Thursday, August 8, 2013

Baby-Led Weaning: How is That Going Now?

It has been a little over 2 months since we started Turtle down the path of baby-led weaning. The first month and a half was pretty stressful, for me anyway because the hubs took it all in stride. I worry, it is what I do best. And, there was so much gagging. I don't think that sound will ever not be scary. But, after I watched her handle the gagging so well and saw her almost instantly spit out whatever it was she was gagging on I was able to calm down a good bit. Thankfully the gagging happens less now, it still occurs from time to time but definitely less. I am so glad we decided to give BLW a try, and that I didn't throw in the towel after the first week or two.

Pretty much right in the beginning I was thinking this is the worst thing ever. She is always gagging, I am always freaking out. This sucks. But, it gets so much easier after the first little bit. The hand eye coordination and motor skills improve greatly, they get better at moving food around in their mouth and swallowing, and in general figure out how to feed themselves. It is just hard to sit back and let them learn sometimes. I should get use to it though, I'm sure it is a big part of parenting.

The foods that Aria handled the best in the beginning are: banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, nectarine, lightly toasted bread (with jelly or mashed banana), waffle, pancake, cucumber, tomatoes, roasted zucchini, Babybel cheese and various cheese wedges (thinly sliced deli cheese was too hard to handle), steak, pork chops, and roasted sweet potato. Remember with BLW you offer foods in the shape of sticks,  and these are all things easy to make into sticks as well as soft enough to calm mommy nerves. She also handled sardines really well, but she stunk for three days so that one is a personal judgement call - although a very healthy choice.

Some of the foods I thought would work well but really didn't are: chicken, pineapple, mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli, and eggplant. Chicken and pineapple both fall apart easily into choking hazard sized chunks, and while Aria handled them fine they freaked me out too much. Mushrooms are impossible to make into sticks. Green beans, bell peppers, and eggplant all end up in thin strands with one end down the throat and the other end sticking out the mouth, and they are hard to gum into smaller pieces. And, broccoli is the only food that Aria consistently rejects - no matter how I make it.

I wanted to type all that out because I would have liked some guidance on foods to try when starting BLW. There was a lot of trial and error. So, hopefully if you stumbled upon this post looking for some BLW advice you find this helpful.

I made applesauce, soup, smoothies, and a few other things that are spoon foods as well. It was nice to have a gag free meal every once and a while. But, I also never put it in her mouth without her permission and most of the time she would grab the spoon and bring it to her mouth herself. So, while not strictly BLW approved I felt she was still in control enough to let it slide. Plus, she loved every spoon food I made. It also made me realize how boring it would be to spoon feed every meal for however long people tend to spoon feed for.

I also used a mesh feeder for choking hazard fruits. I debated using one for a while, because it isn't needed with BLW. But, I ended up going for it because I wanted to let her try blueberries. I also put pineapple, grapes, raspberries, and blackberries in there. It doesn't get used too often because Turtle can handle pineapple, raspberries, and blackberries on her own now (grapes are still too choke-on-able, and they have really sucked lately too).

I was going to continue on about how things are working presently, but this post is already wordy and I'm tired (read, mainly I just want to go to bed). So I will leave off here for now and break it into two parts - with the second appearing in a day or two.

If you want to check out the previous baby-led weaning posts here they are: Baby-Leg Weaning: An Introduction, and Baby-Led Weaning: Just a Taste.

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