Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby Led Weaning has Begun!

Ella will be 6 months old tomorrow (!! where did the time go?!) and I plan on BLWing with her.

Aidan did BLW before I knew anything about BLW. LOL He just didn't want runny baby food, absolutely refused to have anything to do with it or momma mashed foods. When he was 9-ish months old he started sampling table foods and gradually transitioned himself. His table food eating never impaired his breastfeeding, but rather supplemented it at first and provided an opportunity for him to explore foods. He has a very healthy appetite and love of fruits and veggies. I am very happy with how his transition worked out.

Sean was receiving home-based therapy when he reached the age of starting solids. His speech/occupational therapist insisted that we start with rice cereal and other commercially prepared baby foods as she said it was "important" to make sure he had a regulated texture to learn from. It was against my every belief, but I felt at the time that I didn't know enough about Ds to know if she was right or not. I trusted her advice and followed the AAP feeding schedule. I like to call it the Gerber Schedule :P When I look back at it now, I see that Sean did not show the signs of being developmentally ready for solids: he was not sitting independently, could not pick up and put objects in his own mouth purposely, and was not showing a particular interest in our food. This path completely backfired on us. He became texture adverse and psychologically dependant on those evil little jars. We have spent the past 3 years trying to unlearn this behavior and make the transition to table foods. We feel very lucky that he has had the whole nutrients from breastmilk to fill in the gaps in his diet since he doesn't eat a balanced variety. It has been an emotional and difficult road for him and our family to feed him.

I began reading about the Rapley book before Ella was born and realized that it was a philosophy that I agreed with. I am so glad to have the research available to support me!

As part of Sean's feeding therapy, I am going to include him in my BLW time with Ella. I am hoping that the two of them can BLW together and that we can all enjoy the experience.

Ella is sitting independently, has 2 teeth, picks up objects and brings them to her mouth and shows a lot of interest in our food. Yesterday I decided to kick off our adventure and offered both kids a banana. I gave Ella 3 baby palm size pieces to play with and gave Sean the remaining banana in the skin, peeled open. He wanted to hold it and eat it like Aidan.

Sean took several tiny bites of his banana, chewed and swallowed them. Ella played with her pieces and brought them to her mouth a couple of times, licking and sucking on them before dropping them. They both enjoyed playing with their snack!

At this time, I plan on giving them a food to try once a day, every other day for a week before trying a new food. Sean does feeding therapy at school every day but at home we have not pushed the issue, but let him try things if he initiates the desire to do so. We feel like he is starting to make some wonderful progress and want to keep gently encouraging him at home on a regular basis.


Little Miss E said...

Good luck with your adventure! It sounds like things are starting out on the right foot!

Lovin Mama said...

I think this is WONDERFUL! I didn't know there was a book. I did baby-led solids with last two. We had to modify our approach for Goldie, but overall she was able to self-feed most foods. I posted about this over at MDC like 1 1/2 years ago before we started solids. You answered my post and that was how I found your blog! I have to say, her EI team was very skeptical in the beginning. I told them "if the goal is for her to be eating solid foods one day, then we need to start her as close to that goal as possible while still meeting her nutritional needs". Anyways, thank-you for your support then, and I think you're taking the right approach by not pushing Sean, but giving him the opportunities to try new foods.

Lisa said...

Deborah, this is a very timely post for me. Finn is almost 7 months old and I have not started solids yet. He's still exclusively breastfed and I have been very unsure as to what to do because I keep hearing how feeding influences development of speech. Fortunately, nobody is pushing us to start solids (yet). He's not sitting indepently yet, so I think we're going to wait a bit still.

SunflowerMom said...

Brandi- really? I didn't know that's how you found me. I'm glad to hear it worked for you with Goldie and that you were able to show your EI team that it was the best choice for her.

Lisa- I ordered the book from Amazon and it should be here early next week. I am interested to see if it addresses SN children. I couldn't find anything on the website about it.

One of the primary requirements seems to be the ability to sit unassisted. The reason being that the muscle strength needed to do that is also an indication of internal development that is needed to digest solid food.

We started with Sean when he was 6 months old and he didn't sit unassisted until 10 months old. Around that time, he started accepting some table foods (I remember him eating mashed potatoes.) We started weaning him from reflux meds when he was 18 months and that's when he really started eliminating foods. Between age 1 and 2 he really cut his food variety in half.

It sounds like Finn is developing really well, starting to sit already. I bet he will give you signs of readiness soon. It is always better to trust your insticts than be sorry!

Lovin Mama said...

We waited until Goldie was 8 months because of food allergies, but I think its good that you mentioned there are other reasons for waiting. I think 8 months was also around the time she started sitting by herself.

Ruby's Mom said...

I think I'm going to try that with Ruby.Thanks for posting this.