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The case against BLW?

(22 Posts)
cocoachannel Wed 24-Aug-11 12:42:18

Hi everyone,

I have begun to wean DD (6mo) on purees/rice. However, as she has teeth already she seems to want to bite everything inclduing the salad and douigh sticks she grabbed from my plate in Pizza Express yesterday! This episode got me thinking that maybe a BLW approach would suit her better?

I have read a lot about why BLW is a good idea (including most of Gill Rapley's book last night), but am also curious to know about the case against it, other than the mess(!), so that I can make an informed decision.

Any insights would be much appreciated.

nocake Wed 24-Aug-11 12:45:04

It doesn't have to be a choice between purees or BLW. You can keep feeding her purees and also give her some finger food.

TheRealMBJ Wed 24-Aug-11 12:46:40

There is none. Even 'traditional weaning' recommends the introduction of finger foods at six months.

Some mothers, however, struggle to cope with the uncertainty I'd BLW and feel more secure when spoon feeding their DC.

NoTeaForMe Wed 24-Aug-11 13:09:01

BLW doesn't allow spoon feeding at all, everything should be on baby's terms and all food pick-up-able.

There's no need to pick between the 2, you can do spoon feeding with lots of finger foods too.

Once we were into the swing of it we would spoon feed our daughter and give her some finger food every meal. That way we know what she's eating, there's less mess (though she still makes mess of course!!) and she gets to feed herself which she loves!

cocoachannel Wed 24-Aug-11 13:13:19

Thanks everyone- will give the mixed approach a go and see what happens!

MamaChocoholic Wed 24-Aug-11 13:14:53

blw doesn't have to be only finger food, you can dip a spoon in yoghurt/puree and hand it to them. beyond the mess, the only other negative I can think of is that my blw dcs were probably slower to eat as much in volume as their puree-fed peers, but we are never going to have to get them used to lumps etc as they already accept food of all textures.

CappuccinoCarrie Wed 24-Aug-11 13:15:13

The case against BLW for us was that DS put nothing in his mouth, nada, he never went through the picking-up-every-toy-and-gumming-on-it phase, so left to BLW he'd have been seriously hungry, but he guzzled huge amounts of food from a spoon and gradually moved onto giving himself 'proper' food with cutlery.
With DD we did spoon feeding to actually fill her up, but allowed her plenty of opportunity to eat finger food too, we just didn't rely on that as her main source of food intake as her hunger for food was far beyond her ability to put food into her mouth. Both children are now pre-schoolers and excellent eaters of a varied and healthy diet, so don't beat yourself up too much about how the food crosses their lips at this early stage.

TheRealMBJ Wed 24-Aug-11 13:35:57

BLW does not exclude using a spoon but it doesn't 'allow' (for want of a better word) you to spoon the food into the child's mouth. The spoon is used as an implement to aid runny, soft, pasty food by the child

sheeplikessleep Wed 24-Aug-11 13:39:56

It takes a nerve of steel to get used to the gagging (which everyone always commented on was choking - er no).
BUT, best and easiest thing we ever did. However, at 17 months, I am struggling to get him to eat with a spoon, we're slowly getting there, but he prefers to make a mess use his fingers.

gastrognome Wed 24-Aug-11 14:15:40

I did BLW at home with DD1 (though at the creche she was fed pureed stuff), and am just starting with DD2 (6 months).

I'd say the downsides are: the mess (as you have mentioned), the gagging/choking fear (though with DD2 I feel much more relaxed about this as I know that gagging is a natural part of weaning), and occasionally finding them with a chunk of food still in their mouth an hour after finishing their meal! Also the fact that they do only take in tiny amounts of food for quite a while.

Positives: no pureeing or freezing or ice cube trays, enjoying sharing meals with them from the youngest age, watching them get stuck into things, knowing that you can always find something for them to eat wherever you are, the sociable side of all eating together, the fact that they do tend to (or are supposed to) manage food better than solely puree-fed babies.

As an aside, I think it's important to make the distinction between simply giving finger foods and true baby led weaning - where it is the baby (as opposed to the parent) that decides what, and how much, goes into its mouth. I think most people give finger foods alongside purées but not everybody adopts the "sit back and watch" approach that BLW entails.

Not saying that one method is better than the other, by the way, just that the terminology is sometimes used a bit misleadingly.

Ozziegirly Thu 25-Aug-11 00:59:42

Baby Led Weaning is just another term used to sell a book. You don't have to follow "rules" set down by a self appointed expert. If there were no books we would probably all do the same - some mashed up "easy" food to start with, followed by easy to pick up and eat food as dexterity improves, plus maybe a little helping hand here and there.

But that approach wouldn't sell a book.

SpeedyGonzalez Thu 25-Aug-11 01:04:16

DD was BLW and it was brilliant for developing manual dexterity. At 14 mos she could use a teaspoon to feed herself peas without dropping any.

<<proud mama>>


VeronicaCake Fri 26-Aug-11 23:41:27

It is a mistake to set them up as alternative camps. There is no case against baby-led where that means following your babies cues, allowing them to explore solid foods when they are ready and respecting their appetites. I mean how can that be wrong? But there are probably plenty of people doing all that with veg purees and some people sitting there nagging their babies to pick up finger foods, and even wedging them into their mouths to get them to 'have a little taste'.

Don't stuff food into the mouths of unwilling babies. We did spoonless 'sit back and watch' weaning because DD likes everything on her terms. That was babyled for us. It sounds like CappucinoCarrie was just as baby-led and respected her child's preference for spoonfeeding. Both are just as good if the goal is children who feel comfortable eating a nutritious varied solid diet.

DuelingFanjo Fri 26-Aug-11 23:47:19

I found the gagging hard but it didn't last long. I also find it hard not to worry about DS is getting enough food, particularly when I see other mums in my ante-natal group giving their babies whole jars of food. We do use a spoon but I load it up and then DS takes it from me, he is much happier feeding himself and refuses to be spoon fed.

The mess can get me down but I generally feed him in the kitchen and then whip all his clothes off and sponge him down and I find he eats more if I am not staring at him so I tend to do something else like washing up so I can keep an eye on him but leave him to explore on his own.

My one tip would be - give your baby big pieces of food, the book says cut things up into sticks but I find my DS is much happier with larger chunks and sometimes whole fruits.

islandbaby Sat 27-Aug-11 03:13:21

Definately my DS eats more if I leave him to it and don't sit watching. I can pile all sorts on his tray and sit there while he bangs his hands around, laughs at everything in the room and doesn't pick a single thing up for 10 minutes, then I leave the room for a few minutes and come back and he's got stuck right in!

Paschaelina Sat 27-Aug-11 03:47:33

Oh yes the Boy can ignore his dinner for ages if you watch him, the moment you turn your back to get on with cleaning up he will stealth feed and the food disappears.

One downside I have found is he will spin a meal out forever at a rate of one mouthful every 15 mins sometimes. There is no hurrying without taking charge occasionally and scooping up spoonfuls.

timetosleepnow Sat 27-Aug-11 23:31:55

With both my DS BLW would never have worked. They scream if I don't shove (pureed or mashed) food into their mouth quick enough. Sometimes I am absolutely baffled how DS2 could be so hungry seeing as he just had more than half a bottle of milk. I offer finger foods at every meal now but I'm not very popular with DS2 doing that, unless it's a rusk or bread stick that he can dissolve and chomp down as quickly as possible. So despite wanting to do a lot more finger foods with DS2 for convenience, it's not worked out.

redandyellowandpinkandgreen Sun 28-Aug-11 12:25:07

DS gagged on everything and would then puke up everything he'd managed to get in. I decided it was a daft idea and did purees. At 9 months now he happily eats finger foods or normal mashed meals.

AngelDog Sun 28-Aug-11 23:08:28

Agree with lots of the above - the NHS says you should introduce finger foods at 6 months no matter whether you're doing purees or not.

I think lots depends on the child - we did BLW and DS never got cross because food was too slow going in (he ate loads from day 1), never had any serious gagging problems (and it didn't bother me that much anyway), I never really worried about whether he was getting enough (IMO half the point of BLW is that they eat what they need). Other people have a different experience though. You just have to do what suits your particular family.

The mess is the big disadvantage, but you'd get that with traditional weaning as you're offering finger foods alongside mush. There are just more opportunities for food throwing with BLW.

I agree that being 'baby led' is more important than whether you use purees or give finger foods.

banana87 Sun 28-Aug-11 23:14:04

As others have said as well, a mixed approach worked best for us. I couldn't deal with the gagging and choking with a baby I looked after who BLW.

MrsGubbins Mon 29-Aug-11 17:14:23

the case against? you end up giving the best bits of your meal to the baby! (DD fed off my plate)

earshot Wed 31-Aug-11 19:09:28

Big grin mrsgubbins!!! DD ate all my delicious lunch yesterday

The only downside is that for me each meal takes soooo long. Gagging doesn't bother me and I get just as much mess with puree. I have to sit with DD for an hour while she slowly picks her way through her food whilst trying to entertain a toddler who wolfed his dinner down in 5 mins flat (gah, why did she become a spoon refuser?!)

Also would die for an eat in kitchen or open plan living so you can actually do the washing up at the same time and not sit there like a lemon (not that I'd not watch her like a hawk at all times or get down from the table and distract her grin)

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