4 years ago

Introducing Solids: What is Baby Lead Weaning?

I’ve been busy working on an NFP post since the weekend. It touches on some very personal levels for Craig and I, so I’m taking some care writing it.

I hope you’ll come by on Friday for some QT’s and maybe Sunday if I don’t wear the same thing I wore last week (which I didn’t post because it was the same thing I wore here).

But I really really REALLY hope youse guys come back for my NFP post next week. I’m thinking Wednesday. But if I’m too excited about it, it might show up on Monday. It’s good stuff, k? …I am completely awful at the whole “market your own blog” thing. It always looks forced and gushy, and looky here: ah won’t be fawrsed ter dew NUTHIN, okay Jack?

Anyway, I feel bad about leaving yas all hangin out to dry over the weekend so I dug through my rejected drafts and thought this one isn’t as bad as I’d originally shuddered about. I wrote it a month or so ago. Enjoy!

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So Collin has been my “Baby Lead Weaning” (BLW) guinea pig.

Lexington was breastfed for three months and I was cutting the bottle nipples, jamming his formula with rice cereal and shoving food in his mouth from that point on. He suffered belly aches, constipation, and irritability pretty much as a consequence of my ignorance of the world of options available to new moms and babies.

Emmett breastfed for 10 months and switched to Goat Milk. I started spoon-feeding jars of puréed baby food around 5-6 months but I cannot remember when he actually started on SOLID solids. He went through a small bout of constipation and belly aches as well once the real solid, solid food came into the scene.

Finally, I asked the question:

“does it HAVE to be this way? Do my children have to go through a period (a full year, even) of constipation -nights up with belly aches- while their tiny digestive systems adjust to ‘real food'”?

Collin is recieving the benefits of Baby Lead Weaning.

BLW– the title in itself is misleading.
This doesn’t mean I am weaning him off the breast. That boy’s staying on the boob as long as he chooses.
I think the word “weaning” is used loosely, meaning: the transformation from breastmilk or formula to solid food. No jars o’ baby mush. Hardly any spoons. (one might want to learn more here.)
What this further means is that we wait to introduce solid food until at least 6 months old.
We wait for the baby to cue that he’s ready to feed himself.

What are those cues? Glad you asked.

  • Loss of the tongue thrust instinct. We thought that it was cute that Lexington would automatically thrust his tongue and spit out his cereal with each bite we shoveled into his baby bird mouth. I now know he was giving me the body language message: “I’M NOT READY FOR THAT YET.” Yup. I was idiot mom.
  • Baby can sit up without slumping over or leaning heavily. This is for his safety.
  • Baby picks up objects with his thumb and pointer finger.

There may be more ready to self-feed cues from American Academy of Pediatrics, but those are the bigguns.

But the biggest tip of all:
Introduce solids as a supplement, not a replacement for the real meal: Breast milk.

Because breast milk’s got it in the bag. Talk about the ultimate “clean eating” smoothie. Momma’s mammaries. That milkshake brings it. MMM!

So! After introducing avocado, realizing he may have an allergy to it, then trying banana, I recognized that Collin wasn’t quite ready. He wasn’t sitting upright unassisted until about 6 & 1/2 months, and he definitely wasn’t using his “pincher fingers” (index and thumb) to pick things up yet. But I was impatient and wanted to try!

We had one constipated poop which reproduced the undigested item solidly; appearing the same way coming out as it looked going in, and I told myself to back off with pushing the solids.

I think it’s a generational/traditional belief that is trying to be pushed onto us younger moms that Breastmilk alone cannot possibly be enough for baby. Tell that to my little heifer.

We returned to exclusively breastfeeding for about a month or two.
Then I reintroduced solids in the form of yogurt.
Next, a bit of smashed fruit.
A few weeks later, I rolled up a little ball of Babybel cheese, and he picked it up and devoured it.

His poopy diapers told the whole story.
I started to notice a transition from your typical mustard yellow, swampy baby poo, to a more solid, custardy poo, to a softened butter consistency (How are those visuals for ya?). I knew I was on track with his digestive system when the poo looked well-processed.
Each time we introduce a new solid, I wait to try anything else new until he’s pooped it out (usually 2-3 days) and make sure he doesn’t have allergic reactions or anything like that.

Collin is 9 months old and can now eat a whole strawberry, toast, and goldfish crackers. No teeth yet!
One thing to make note of, however, is the amount of caution and attention I have to pay Collin when I feed him. I have been previously used to mindlessly spooning mouthfuls of pureed, jarred food into babies’ mouths and carrying on about my business.

When doing it BLW style, I have to pay strict attention to him: watching how big of a bite he takes, if he’s still chewing the previous bite as he takes another… fascinatingly enough, though, I notice that Collin is now regulating, all by himself, the size of bites he takes.
I am absolutely amazed by this whole thing. I only needed to have some patience and trust that my baby really would do it himself when he was ready.

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So UPDATE: Collin, now 10 months, zero teeth, zero jars of baby food, zero baby cereal later.
Here is a list of the foods he’s tried and loved:

Macaroni and Cheese (his fave)
Babybel cheese (his other fave)
Lasagna from scratch (short of rolling out my own noodles, mind you)
Spaghetti from scratch (brown rice spaghetti pasta)
Sauteed Zucchini
Goldfish crackers
Graham Crackers
Peaches
Grapes
Blueberries
Bananas
Strawberries
Yogurt (eaten daily)
Toast
Polska Kielbasa
chickpeas
Toast
Bagel
Cheerios
Black Beans
Green Beans
Corn
Veggie straws (see pic below)
My mom’s famous “Skinny Pancakes” (aka Crepes) sans butter and syrup

My last note about it all is that I learned not to be so rigid either way about feeding my baby. I’m not anti-spoon or anti-jars of baby food. I feed Collin a yogurt with a spoon daily. When we are out, I bring what we call a “Squeezy Yogurt” and I spoon feed it to him for ease and convenience (so that’s basically baby food in a tube –I said we haven’t done JARRRRS… I didna say “zero tubes”, see? S’what I’m sayin’.) I do not delight in big, sloppy messes so I tend to spoon feed Collin the sloppy stuff and let him self-feed the less sloppy stuff. As long as the breast milk floweth (and I thank Jesus for such a gift, not every mother can), I’m not too worried. We all learn the trade eventually.

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