Baby-Led Weaning: Good or Bad?

As some of you know, when I was given the honor of being a, Top 10 Mommy Blog of 2013, from Parenting.com, I was also invited to join their incredibly talented pool of freelance writers. (Gasp!) My first two assignments were cut and dry reviews of a product and service. My third assignment was to talk about the recent popularity of Baby-led Weaning; what it is and what the experts are saying.  At first I thought that it would be easy, since I know all about it and did a form of it with Ollie.

I was so wrong. You all, this one got me...

I had such a hard time writing the article.  I needed to stay objective, and not bring my preconceived notions into it. Which was hard, because to me, this was a big deal article. Writing about something as big as introducing solids to an infant, no matter what, I didn't want to screw it up. I also didn't want to mislead people, just to write a good (favorable) article.

For those of you who do not know, Baby-led Weaning (BLW) is a method of introducing solid an infant by allowing them to self-feed, rather than be spoon-fed. Yes, it's giving a six-month-old solid food in finger sized pieces to feed themselves with.  No purees or parent intervention.  BLW is all about offering healthy finger sized soft foods to the baby to touch, smell, taste and then eventually chew and swallow. The control of how much food the baby eats is completely up to them. Where as with the parent-led spoon method, parents often feed the baby until the food is all gone.

For me, BLW was a very scary thing.  All I could imagine was my son choking. For that reason, I fed Ollie purees for the first few months of his introduction to solids, then slowly switched to offering him finger foods. No, he never choked, but I was also VERY careful about what I offered to him, and probably didn't offer enough variety because of that.

So here I am a year and a half later, writing an article on something that I was too scared to do properly.  Not to mention, when I asked Ollie's pediatrician about it 18-months ago, he thought the idea was too new, with not enough studies. Plus, he too was concerned about the choking aspect.

All of the being said, I put my own opinions aside and did the research.  I too wanted to know what the experts were saying.  Had things changed in the 18-months since I was researching baby-led weaning for my son?  My friends, it had. In fact, as I type there are a multitude of studies going on surrounding baby-led weaning.

The studies were showing the choking hazards were not an issue, the long-term effects led to a the baby having a healthier and happier approach to food, and most of all, a diminished risk for childhood obesity.  These are HUGE finds!  You can read all about the studies in my article on Parenting.com (Link below)

What I really want to know from you is, did you do Baby-led weaning with your baby?  What was your experience? Is your child now a healthy thriving toddler?  Studies said the baby would not be a picky eater later in life. Is this true? Would you do it again with your next child? Any tips for parents giving it a try?

Please, share your story.

To read my article on Parenting.com, CLICK HERE.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Mrs. Loquacious said...

You know I did it, and though DD definitely has her preferences now, she has never eaten too much and knows how to stop when she's full or done. Plus she does try most foods at least once, and she does not have negative food associations or issues with textures and gagging. BLW worked for me!

Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families said...

I let my kids eat puree's some but they all rather have table food. I would cut up their food into tiny pieces or smash veggies so that they resembled puree but without the watery texture. I would let them feed themselves while sitting close by in case they chock. Most babies will stop eating when they are full and my two older kids are super skinny. They eat until they are full. I hope they aren't obese in the future (unfortuntately) it runs in the family. I think obesity is also related to genetics. As we age, our metabolism slows down and most people don't adjust our caloric intake accordingly, myself included.

Christine B said...

I did BLW with my daughter. She is now 14 months and tries anything. She still has only 4 teeth and can eat pretty much eat anything including lamb and steak. She has gagged but never really choked. The key with BLW is knowing the difference between gagging and choking. She eats anything I put in front of her. She definitely has preferences but will try anything. BLW worked well for us!