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Phoebe Talks Weaning

Episode 7

Baby-led weaning (BLW) vs traditional weaning - my experience

Episode 7 of "Phoebe talks weaning" podcast. The pros and cons of each method of weaning, it’s up to you to decide.

You might have done a lot of reading before giving your baby their first solid food and set your mind on BLW or spoon feeding. But when the actual day comes things might or might not work out the way you had intended. This episode looks at the different weaning journeys I had with my three children. Some did and some didn't go as intended. If things don't go as planned, it's important that you are feeling comfortable with the way you feed your baby.

Transcript

I started out the traditional route with my first daughter, by offering her her first solid foods as a puree but I very quickly found myself doing a combination of the two, by introducing finger foods quite early on. In fact it’s what many parents do naturally. With my second baby, I just didn’t see myself pureeing and spoon feeding with a toddler to look after too. That’s how we came to start our food journey with a steamed carrot, my daughter loved it, and we stuck to exclusive BLW. I was a lot more relaxed this time round, I remember literally having to sit on my hands when I gave my older daughter her first finger food. When my third child joined the table I had my mind set on BLW, however, I found myself spoon feeding him nearly half of the time in the beginning with any food that wasn’t easy finger food. The main reason was that I could not cope with the mess and I now had to deal with the school run of my eldest. Do I feel like I have deprived my son? Honestly, I don’t think so, he still had lots of opportunities to self feed and explore and experience food in those early months. He is now coming up to two years and his self feeding skills are the same as his sister’s were at that age.

The bottom line is that the weaning approach you go for can sometimes be influenced not only by your choice or your baby’s abilities, but also by external factors that allow for them. There is no denying that BLW is messy and if you have two other children to clean after and you need to be out of the house at a certain time, it’s ok to spoon feed your child in the morning.

There’s a lot of talk about baby led weaned children being more skilled with cutlery at a young age. I have to admit that my eldest was able to hold her spoon and fork correctly from a very young age. By contrast, my middle daughter who was exclusively baby led weaned still prefers to hold her cutlery in her fist rather than the proper way, she’s also taking any opportunity to eat with her hands, this is hopefully just a tactile phase, she’s now just over four years old, I hope it’ll have passed by the time she starts school next autumn!

Do I prefer one method over the other?

No - both methods felt right at the time of weaning. I cannot stress enough that the enjoyment of the weaning journey largely relies on you feeling comfortable and safe with the way you wean your baby, whether it’s purees or finger food.

Please don’t feel like you’ve got to make up your mind which route to take, follow your instinct and what you feel is right for you and your baby. You might be doing a combination of the two, as I did with my eldest and youngest.

What about all the advice?

Well meaning advice from family and friends can be very overwhelming at times. My advice, filter out what is useful for you and ignore the rest, as difficult as it might be. If you follow the BLW route and the grandparents find it difficult to watch a gagging baby send them out of the room. Yes it might sound harsh, but a panicking adult next to a baby learning how to handle food safely isn’t a good combination.

*During our second weaning journey I recorded every food for the first 16 weeks (apart from the very first steamed carrot). This content will soon be available on our website.

Next time we’ll discuss if your baby needs teeth to start the 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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