Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Manga Manga!

Saturday Olivia will be 7 months old.  As much as I'd like to continue nursing her every three hours, snuggling up with her in my bed while I read my Kindle, I need to start giving her some real food.  She's getting some teeth, and losing her toothless baby grin, and growing up.  So I reluctantly got a few jars of baby food.  With the last two I made all of their baby food, but I knew that she wsa going to  be trying such a small amount of each food at first that I didn't want to make a lot and freeze it for fear it would go bad before she could get around to eating it.  We've tried carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and pears so far (oatmeal and brown rice cereal as well).  Not a one had been a hit.  I think I know why.  It tastes like canned food.  The butternut squash, which is so sweet when roasted in my oven, had a bitter aftertaste as did the carrots.  This is NOT what I want to teach her that food is like.  So even though it's going to be small portions, I'm going to make her babyfood.  Or I was until I read an article on Baby Led Weaning.  What's BLW you ask?
Baby-led weaning (often also referred to as BLW) is a method of adding complementary foods to a baby's diet of breastmilk. Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by "self-feeding" from the very beginning of their experiences with food. The term weaning should not be taken to imply giving up breastmilk, but simply the introduction of foods other than breastmilk.
Infants are offered a range of foods to provide a balanced diet from around 6 months. They often begin by picking up and licking the food, before progressing to eating. Babies typically begin self-feeding around 6 months, although some will reach for food as early as 5 months and some will wait until 7 or 8. The intention of this process is that it is tailored to suit each particular baby and their personal development. The 6 month guideline provided by the World Health Organization is based on research indicating the internal digestive system matures over the period 4–6 months. It seems reasonable to posit that the gut matures in tandem with the baby's external faculties to self feed[citation needed].
Initial self-feeding attempts often result in very little food ingested as the baby explores textures and tastes, but the baby will soon start to swallow and digest what is offered. Breastfeeding is continued in conjunction with weaning and milk is always offered before solids in the first 12 months. Although breastfeeding is the ideal precursor to baby led weaning (as the baby has been exposed to different flavours [1] via its mother's breast milk and the jaw action used during breastfeeding helps the baby learn to chew), it is also entirely possible to introduce a bottle-fed baby to solids using the BLW method. Bottle-fed babies can successfully wean using BLW, although it may take a little longer[2] for the baby to get used to flavours and develop the ability to chew.

I think I found a new project!  I was getting all geared up to start this--thinking how I was going to implement it for Olivia, what foods to use, mentally making a grocery list--when it hit me--this is not mutually exclusive of traditional weaning.  I can still give her pureed foods, but also try the BLW approach.  I HATE weaning because it takes so long to feed the kid, while also trying to feed myself, get up to get someone a fork, or more water, or a napkin PLUS get everyone fed and out the door to whatever activity is scheduled for the night.  With BLW I can put her in her seat and let her work on feeding herself while I eat and take care of the rest of the family.  When I have time (during the day when the big kids are at school and Vince is playing "guys") I can work with her on different foods that she might not be able to feed herself (beets(too messy), greens, apricots(too small)).  I like this plan.  It makes sense to me.  It seems more natural in the sense of the way human babies were inteneded to wean.  So tonight, when our family sits down to eat, Olivia will be in her booster chair in her seat too.  I'll give her a wedge of apple to gnaw on and she can eath with the rest of the family.  She might not get much in her little tummy, but there's boob-time for that.  This is just about learning to feed herself and get used to different tastes and textures. 

1 comment:

  1. We followed BLW with Acey and it was great. I kept a few jarred foods on hand those times I found us in a pinch, but she mostly got real foods. She was NOT a passive eater and as soon as she discovered she could pick up food and shove it into her mouth at her own pace, it was game on! Some of her early favorites were steamed carrots and green beans, ripe cantaloupe, watermelon and bananas and ham. Even when she was teeny and couldn't actually eat meat, she would gum thick slices of ham endlessly. :)