On Sunday, to celebrate his 8th monthiversary, Oliver had a king’s lunch. He had tex-mex chicken wings, arrabbiata gluten-free pasta, bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, and finished off with apple. It took an hour. Nothing was pureed, he sat in his high chair, picked up everything with his own hands and chose what to eat and in what order.
I was wondering when this was going to happen, because since we started solid foods two months ago (when he was six months old) he hadn’t shown much interest in food, except for some (very) sporadic events—and cucumber, that’s always a big hit!
I wasn’t too worried, though, as I had read that Baby Led Weaning is a long and gradual process: you just have to be patient, keep trying, and giving the baby as many opportunities to eat as possible and eventually it will just happen. I’m happy to report it just happened :-)
What’s Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?
It’s an English method to introduce solid foods into the baby’s diet, in which the baby is in control of the weaning process by feeding himself.
There are many books about BLW—I read this one and enjoyed it greatly—and I recommend you read at least one before starting. There are also lots of websites that you can explore and where to find recipes.
What you’ll find on my blog is our own experience and, today, the reasons why we chose BLW to begin with.
So why did we choose Baby Led Weaning?
For three reasons:
- Mainly, because it feels right. Choosing what feels logical and natural to us seems to be a key principle in our life-style. We chose Paleo because it feels logical that eating natural products is better than eating artificial ones. We do Montessori because it feels natural to give Oliver independence since a young age—and let’s be honest, how convenient is the floor bed? ;-)Baby Led Weaning seemed to be the natural complement to Paleo (we eat well and so will Oliver) and Montessori (what’s more independent than not been spoon-fed?).
- I’m not in a hurry to stop breastfeeding. With Baby Led Weaning it takes a bit longer to get babies off breast milk completely and—as I've seen with many friends with older babies—by the time they're one year old they'll have probably just reduced the daily milk intake. I’m not in a hurry, I love breast-feeding and my work and lifestyle allow me to do it for as long as I want.
- I’m not the classical Italian mamma, I absolutely hate cooking! So when I heard that I wouldn’t have had to cook different meals and puree them for Oliver, it was a dealmaker for me! And the best part is, it’s exactly like that—except a few times when we had very spicy food and cooked some chicken without salsa for Oliver, so far we never had to cook for him. This, too, feels very natural and logical.
Oliver is now trying some food at every meal (this morning he had pork sausages for breakfast) and sometimes he even eats “a lot”, and asks for more when I think he’s done!
I’m happy to see this huge progress, but it hasn’t been (and won’t be) always easy. I did have my doubts before starting it and along the way, and there have been times when I questioned the whole method—especially when Oliver went days without wanting to even try any food. I’ll tell you more about that soon :-) Stay tuned!
If you're also doing BLW, tell me your experience in a comment :-)