I've hated ketchup for as long as I can remember. Something about the consistency. The pureed consistency just creeps me out. The thought of having to wash my brother's ketchup-laden dishes as a child still grosses me out.
When I was pregnant I thought a lot about how we were going to raise our baby. The thought of offering solids caused me anxiety even before I even laid eyes on my son. While at a La Leche League meeting a woman mentioned the term baby-led weaning (BLW). I was still pregnant at the time, but I made a note (in my phone - pregnancy brain is a killer, ugh!) to look more into this feeding technique - mainly because it meant no purees. The baby eats what the family eats, more or less. I was confused by the term 'weaning' but it's used in the British sense here - you aren't stopping breastfeeding or formula, instead you are merely introducing solids to complement your baby's main source of nutrition: breastmilk or formula. The baby is offered baby-appropriate pieces of food and the baby chooses what to eat (or not eat).
The idea of skipping the purees really appealed to me, and the more I researched baby-led weaning (BLW) the more I feel in love with its simplicity. Here are some reasons my husband and I decided to do BLW when our son was ready for solids:
1. My husband and I have struggled with our weight most of our lives. In the past we consistently ignored hunger cues, overate, and felt the need to clean our plates. We don't want our son to have those issues; with BLW the baby is in control. He eats as much (or as little) as he wants with no coaxing or bribing from us. Sorry, no hungry baby birds or airplane spoons here. He's learning how to listen to his body and how to use food to satisfy hunger (not some other emotion or to please his mommy and daddy).
2. I really love cooking meals for our family, and in general we eat pretty clean. Since our son eats pretty much what we're eating I'm extra cognizant to make sure the meal is as healthy as possible. That little extra bit of accountability ensures our family is eating well, even when I'm tired or just plain lazy during meal prep. It also means I do more meal planning and less frantic 'Oh, crap, it's 4 PM; what are we going to eat for dinner tonight?!'
3. My husband and I were guilty of eating dinner on the couch sometimes. It's a hard habit to break, but now that we eat at the table with our son (most nights) we've been able to reconnect and talk with one another instead of zoning out in front of the TV. And our couch is cleaner since no one eats on it anymore!
4. As I mentioned before, we love to eat, and I love to cook. During dinner I want to actually eat my delicious meal while it's warm and not have to wait until I'm done spoon feeding my son. Sure, we need to pause our meal to pick up a cup off the floor or to give our son a second helping of food, if he wants it, but for the most part everyone is enjoying dinner at the same time. Meal time is a pleasurable time to connect with each other.
5. Finally, our fat Chihuahua could not be more pleased about our choice to let the baby be in control of feeding himself. One drawback with letting a baby be in control is the mess, oh the mess! A dog definitely comes in handy if you plan to use BLW.
Are you thinking about Baby-Led Weaning? What interests you about BLW? Have you used BLW with your child? Why did you pick BLW? Do you want to learn more? Check out the calendar to see when the next BLW workshop is being offered.
Want to more? Sign up for author Michelle's Baby Led Weaning Workshop.
Michelle is a first time mom with a background in adult education who does copious amounts of research on all things baby. She loves cooking and creating healthy, homemade meals for her family as well as adding to her cookbook collection. She's been enjoying her family's BLW journey and wants to share the fun with you. If you love what she writes, visit her on her blog The Well Adjusted Pessimist.
This blog is not intended to be a source of medical information or advice. Please discuss all of your concerns with your care provider.