just don't see it as the only way of guaranteeing a non-fussy child as suggested above (all of the fussy kids I know were spoon fed) or the only way of ensuring your child gets enough food in their tummies.

BLW is a perfectly valid way of weaning a baby even if its not for every baby or every parent.

glorious Thu 20-Feb-14 21:48:39

I think some of this focus on how many feeds is a bit odd because you can't in any case tell how much milk they're actually taking. So my baby could take the same amount in 5 feeds as another does in 3. It's pretty hard to say therefore how this may affect their intake of solids.

I'm a breastfeeding on demand blw kind of parent anyway but even if I wasn't I still don't think I'd get this obsession many HVs seem to have with numbers of feeds!

Barbamamama Fri 21-Feb-14 07:17:34

@glorious very good point! I'd forgotten that!
I have "don't offer, don't refuse" going round my head so will see how many feeds we do with that theory today...

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 21-Feb-14 09:55:07

Agree with glorious. I'd forgotten that too. It doesn't matter if you feed twice a day or every hour, they generally take the same amount over 24 hours.

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