Doctor moms guide to baby led weaning (When and How to start)

Doctor moms guide to baby led weaning (When and How to start)

Have you seen your nephew/niece detest their greens? 

Do u remember how much your sibling hates trying new food even today?

Do you hate making pastes and purees?

Well then baby led weaning (blw) is for you and every mom who wants their children to be inculcating good food habits, ditch the fussy eaters and start the blw method now.

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What is baby led weaning?  

It’s just a fancy term for making your baby incharge of his own meals. Go by his cues. Besides saving the parents a lot of time, it lays the foundation for a positive approach towards food. Weeds out the distractions that mammas tend to use like tv, toys.

And babies become interested in their food for the very beginning. Here i have jotted down my own journey of blw with my kids, Challenges i faced, and the tips n tricks that worked for me.

How to get started with baby led weaning?

Blw is all about letting your baby take charge of his own meals. Introduce food cut lengthwise into fingers, easy for the baby to hold. Serve at least three different types of textures to begin with. For eg. mashed potatoes, steamed carrot sticks, steamed broccoli/cheese/fruit slices. Like any new food either puree or whole foods, babies take time to accept. If your baby doesn’t show interest in a particular item then try for 3 or 4 times and then cut it off the list. Usually babies may take upto a week to accept a new food. Be prepared for a lot of mess. There is going to be a lot of throwing, spillage, but then that’s how they learn to love their food. 

Combinations are important, try to include one item from each food group for a meal- like carbs, fats, protein. And keep the fruits for snack time.

Over a period of time (a month) your baby would have learnt to self feed, encourage the use of spoon by keeping one accessible on the table.

Sit together for meals with your baby so they learn by seeing your.

It reduces a very big headache of us mommas and helps weed out fussy eaters right from their start. Children weaned like this are found to be more open to trying new foods.

 What will you need ?

  • Bibs- these crumb catchers are a must have for those little learners, who spill more and eat less. they are easy to clean, just wash under water and wipe to dry.
Silicone bibs/crumb catcher
  • Aprons for toddlers- for those grown ups called toddlers, who run all around the place. it saves us a ton of laundry.
Aprons for toddlers
  • High chair- the most basic requirement for blw is a chair and a table. this one here is the most basic, easy to clean, foldable, no mess chair in affordable price range.
High chair

  • Wooden bowls and plates- BPA free, pthalates free, these wooden plates are super safe and easy to clean.
BPA free wooden plates
  • Mats to prevent spillage- i placed these below the high chair in its fixed spot and after mealtimes clean up was a piece of cake. wipe clean, or vaccum or simply put under running water and wipe it off. saved me lots of precious hrs.
wipe clean mats
  • suction mats- once the kids get mobile and start throwing bowls and plates off the table, these mats are a life saver. Zero spillages.
Suction placemats
  • Sippy- this sippy bu munchkin has been my Toddler’s favourite. Serves as a trainer cup too and no hazards of choking from too much water. The toddler controls the flow of water. Must have for baby led weaning.
360° sippy mug
  • Steamer- this product is useful even after the baby has grown up, unlike the typical baby food steamers which lay waste once the child has grown.

Is it ok to mix spoon feeding and baby led weaning?

One of the biggest cons of blw i found was nutrition. I couldn’t be sure enough that my baby was receiving adequate nutrition so i decided to use a combined approach.

I would start serving food in bowls and spoons and keep finger foods on the table a few spoonfuls of pureed food would be followed by a finger food as and when the baby felt interested.  

Another con of blw is the mess, mess unavoidable, that’s how they learn to eat and form a positive relationship with food. If you are a mother of two (like me) or more, then a combined approach is recommended where you can’t control the mess, as well as ensure full nutrition being given in the time frame you have, because trust me you wouldn’t have much.

What is the difference between gagging and choking?

It is very important to know the difference because it helps us to know when to intervene. 

Gag reflex is a reflex that babies poses which helps them to remove questionable food particles out of their gullet/food pipe on their own. This reflex saves a baby from choking.

It looks like your baby is going to throw up. When your baby does so, our natural reflex is to pat them on their back, please do not do that, you are going to make it difficult for the child to throw up. You might even distract the child enough to abolish the gag reflex and send the food particles down the throat/air pipe.

 What are the signs of choking?

  • Face turning blue
  • suffocating/difficulty in breathing
  • Inability to cry/make any sound
  • Weak or ineffective  coughing
  • Stridor
  • Loss of consciousness

 Foods to avoid?

A general rule that I follow is to not give anything round or oval in shape and that isn’t soft. For eg. a nut isn’t soft and doesn’t melt in the mouth, it needs to be chewed and if the kid swallows it by mistake then because of its shape it’s very difficult to remove and very easy to slip inside the throat and choke on. Below is a list of such foods that  pose a choking hazard and an allergy risk otherwise:

  • Fruits with seeds- cherries, olives
  • Nuts- due to their shape
  • Fishes with bone
  • Honey (never before the age of 1 yr)
  • Salt (to avoid an electrolyte imbalance)
  • Store bought things like cheese crackers, salty biscuits, pasta sauces, adult breakfast cereals, seasoned meat all contain salt and should be avoided .
  • Sugar- your baby will be receiving enough glucose from breast milk and fruits.
  • Store bought flavored yogurt, jams, jellies, cream biscuits, sweets,sauces, fruit juices- all contain something we call hidden sugars so try to avoid these and as far as possible make foods at home.
  • Grapes, cherry tomatoes should be cut lengthwise n served for the fear of choking owing to their round shape.

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