How long has BLW been around?

Andrea - posted on 05/14/2010 ( 44 moms have responded )

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Just curious how long BLW has been around. I love the idea and get to start tomorrow (my daughter has been reaching and wanting my food for a couple of week now, and is turning 6 months) - but my MIL says "oh that's just a new fad". Is it? I don't care, I'm going to do it - but how long has it been a normal practice?



I'm talking about the method of introducing solids, not waiting longer to wean the baby from breast.



See this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzzPTRUWM...

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Tammy - posted on 05/18/2010

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that is very neat.... although I've never heard of this referred to as the BLW method.. I would do much the same thing, the feel of food of a big part of learning to eat, bravo and good luck!! :)

April - posted on 05/17/2010

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i agree with Molly. before gerber goo as lisa so fondly put it, that's what they did before blenders! and also true that there used to be no such thing as formula. and it's also true that many people say "i don't know anyone who breastfed" and proceed to say that no one in their family has ever breastfed. nonsense! what did your great great grandmother do? i know this isn't what you asked but it just reminds me of just how many people i know think that formula and gerber has been around for years and years and years....

Molly - posted on 05/17/2010

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What is she talking about, a "new fad?" That's what babies did before they had blenders. That's like saying that breastfeeding is a fad. Before nasty formula was invented, that was pretty much the main thing. And if babies didn't get it, they probably died.

Minnie - posted on 05/17/2010

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Yes, baby using the spoon himself is perfectly fine. The whole point is to let the child take the initiative to eating solids. Mom spoonfeeding baby, however, is not baby-led weaning.

Minnie - posted on 05/16/2010

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I notice so many differences between my two girls regarding food. My first I started on 'solids' at five months, your typical gerber pureed goo. She has serious issues with texture, with trying new foods, and develops food fixations, wanting one type over and over and not wanting to eat anything else.



With my second, I let her take the initiative: she went straight to table foods when she began picking food up and putting it in her mouth. She's incredibly adventurous in trying anything new, loves all sorts of foods, has a great handle on a fork and a spoon and has since about 12 months and has used an open cup since 12 months. I think a lot of how willing she is to try new foods has to do with our laid-back approach. Since I'm still nursing her I don't worry about her getting proper nutrition, and she's free to try whatever. But with my first, since I weaned her at 12 months, I was always concerned about how much food she took in (both girls have turned out to be quite thin).

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Anna - posted on 06/03/2010

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Sounds like a perfectly natural thing to do... But I have one thing to add, and if someone already pointed it out I am sorry for repeating it :)). That is that it is and was common practice to pre-chew the food first unless it is very soft (like well boiled broccoli or ripe banana). That is stil done in many areas of the world, and usually it is also a method to help elderly without teeth to eat. With pre-chew I mean to chew the food until it is almost a puré and then feed it to the child (how is a matter of taste, pardon the punt ;)). This is to help with digestion as well as prevent choking (very common unfortunately before they can chew and have a few teeth). Hope it all goes well, good luck!!

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well i did it and how much nicer it is for baby to make their mind up what right for them. be aware you will get a few gags but it doesn't mean they're choking. put chopped apple in muslin cloth or the like, great to chew on for gums etc

Nicole - posted on 05/22/2010

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@Angela
You find the question strange because I think you are confused about the OP question. Baby-led Weaning (BLW) is just the practice of not giving pureed/jarred "baby" foods to a breastfed baby. It is the act of letting the baby decide when they're ready for food. Meaning that you, the parent, do not "feed them". You give them food that they are ready to eat and they eat to their desire. If they don't want it or can not handle the food, they are not ready for the food. Basically, that's the idea. It is not about delaying solids or not giving solids, it is about letting the child guide their parent into what they want and need from solids.

"Weaning" does not always refer to stopping breastfeeding. "Weaning" is offering food other than it's mother's milk. Even if that food is combined with breastfeeding.

Angela - posted on 05/22/2010

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I find this question to be rather strange?
It seems like people think, "Oh, if i start solid foods, my baby won't want my breast milk anymore!" So they wait and wait and wait to start solids. And in the end have a hell of a a time getting their children to eat different foods.
I still breast feed, 21 months, only because my daughter has yet to stop. I do not feel it's right for me to force her off when she is not ready.
When she wakes up, she gets a little milk (one breast); i make her pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, etc. Morning nap breast milk again. She wakes up then she eats lunch; veggies, blk beans and rice, tuna, egg salad (granted shes older so of course feed age appropriate stuff), etc. Then we play and dinner time she eats what i make; pasta, chicken, meatballs, veggies, etc. Shower/ bath. Then it's bed time, read a story and nurse for however long she wants to nurse. Snacks are given between meals; cheese cubes (or shredded cheese for younger), chopped fruit, lil' crackers, yogurt, etc.
I've not really given her much cows milk, but she does take in a fair amount of milk when possible and different dairy items.
And there was a time when she was only nursing at bed time, middle of night and in the morning. Now that i'm working, i pump in the day, to keep my supply up in the day incase she wants milk on the weekend at nap time.
I guess it sounds like a lot of work, but once you get into the routine, it's all pretty natural and normal.
She eats whatever she wants to eat, then when it's sleep time or she needs a snack and we are out on the metro, boom! i bust out the boob, and she is a happy baby. I do not feel you have stop breast feeding because your child is eating solids. that is a personal choice, and if you are too busy to cook meals and make and feed breast milk, then perhaps it's best for you to stop breast feeding? But not always will a child stop breast feeding if they eat a healthy solid meal.

Becky - posted on 05/21/2010

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How does she think people feed their babies in other parts of the world where they can't get or can't afford jarred baby food? They go straight from the breast to whatever the family is eating!
I am basically doing BLW with my second son because he hates cereal and purees. We did start out with those - homemade, not jarred - but he refused them outright. I thought he just wasn't ready for solids, but, turns out, if I give him a hunk of melon to suck on, he loves it! So it's just the goopy stuff off a spoon he doesn't like. I think next time around, we won't even bother trying the cereal and purees, we'll just do straight blw. Saves me time and money!

Elanor - posted on 05/21/2010

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BLW is as old as we are! The phrase was coined a few years ago, by Gill Rapley when she wrote a thesus. (I was lucky enough to do a training course with her~) by then my first son was 2, but I realised that most of how we weaned him was baby led - and that in those areas he was refined. My youngest son - 11months- is fully BLW, and he won't let anyone feed him at all! However he didn't really 'get into' his food until 8/9 months, and that only goes in waves.
Ad for the choking, they do gag and this is a natural reflex, (we seem to confuse gagging and choking)
If you sit with them, more often than not, they will gag then bring up the offending bit of lettuce etc. This then teaches them how to deal with certain foods - in around 2 weeks they stop gagging so much, and you learn not to be a nervous wreck! :P
I would say at the begining it is messy, be prepared, shower curtains on the floor, apron for you, long sleeve bib. I am told the mess gets less.
Good luck - and never be afraid to let them try unusual things.

Nicole - posted on 05/21/2010

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I don't know what BLW is, but I watched the video- I'm not sure I agree with the whole thing- giving her stuff with the skin on that can make it harder to eat...
I also don't think it works for all kids. My first baby as soon as she showed interest I put all sorts of stuff in front of her to eat with her hands, this time my baby was interested in solids, but because she has a "lazy eye" for a non technical term, she has issues with depth perception, etc, and that has given her multiple delays, so sometimes it's hard for her to pick up and get in her mouth- but theres no reason you can't feed a baby with a spoon and NOT do the "one more bite" thing. babies give cues- turning head, putting hands up/blocking, becoming less interested in other foods. Will complain if you don't offer another spoonful....
Mine also had issues til recently (she is 12 months now) with gagging on foods- also part of the delay.
So choking can be a concern.
But offering healthy foods should always be part of the scenario- I keep a graduates packaged meal on hand for "emergency" type situations. otherwise, bite size pasta, sweet potato, wheat bread, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, scrambled egg, boarshead turkey, homemade chicken soup put thru a processor, etc are all options.I never considered chopping up foods, once baby is ready for solids and placing them in front of her as a "fad". All of my family feeds kids this way.

Sally - posted on 05/20/2010

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That's the only way my daughter would do it. My five year old threw screaming fits when we offered baby food instead of our dinner. My 7 month old has allergies and has no interest in solids yet. If I tried to force cereal and take her boob away, she'd die.

Letting the baby decide when they are ready and then just feeding them a soft version of your dinner is how almost all of humanity did it until about 100 years ago and how a majority of the world still does it. The baby food industry will have to get over it. :)

Didi - posted on 05/20/2010

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I just started BLW this week with my son. He loves it! His first meal was steak, green beans and a baked potato ♥ I read "Baby-led Weaning: Helping you baby love good food" by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett which talks you through the whole idea, how to get started and common questions. I recommend it! They'll also be coming out with a couple new books, one in September and one in November.

Nicole - posted on 05/20/2010

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I LOVE that you are doing this with your child. I started with real food also not cereal or baby food (jars) I think I started with sweet potato and banana? Beans, avacado and chick peas were all favorites but mine were older when I started. Congrats!

Kristi - posted on 05/19/2010

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I've never heard of baby led weaning or introducing solids in any way being a fad, but my mom comes up with some crazy ideas too... I think that the grandparent generation seems to like coining this phrase for anything that isn't the same as the way they did it - LOL! In any event, baby led weaning is great, and just the natural way of letting them wean themselves off the breast until they aren't interested in nursing anymore. In my experience, if you are BLW'ing :) you probably won't need to introduce solids until later because the baby won't likely be as interested in them. Neither of my girls were interested in them until 9 or 10 months at all! We did what you describe, and from about 6 months on just waited until they were wanting to try what was on our plates and then would give them that food mashed up or in tiny slivers until they were used to it. I tried a Baby Food grinder but it wasn't that useful. I did like those Baby Feeder things with the little net on the end so they can chew and suck the food through it. In the beginning it was nice so I didn't worry they would choke, but they are a pain to clean out. We never used baby food in jars or even made our own baby food at all. It was so nice to just bypass all that mess of creamed yuckity yuck! I could never stand the smell. I am happy with the way we went about things and both girls have continued to nurse a long time and enjoy a variety of foods that are nutritious. In a nutshell, when they are ready they are ready, and they go for it! Good luck. :)

Jennifer - posted on 05/19/2010

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probably since the begining of time. I don't think ancient peoples had food processors to puree baby food. so babies in ancient times just fed themselves tiny bits of whatever the rest of the family were eating.

Pauline - posted on 05/19/2010

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We pureed food for 2 weeks and had bought small jars to store our own baby food. I then learned about BLW and loved the concept. My son was more interested in feeding himself and we had great success with intake. At 7 months he was eating corn on the cob. We have never had problems with choking on foods. However, I have had difficulty getting our care providers to understand this concept. My son is very good at chewing up his food and if he can't he will spit it out. I would never do pureed again. I also believe it is up to the child. I have a friend whose child doesn't chew his food so most of his food has been pureed or available in very small bites.

Nicole - posted on 05/19/2010

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@ Rebecca - Baby led weaning IS the introduction of solid foods. Weaning actually means just moving to another form of food other than breast milk.



This is the definition of wean–verb (used with object)

to accustom (a child or young animal) to food other than its mother's milk; cause to lose the need to suckle or turn to the mother for food.

Claire - posted on 05/19/2010

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hi Christi - I think it's natural to worry about choking - I did too. a year on I can hand on heart say that Lucy has never choked. she has gagged which is a natural reflex to prevent her from choking which becomes less as they get older. The whole point is that no you can't control the size or how much your baby eats as it's their decision and learning process. This is what in fact keeps them safe... put it like this we trust our babies when we breast feed them to know how much to eat and how often and then they start on solids and we go against all our instincts and stop trusting our babies to know what they need. Give it go I am sure it will work for you but you need to trust your baby to know what it needs and how much :-) Good luck X

Claire - posted on 05/19/2010

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I did BLW and my little one is now 18 months and has thrived on it! go for it - it's really liberating :-), no mashing and pureeing and freezing etc, she just eats what we eat. Makes you have a better diet too ;-). It's been around since the dawn of time and to me it absolutely makes sense. what we know as 'traditional weaning' using purees etc hasn't been around that long and only really took off due to medical interference in the 1950's in the breast feeding process. Dr's medicalised the feeding of babies and stated that they should only be fed every 3-4 hours not on demand as any breast feeding mum knows is the only way to keep your breasts producing enough milk. Hence women began to fail at breast feeding as they didn't produce enough milk etc. this lead to the need to introduce solids earlier and so purees were used as tiny babies cannot feed themselves (because they aren't meant too!).

My cherub always gained weight as she should and has never choked - which is a common worry. Babies do gag on food it's natural (prevents them from choking) this also gets less as they get older. I began with very small amounts of food and didn't expect her to eat much. I had in mind that milk would be her main source of food until she was at least 1 year old. To be honest I was amazed at how quickly she bacame very good at feeding herself, she loves food and never makes a fuss at meal times. You will also be able to eat at the same time - as a family which is lovely and your baby will learn to eat from you :-). Be prepared for mess though!!!! Lucy ate most of her early meals in long-sleeved bibs and a nappy and vest lol! also newspaper is very handy for collecting the food that ends up going overboard. the most important things to remeber are - don't let other people put you off (I was against strong opposition from my mother and to some extent my husband - particularly if Lucy gagged on food - even though babies that are spoon fed gag on food just as much as those on BLW). Stay relaxed - mess can always be wiped away, washed and in some cases soaked overnight lol! Enjoy it, your little one will love food and learning about it and it'll be a lovely adventure for you both... Good luck and go for it, if you want any help or advice please feel free to message me anytime :-)

Rebecca - posted on 05/19/2010

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Baby led weaning is NOT the introduction of regular solid foods. Those are two completely seperate things. My oldest is 18 years old now & he began solids when he showed an interest in what others around him were eating & reached for it or said AH when food was around. He was around 6 months old. Same situation for my other two children.

Venessa - posted on 05/18/2010

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There are so many "fads" and new recommendations with every new generation and even between children. Personally, I believe that given pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting has been around since the begining of people, and the recommendations and "fads" only started when people could write, read, research, etc .... so i figure that BLW has had to be how a mum knew her child was ready for food way back before any "fads" began.

Your baby knows when they are interested in trying food, regardless of what the books tell you they want. I still try to let my son lead his eating habits (to a certain degree) and he's 15 months on friday

no mum is perfect ... but were all perfect mum's - because we care... Happy parenting

A - posted on 05/18/2010

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Its been around since the dawn of time. In my opinion, people listen to "rules" now days and doctors, instead of listening to their babies like people did back in the day for hundreds of years. We should always be listening to our babies and not some rule book. When it comes to feeding, there's no switch that comes on at exactly 6 months or 1 year, etc, that makes their bodies ready for something. My son didn't tolerate solids until he was 10 months old. I listened to him and didn't spoon/force feed him. His digestive system does better with table foods than spoon feeding him. He controls how much he gets, not me. I don't know how hungry he is, he does! He had terrbile gas and pains when I tried to feed him before 10 months. Some people would think I'm starving my baby but he's growing just fine and is healthy. Just because their baby eats 3 meals a day in solid food at 4 months, doesn't neccesarily mean thats what should be. Its just like babies self weaning from the breast. Most nations around the world breast feed their babies until AT LEAST two years of age, if not longer. They don't force wean them at a year like the "fad" is now. Its still healthy for them after a year. There's no reason to stop nutritionally speaking. There's no expiration date on your breasts... lol

I think its actually fairly common as to when doctors and people started coming up with such schedules when it comes to feeding. However, its what the few generations before us are used to, so they think its odd. But I bet if you talked to your great-great-great grandmother, she'd say BLW is what everyone did back then...

Cinda - posted on 05/18/2010

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I love some of the comments. I agree that it's NOT trendy but the way that it's been done for a LONG time & we're just getting BACK to it. I don't know how long BLW takes as I'm sure each baby is different. I introduced solids to my son & he's even on regular table food now. He's 17 months. He still hasn't given up the breast. He only nurses slightly less often now then he did before solids were introduced. My sister's son looked & her & said, 'no mama' at 13 months when she offered him a breast & that was it. He was done that day. So I would just be patient & do what the name says....let it be Bab Led Weaning. Your baby will let you know when they are done.

Andrea - posted on 05/17/2010

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She mostly sucks on the pear slice or finger of cooked carrot - and nothing went down the throat, everything came out :) But I figure, they will learn what is too big of a bite very quickly.

I agree Molly! It is like saying breastfeeding is a "fad" - I'm thinking she might have misunderstood me or something. She was REALLY confused about not using a spoon. She says "well how do they get the mushy cereal in their mouth then?" and I said "it wont be mushy cereal" and she went on with "babies have to start with mushy soupy things" and it kind of ended. She didn't judge, but was more confused than anything. I like how they learn to chew before swallowing - rather than learning to swallow, then chew :)

Stina - posted on 05/17/2010

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My understanding is that BLW is what was done before companies started selling and pushing us to give our babies purees and formula.

I didn't set out to do BLW until my youngest refused purees and I stumbled across some information about giving babies soft finger foods to start with as they are ready to eat them. It gave me some peace of mind and the ability to relax and not force her to eat the purees that she didn't want anyway. As soon as she was able to, she started gumming down soft cooked veggies. (around 7 months)

She's 13 months now and still nursing several times a day. She eats some food at mealtimes with us but doesn't have any molars yet- just a few front teeth which makes it kind of a slow process... But she's growing fine on a mostly Breast milk diet.

Kristin - posted on 05/17/2010

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When my kids started grabbing at the contents of my plate or reaching for my untensil, that's when I started them on cereal. Largely because that's what our pediatrician said to watch for as a sign that they were ready to try food.

Amanda - posted on 05/17/2010

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I have raised 3 kids this way, as for the poster worried about choking, they may choke but so can a child eatting mushy food on a spoon, and they will learn real fast to take smaller bites. Children need more credit given to them, human race hasnt survived 1000s of years by breeding dumb babies LOL.

Ellen - posted on 05/17/2010

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Is it the same thing if you give him the spoon?? We give our little guy his bowl of veg or cereal or whatever and then if he wants the spoon that we are holding, we let him have it. He grabs it pretty close to the spoon part so no chance of him shoving it in his mouth too far. He has been 'eating' since he was about 4 1/2 mths old as he kept trying to grab food from our hands and even succeeded a few times in getting it to his mouth! (lucky it was only sandwiches or cookies!) He also holds his own water bottle and loves to chomp on apples and baby cookies. Although, he still loves the booby too!

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i'm concerned about the possibility of choking. i never begged my son to have another bite, i let him eat as much as he wanted to--in fact, he always wanted more. i didn't start him on solids until 6 months and i did start with very soupy rice cereal (i had to thickin it up for him). my son is a very healthy eater--he loves fruit and eats his veggies! i would be willing to try this method i just worry about choking because you can not control the size of bite the baby takes. i do realize the food is prepared and not raw. i just worry.

Andrea - posted on 05/16/2010

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hahahaha - I think that's what makes it seem like something "new" - is the name :) The should label it "how to feed your baby" :)

Martha - posted on 05/15/2010

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I also want to add, I believe that BLW helps children learn how to chew better. My daughter is 15mos old and she only has 7 teeth but she can chew anything up. I can give her a whole banana and she will eat it just like you or I would, bite by bite. She chews/eats everything so well, even meats or things like asparagus and green beans. She also is starting to use her for really well. I attribute that to BLW.

Minnie - posted on 05/15/2010

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I knew what you meant, Andrea :). Baby led weaning is about following the baby's cues. No spoons, baby feeding himself, all the way up to no longer nursing.

Martha - posted on 05/15/2010

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Yeah sometimes the baby is just more interested in seeing whats going on. She might just want to play with the food and experience the way to feels and stuff. It's just so much fun watching them explore a new thing, even if it gets messy ;)
My daughters first food was avocado. Bananas are great too because those two things dont need to be cooked and are very soft. You could even give her some roasted or steamed veggies/fruits. There's so much more to give her than just junky baby cereal! :)

Andrea - posted on 05/15/2010

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See, that's what I thought - I just couldn't find anything on the history of it - but I was 99.9% sure that it's the natural way things are done - that's how I feel about breastfeeding - it's not something someone should "try" - it's just the way a baby naturally eats! hahaha :) I'm surprised my MIL thought it was a fad as she is huge on breastfeeding, and she told me some of the first foods she gave were mashed potato - she was just confused about not using a spoon.

Don't worry I wont be upset if she doesn't eat anything! hahaha :) I wanted to wait as long as I could to introduce solids, but she has been reaching and grabbing and opening her mouth for my food for about 3 weeks now - so I am letting her tell me it's okay - I'm just doing it for fun :) She doesn't have to eat anything if she doesn't want. And yes, I will make sure to breastfeed first, thanks.

Martha - posted on 05/15/2010

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AND BTW just make sure you don't get upset if your daughter doesn't eat it all or eat right away because she will eat how much she wants and when shes ready. Let her make a mess and have fun with the food until she gets the hang of picking it up and really eating. ALSO the biggest thing is ALWAYS always always nurse the baby before you offer any solids at all. Good luck with it! And way to go for doing things this way. :)

Martha - posted on 05/15/2010

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That way of introducing solids is how its naturally done. Before food processors and processed cereals and even spoons were around, that's how humans ate. They nursed solely from their mothers until they were able to pick up and chew their own food. What Lisa and I were describing is the same thing as you are :) Its all the same method. Letting the child do what they would do naturally.

Andrea - posted on 05/15/2010

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Oh Sorry, no I did not mean weaning from breastfeeding - I mean introduction of solids without spoon or baby cereal first. Baby led weaning is introduction of regular solid foods, such as a banana or cooked broccoli, and you just put it in front of the baby and they start to eat.

Heehehe, I knew that weaning babies when they were older and ready has been done forever - I'm talking about this method of introducing solids. I'm going to edit the question to be more clear. Sorry for the confusion.

Minnie - posted on 05/15/2010

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It's amusing when our culture becomes aware of something we have done for as long as humans have existed and turns it into something trendy to do.



BLW is a name tagged onto the normal natural way for a child to progress from solely needing mother's milk to not needing to nurse anymore.



And since we have such a silly counterproductive mainstream parenting culture we have to have books and websites telling us how best to go about baby-led weaning.



Clare- baby-led weaning refers to letting the baby take the initiative to beginning solids and reducing the amount that he nurses over time as he outgrows that need.

Martha - posted on 05/15/2010

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It's the way the first humans survived! haha. To say it's a fad is just someone who doesn't know or want to know the history of how humans lived beyond their generation. Millions of people in other countries have done this for as long as their countries have existed because it is the NATURAL way that humans develop. Forcing a child to wean or not breastfeeding at all is a relatively new thing, because it is not natural. Look up a ton of info, information is the best thing to have. The more you have the more sure you will be of your choice :) and also it's great to let people like your MIL know the facts so that she doesn't think you're crazy...and if she still thinks you're crazy, then you know that she's the crazy one ;) Hope that made sense! lol

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