So we had just turned six months……..YAAAAAAASSS! Exclusive breastfeeding was not easy. We made it. HELOO WEANING!!!!!! I was over the moon and so eager to introduce foods to my baby. Think of the funny emoji faces the baby make after tasting the food…the frowns…the smile…the yucky…the happy …the excited little face. SO thrilling!!!!! My organized self was well equipped with mushers, juicers, blenders, colorful plates and heat sensitive spoons to make the meal time easier and fun. Did I forget two more dozen of bibs!!!! Ooooohhhh!!! And a comfortable and colorful baby eating chair and table. Of course by this time she was stable while sitting.
I am a good student. I follow instruction. From my instincts, nutritionist and of course dr. google. So I would introduce one food at a time following the three days rule. Starting with porridge, pumpkins, irish potatoes, butternut, avocado, sweet potato, bananas etc…I would add a leaf or two of spinach or amaranth (terere) in her food. I prepared a weekly meal plan to avoid boredom. I introduce processed food cereals from the supermarket. Of course I was afraid of my baby chocking. So I would mostly puree food, blend, mash and also ensured that its of right consistency to avoid chocking.
With time I notice my baby’s reluctance to swallow food. She would take the first three spoons and swallow immediately. I think to motivate me that she is doing a good job of eating. The forth spoon she would keep it the mouth for God knows how many minutes. Waaaa! PATIENCE ON TRIAL! I tried to be creative; dancing, singing, make funny faces to try and see if she is going to swallow. Sometimes it took the village to make swallow the food. We would team up with the dad or nanny to feed her…one would play the role of the feeder while the other was the entertainer. The worst case scenario was when she would decide to start “driving” her car and wash you will all the food from her mouth. Sometimes she would turn her head when you bring the spoon close or even cry when you force the spoon into her mouth. It was very draining! Disappointing! Stressing! And you know, as a mom you can never give up on your baby. I started worrying about weight gain. This is the moment you start thinking of plan B. My former strategies didn’t seem to work. This is when I discovered baby-led weaning (BLW)
Baby-led weaning (BLW) means forgetting purees and weaning spoons, and simply letting your baby feed herself. Like traditional weaning, it’s suitable from six months. If you thought your baby is still too young to feed herself. Then you are wrong. By this age, they are at oral stage. This is the stage where you see her picking up anything including toys, your hands when holding her into her mouth. This is a clear indication that she can pick food and eat as well!
I started with pineaples. Instead of blending as I used to, I sliced a long thin piece and put in a colourful plate in her feeding table. As usual, her picky picky behavior led her to pick a slice of pineapple and took into her mouth. There I was holding my breath for her not to get chocked. She squeezed the juice using her toothless jaws, swallowed with relish and spit the remaining piece. On to the next slice!!!!! She munched the piece and in no time, she was done with her portion. Of course she does not squeeze 100% juice but well, 90% drier. All along I thought she was too young. But she has been observing and learning from us on how we feed. BLW is very efficient especially when you are all having meals together. Babies feel like they are part of the rest of the family.
Am still experimenting more recipes that are suitable for this kind of weaning and I will share soon. I mostly do this for chicken and fish, banana, avocado…simply because am able to prepare balls or finger like slices out of them that are easier for the baby to pick. But one advantage of this method is that you support your baby’s development of eye-hand coordination, chewing skills, dexterity, and healthy eating habits. It also offers babies an opportunity to explore the taste, texture, aroma, and color of a variety of foods. It’s more fun too.
Are you willing to go this route? Try it out. You don’t have to do it all the time. You can do mashies/puree for most times. Here are some few precautions:
- Make sure that the baby is sitting upright to eat
- Make soft foods…of course they don’t have teeth to do hard chewing
- Never leave your baby alone when eating food.
- Hygiene is Key. Ensure that the surfaces are clean and her little hands.
Have you tried BABY-LED WEANING? What was your experience? What are some of the recipes? Share in the comment section below. Don’t forget to like our facebook page. See you soon!
Finally, has your baby experienced constipation? Here is how to go about it naturally at home! Must read http://wowmom.co.ke/10-homemade-remedies-for-constipation/