It has been over four months since I've shared anything about Baby-Led Weaning. In this case, no news is definitely good news; our baby turned one last weekend and is a wonderful eater.
Andrew was 8 months old the last time I wrote about following the BLW method. Remember, this method involves primarily giving your baby finger foods and table foods as early as 6 months, rather than using pureed baby food. You can view one of my earlier BLW posts for more information.
As Andrew got older, the approach seemed less novel and more normal. It's pretty normal to see a 10 month old feeding himself, but it's rare to see an 8 month old chomping on pear slices, apple slices, and chunks of grilled fish.
He really hasn't been limited by his lack of teeth. His two bottom teeth came in around 6 months of age. One of his top incisors came in at some point a couple of months ago, but until recently, that was the extent of his teeth. Over the past two weeks, a few more top teeth have been popping through his gums. So he's been a slow teether, but it hasn't kept him from eating table food one bit.
What does BLW look like on a daily basis?
Last week, we went out for dinner at Amigo Juan, my favorite tex-mex restaurant in town. As I viewed the menu, I realized that I needed to order something that Andrew could eat too, instead of just worrying about feeding me and Izzy. I settled on the fajitas, which I love anyway. Andrew pigged out on fajita chicken, charro beans, and spanish rice. He was the primary reason I ordered charro beans instead of refried beans. My boy also loves the Mongolian beef at our favorite Chinese restaurant.
For dinner last night, I gave Andrew a homemade dinner roll. Then I prepared a bowl of rice, roast, potatoes and cooked carrots. I mixed it up and dumped it on his high chair tray so that he could feed himself. When I make something like soup, I either plan an alternative meal for Andrew or (more likely), I just strain out the broth and give Andrew the meat and veggies for his dinner.
This works out best because Andrew is really not happy unless he's eating the same thing as the rest of the family. He whines and screeches as soon as a new (hot) dish is brought to the table and is quite unhappy until he has the same food as everyone else. Don't worry, we're working on that whole whining and screeching business! I'm ready for Andrew to finally pick up the sign language we've been demonstrating. It always seems to help prevent whining.
Lunch time for Andrew often consists of leftovers from dinner. Izzy typically has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I haven't been ready to introduce peanut butter yet. So for Andrew, I either give him leftovers or he has a bit of a snacky lunch--crackers, cheese, fruit, maybe a veggie or meat. I do feed him applesauce sometimes, because it's a very convenient food. Sometimes I make a grilled cheese sandwich for each of us.
What are his favorite foods?
Andrew eats like a little man. He loves meat and potatoes, as well as just about any vegetable. He really enjoys grilled chicken or beef in any form, typically pot roast or something along those lines, since we don't do a whole lot of ground beef around here. He's not a big fan of bananas but he does enjoy strawberries and apples as well as other fruit. His absolute favorite thing to eat in the whole world is oranges. He loves satsumas, clementines, or any other tangerine-like fruit.
Would I do it again?
Without a doubt, yes I would. It was incredibly easy. It's only strange for those first few months, but as time goes on, you feel like you don't have to be so creative to find things that the baby can feed himself. Since life only seems to get more hectic as our family grows, I will definitely use this method for baby #3.
Andrew is a better eater than his big sister. I don't know if it's personality or if it's because of doing BLW, because he was and is a good nurser too. So it's hard to attribute his good eating habits to BLW, but I'm sure it has helped.
My boy loves food. That said, he's a pretty lean baby. He looks very proportionate, and he is, but he's been in about the 10th percentile or so for the past several months. Our kids seem to be pretty lean, but our pediatrician says that's a good thing and that they're very healthy kids. With BLW, Andrew gets to control his portions completely, so we know he's eating as much as he wants. I also love the transition from nursing to BLW--in both ways of feeding, the baby completely controls his portions.
If you're interested in trying BLW, do check out the book. I wouldn't have felt comfortable with trying such a unique way of feeding my baby without reading the book. After all, I know absolutely no one else who has done this method of introducing solids. I read about it on several blogs, so the online mommy blogging community was a huge help in motivating me to try it. La Leche League's Womanly Art of Breastfeeding also mentions the idea of letting babies self-feed, which gave me the impression that it's a natural, normal thing to do, although in reality, I don't know anyone who has actually done it.
I really found BLW to be a low-pressure, fun way of introducing solids. That alone makes it worth doing again. But if you factor in the health benefits, it becomes an even more fascinating subject for consideration.
Update: Without knowing about my blog topic today, my husband came home from work this evening and told me about an article he read that says spoon-feeding puts babies at a higher risk for obesity. Here's a slightly longer article that says the same thing. While it's not guaranteed to prevent obesity, I think it definitely makes BLW worth considering.
Any questions or thoughts about BLW? We have absolutely loved this method of feeding our baby, and I would encourage anyone who is expecting to consider this as well. It just doesn't get any easier!
This post is part of The Humbled Homemaker's Healthy 2Day Wednesday Link-Up!