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BLW v gradual introduction of solids?

(19 Posts)
newMNer Mon 05-Oct-09 00:08:42

I'm new to posting on MN and have been reading as many posts as I can in preparation for weaning my baby.

I can't believe how heated some of the topic debates get! Anyway, after reading the posts, I decided to study BLW and whatever I could find on weaning age. I've never heard of BLW until I read this site. Not a single person has mentioned it to me, even at a weaning group. HV's only talk of weaning babies from 6 months, and to wean them slowly so as to assess the impact of each food, i.e. to spot food intolerances.

I searched the NHS website as that was mentioned and I couldn't agree more with it. It seems common sense, and it's just a pity that we didn't know about the under-developed gut pre-2003. The NHS site suggests weaning from about 6 months instead of what was suggested to 2003, which was from 4 months. But, I can't find anywhere mention of going straight to chunky food. The NHS site states gradually introducing solids as was always done, such as mixing with milk, pureeing it, mashing it, etc. So I searched for BLW and discovered it's a weaning method.
I'm seeing this as similar to the different methods for encouraging sleep. So in terms of weaning, I guess you've got two methods based on current guidelines: gradual introduction of solids after 6 months (or thereabouts, it says), or going straight into offering chunkier food at the family table? It's what I got from the sites, but I might be wrong.

The group of HV's I see at weigh-in session said to do the puree/rice thing from 5 to 6 months - depending on individual baby. Factors including baby's weight and if they were late or premature. I haven't heard any contradict the NHS guidelines so far.

My concern from all this reading is some parents are excitedly waiting until their baby is 6 month old, then from the very day, excitedly sitting them in a high chair with the family and putting chunky food in front of them, in some cases watching them gag or even start to choke. Some have done courses in preparation for the choking. Is this really how it's meant to be? I'm happy to be reassured, if loads have tried it and found it to be successful with none of the choking. Has anyone tried it and found it to be a problem or would you really recommend BLW over gradual introduction? Also can you wait until your baby is even older or does it become more difficult as the weeks go by?

What worries me too, is that thousands of babies have been weaned early and still are being weaned early because this basic thing was not known about until about 2003. But yes, my main question is, from 6 months old, which is best, the gradual introduction of solids or BLW? As said I'm totally new to the BLW idea, so I might have got it wrong!

newMNer Mon 05-Oct-09 00:35:54

This NHS page also seems to give sensible advice:
www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/812.aspx?CategoryID=62&SubCategoryID=63 on the 6 month + guideline.

and this one's from the woman who came up with BLW:
www.rapleyweaning.com/ - useful guidelines.

Think I'm answering my own questions. But, I'd still like to know what others actually think/experience.

dan39 Mon 05-Oct-09 09:57:25

I am writing with trepidation as, like you, I have read lots of these weaning threads and things get very very heated!! I have an 8mo and we have done a combination of BLW ad mashed up spoon food. I was really keen on the BLW route and read the book which you should read if you haven't already; also the brilliant blog by Aitch on here - can't do the linking thing but you could search for it - as it describes beautifully how well BLW can work.

To answer your specific questions - gagging isn't rally as scary as you thik it is going to be, my dd does it regularly but I am always with her and it seems so clear to me that it is a learning process fro her and it doesn't bother her, she gets the offending food back up with no problems - so I would suggest not letting that put you off.

Some babies really take to BLW (see Aitches blog again) and if you are comfy with a bit of mess (which you can prepare for) and are patient then its the way to go. It takes so much stress out of sitting staring at your lo with loaded spoon in hand....I give a combination at each meal and she helps herself to what she wants, finger food wise. She also seems to enjoy having lumpy/mashed food which is pretty much same as ours tho with baby stock cubes...I never pureed anything as it seemed faffy to me, so waiting til 6 months to start anything was a bonus (as well as being the recommendation for health reasons)

Anyway I am sure you will get much more advice and info - good luck with it al and I hope you enjoy it!!

newMNer Mon 05-Oct-09 12:48:53

I don't mind the mess at all, so that's OK. I'll read the thread you suggest, as I'm wondering if you still gradually give food to assess whether baby reacts badly or not? My baby will be able to start weaning in 2 weeks time, not that I think I need to switch the second she's 6 months.
Also is it easier to get children to use a knife and fork after starting off by using their fingers to eat?

MrsBadger Mon 05-Oct-09 12:56:04

BLW is the gradual introducion of solids, just in another way, iyswim.
Rather than us spooning in progressively chunkier stuff, BLW starts with chunks and lets the baby themself do the progressing, iyswim.
They gradually work out what to do with them, how to pick chew and swallow them.

Oh and re knife and fork, they all get the hang eventually however they start. Non-BLW babies get finger foods too...

DS was puree-weaned, DD BLW.

IME they are going to gag sooner or later whatever you do, unless you keep them on purees forever. Gagging is an important reflex and is there for a reason, to teach your child how to handle lumps when they start to encounter them. In DS's case this was later on once we started to introduce chunkier food, while in DD's case it was earlier as she started off feeding herself on finger food. Neither of them gagged more than the other.

Actual choking is very unusual, and I haven't heard anything to suggest it's more common in BLW babies. It is a good idea to take a First Aid for Babies and Children course whoever you are, and this will include how to deal with choking. Because sooner or later your child will be eating lumps and whenever that is you're going to feel happier if you are confident you know how to del with an emergency.

I'm not sure either is "better". Personally, having tried both, I prefer BLW. It fits in better with my lifestyle and my general approach. But you sound as though you would be far more comfortable with pureeing, so go ahead and puree.

LeonieBooCreepy Mon 05-Oct-09 13:26:28

Message withdrawn

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Mon 05-Oct-09 13:33:09

I don't see any 'versus' at all tbh.

If you do true BLW then the introduction of solids will be slow. They don't just suddenly feed themselves a roast dinner - they'll have a good old try, and explore the food and whatnot, but not a huge amount will actually go down at first.

The whole one-pureed-carrot-at-a-time business is what has to be done if you are going to wean a baby who is not yet able to self feed - waiting til 6 months kind of negates the need for slop and spoons and all that.

ruddynorah Mon 05-Oct-09 13:41:13

have you looked on youtube for blw videos? they show it quite well in real life, and how gradual it is. ie on day one they just sort of suck and lick the food.

cara2244 Mon 05-Oct-09 20:36:53

There is so much advice out there; best to do what feels right for you and your baby.

We BLWd from almost 6mths and haven't had a single choking incident (he's now 9mths). A couple of gags in the first two weeks and the occasional cough is all we've had.

mrsfossil Tue 06-Oct-09 16:39:02

I started weaning around 5 months with purees because its what i did with ds who is 8. My hv didn't seem to know about blw and just said Oh finger foods come later. dd is now 6 months and seems very interested in what we are putting in our mouths so i have tried giving her bits of brocoili, cucumber, mash etc. She seems to like exploring the food and i was really surprised that she knew to put it to her mouth. Lettuce was v.funny as she just used it as a flag until it fell apart. I'm just a bit worried that not much is being swallowed and she won't gain weight. So i'm going to carry on with small amounts of purees

newMNer Wed 07-Oct-09 12:16:45

Sorry, by versus, I was referring to what I'd read in the BLW posts, where some give their baby lots of different food types quickly, so in one day, a 6 month old might be given several different veg, some meat, maybe yoghurt and so on. With the non-BLW method, traditionally you'd give pureed carrot say for a few days, then you might give another veg, and so on, very gradually adding one food to the baby's diet. That was my other worry - from just milk to all that very quickly. But, maybe you can do the BLW method gradually too.
It is a new way of weaning babies (OK announced in 2007, but that's still new). Some may have weaned their previous babies differently too, based on the older guidelines, so some parents are bound to be cautious and ask questions, especially when no-one has mentioned it at all, other than on here, which I personally happened to come across this week. I started to read it all and just needed to know what others have experienced so I could decide if it was a good method or just a hyped up thing. I went to the website of the woman who came up with the BLW method (can't remember her name already!) and it focuses on selling books! Looked on NHS site for info on it, and didn't find any, so all I've got to go on, is what women say on here and maybe go join some other parenting sites.

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Wed 07-Oct-09 12:44:14

BLW is just a fancy name for waiting until your baby is old enough to feed themselves and then giving them table scraps grin

By 6 months, a baby with no family history of food allergies can have pretty much anything to eat - usual exceptions apply, like no whole nuts/honey etc. There's far less risk of a reaction or of upsetting their tummy by 6 months. They eat so so little when they first start on BLW that it really is a very gradual introduction to solids. They tend to throw spit squeeze explore the food rather than fill upon it at first.

Have you looked here yet?

BertieBotts Wed 07-Oct-09 12:44:43

Yes have a look at Aitch's site www.babyledweaning.com - it's set up as a blog and forum, she did BLW with her DD1 and the entire process is documented on the blog if you want to read through in date order, or there are links on the side.

Personally I didn't bother with the gradual introduction of different foods as I had read that it's generally only a worry if there is a family history of serious allergy. I also read that some foods are more allergenic than others so if you are worried but the idea of introducing every single food one by one is mind-numbing you could just do it with the most allergenic foods.

I don't see that introducing foods one by one is incompatible with BLW Also don't worry about heated threads! The threads on weaning that get heated are generally when people ask for advice on weaning before 6 months and get told not to and don't like it - or sometimes we have arguments about the semantics of doing "BLW and spoon-feeding" since technically doing a mix is not BLW, but it's all an argument about the name. I think we have all universally agreed that baby led weaning is an annoying name since it suggests that spoon-feeding is force-feeding, or something.

newMNer Wed 07-Oct-09 13:03:10

Cool thanks everyone. So in a couple of weeks time (or thereabouts after) I'll try this BLW technique. Sorry to ask too much (like a pain in the you know what!). It does seem to make sense.
Right, I guess I need to save for a suitable high-chair ad buy some plastic sheets for the floor! You're right, it is gradually introduced by the fact that the baby doesn't shove it all in and eat the lot from the start, so I'm reading.
Thanks. I'll read that blog.

Habbibu Wed 07-Oct-09 13:24:47

You don't need to save for the highchair! The IKEA Antilop is about £15 including the tray, and is bloody marvellous...

cara2244 Wed 07-Oct-09 22:09:23

I can vouch for the Antilop. Ugly but it works.

newMNer Thu 08-Oct-09 06:50:19

Oh, will take a look, thanks. I wonder if I can order it. Ikea's 100's of miles from me.

Habbibu Thu 08-Oct-09 19:52:37

there are a few on ebay - ironically, prob more expensive than buying direct from IKEA, once you factor in postage, but IKEA's own delivery charges are, iirc, insane.

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