BLW – what is it? Is it the right choice for you?

BLW why?

BLW or Baby Led Weaning simply put is a form of introducing solid foods to your baby skipping the spoon-feeding purees stage and letting your child take control from day 1.

It’s definitely very different from how we have been brought up and make us question how our babies who can’t even stand up yet or get to a sitting position on their own can pick up food and feed themselves.

Having tried BLW with my baby after going through a ton of research I want to share my experience and suggestions so you can try it successfully with your baby as well.

First coming to the Advantages of BLW:

1. Baby is in control from day 1 which helps promote independence. While it’s very tempting as mothers to feed the baby when we think they are eating less, Babies are very much in tune with their nutritional needs and eat accordingly. If you think about it, if you breastfed your baby on demand, did you know how much ml the baby ate at every feeding?
Your child knew how much he/she wanted and when. During growth spurts they automatically recognised their internal need for additional food and they would feed more often from us. So why is it that when they start solids, we suddenly feel they are incapable of making such decisions? Trust your baby.
2. Reduce picky eating in the long run – since it’s easier to introduce various textures and flavors early, your child would be exposed to many more food items before they hit 1 year of age when there is a natural drop in appetite and they get wary of trying new foods.
3. Promotes good eating behavior – Babies who are in control of what they eat with no force feeding are at lesser risk of obesity and other eating disorders later in life. There is still more research that needs to be done to ascertain this.
4. No distraction feeding – this again helps them become better eaters later in life. It also reduces meal times when we as mothers would have a bowl full of food with the quantity, we think the baby should eat and try all sorts of distractions to somehow feed it without the baby realizing. This only causes unnecessary tension and stress for both the mother and baby which can be avoided.
5. Helps them become more adventurous eaters – if we introduce them to a wide range of cuisines and foods early on, babies might also be more open to trying out new foods in future.

The biggest advantage however I feel is more for the parents than the baby

6. No need to separately plan and cook baby’s food. That’s right. No need to have a separate meal plan for them. Make an additional set of 3 meals and two snacks above what you’re making for the family. Once you understand BLW and how to offer age-appropriate food, all you need to do is take a little extra effort in separating the baby’s portion.

Most of the recipes on this blog come automatically with suggestions on how you can extend the same cooking to make family meals. This is specially a big boon for working mothers or mothers who are struggling to manage the family on their own with little to no outside support in the kitchen.

Also, think about it.

Would you be happy eating the same food every single day?

So many mothers remark how their baby would not eat the Cereal/ Puree they have prepared for them but would happily take a bite or two from their plates during meal times.

Why do babies take a bite from the parents or sibling plates during meal time?

This is mainly because kids also crave new flavours and textures. Even though they do not have teeth, their gums are extremely strong and can chew through soft foods.

Coming to the cons of BLW:

1. There will be some amount of gagging initially. Also, since Baby is handling new textures, we need to be careful with the size and consistency of food offered else there may be a choking hazard. This is the main reason why many parents prefer to wait till 9 months at least before introducing finger foods
2. Extremely messy. It takes a long time to clean up post the feed compared to the traditional way of spoon feeding. Also, since it’s messy, it’s difficult to gauge exactly how much the Baby ate which some parents are not comfortable with.
3. You need to wait till all the signs of readiness are achieved before starting with BLW. If you want to start before 6 months or before waiting for all signs of readiness, then it’s better to start off with traditional weaning.

If you do decide to go ahead with BLW, keep in mind that since it’s an extremely new concept in India, you can expect some family resistance. We’ve all been brought up with purees as our first foods and many of us have been spoon-fed most of our childhood.
The common argument is you turned out fine this way and so did your siblings/ cousins. Why are you doing this to your child?

Personally, what worked for me is to introduce the concept to the family early, probably at least a couple of months beforehand. Show them videos of other babies eating. Make them understand why you want to go this route and how it’ll be beneficial for the baby. If you need more tips on getting grandparents on board, you can definitely comment below or reach out to us and we would be happy to help 🙂

For more information on the signs of readiness for BLW and how to be prepared for it, you can check out our post here.

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