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Phoebe Talks Weaning

Episode 2

Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) and Purees

Episode 2 of 'Phoebe talks weaning' podcast talks about soft and hard foods and our fears of choking babies.

It's time for your baby's first solid food! You decided on the first veggie, but will it be finger food or puree? This episode will look at the two main routes of complementary feeding. We will discuss the traditional route of spoon feeding your baby pureed food and the transition from runny puree to finger food. And baby led weaning (BLW) where you let your baby take the lead and offer food in a safe shape so your little one can self feed. I'll also share my mantra on gagging and choking with you.

Transcript

In our last session you learned about the readiness signs for weaning. Today we’re looking at the two different routes of weaning.

Starting solid food is a major milestone in a baby's first year of life, and if this is your first child, you might be loving or dreading the day your little one joins the table.

To mash or not to mash your baby’s first foods?

There are two ways to start your weaning journey once your baby is six months of age, Traditional Weaning and Baby Led Weaning (BLW). You’ll find fanatics in both camps, but in my opinion there’s no right or wrong, first and foremost, you have to feel comfortable with the approach you chose. If you are in a constant panic that your baby might choke, then BLW might not be for you. On the other hand, if you are feeling confident, or even weaning your second baby, then I’d recommend trying the baby led way. It saves you the pureeing and spoon feeding and if you’ve got two little people at the table, it’s easier to divide the attention between them more equally. Though, remember to always keep a very close eye on your youngest.

I’ve put a few points together to broadly sum up the two routes:

Traditional Weaning, spoon feeding your baby puree

  • Food is pureed and spoon-fed. Start with vegetables, followed by fruit.
  • Move from runny puree to lumpy texture within 4-6 weeks.
  • By 10 months you should arrive at a thick puree with lumps the size of a pea.
  • At 8-10 months start offering soft finger food alongside purees, like mango, banana, steamed apple, ripe pear or avocado.
  • By 12 months most babies are able to handle bite sized pieces.
  • You can add baby’s usual milk (expressed breast milk or formula) to your purees, to help them accept new tastes.
  • You’ll know how much the baby has eaten.
  • It is less messy.
  • It’s always easy to find food on the go, even the smallest supermarket or cornershop usually stacks a jar of baby puree.

Baby Led Weaning (BLW), let them take the lead and feed themselves

  • Offer food in a safe size, your index finger is a good guide.
  • Start with steamed or boiled vegetables, followed by fruit, it should be soft but not too mushy.
  • Small fruit and veg like grapes and baby tomatoes must always be cut in halves or quarters, while blueberries and other soft berries can be squashed between your fingers to avoid baby choking on them.
  • BLW means exactly what’s in the name, you let the baby decide what and how much to eat.
  • It is difficult to measure how much the baby has eaten, though the nappy content will tell you later ;)
  • It is very messy but a lot of fun, in my opinion it’s totally worth it! A lot of food will land on your floor, some parents put a shower curtain under the highchair to make cleaning up easier.
  • When eating out, it can be challenging to find salt free and sugar free options, I usually carry prepared finger food with me.
  • It is believed that BLW contributes to muscle development in the mouth and is beneficial for speech development.

Please remember the following

  • Whether you start with purees or finger food, it is advised to wait until the baby is six month of age before introducing solids, they get all they need from breastmilk or formula before then.
  • All babies develop differently don’t worry if your baby is still on runny purees while your friend’s is chewing a steak at 7 months.
  • BLW isn’t for everyone, although there is a big hype around it, don’t feel like you are letting your baby down if you decide to go the traditional route.
  • BLW is only safe, if you feel safe watching your baby eat this way. If you are in a constant worry and panic over every little gag you hear (and you’ll most likely hear quite a bit in the beginning) then it’s maybe not for you.
  • You might find yourself naturally doing a bit of both, which is totally fine! I did that with my first daughter.
  • I did a baby first aid course when I started the weaning journey, I can highly recommend doing this for your own peace of mind!
  • Whichever route you take, it is always safest to feed your baby in a highchair. This way you can observe them best.
  • If your baby was born prematurely or has an underlying health condition, speak to your Health Visitor or GP before starting the weaning journey.

One last note on choking and gagging

  • Silent and blue - they need you (your baby is choking)
  • Red and loud - let them work it out (your baby is gagging)

Next time, I’ll be talking about food sequences - what foods are good to start your weaning journey.

*Disclaimer: Please be advised that any information is given as general guidance only. Should you have any concerns over the wellbeing of your child such as intolerances, allergies and weight, or your baby was born prematurely or you are unsure if your baby is ready for solids, it is always best to consult with your Health Visitor or GP.*

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