Would you: Do Baby Led Weaning?

It’s a big month for us this month. Aside from #JanuaryJoy (yes, it’s still going on and there will be more posts this week!) Beatrice turns 6 months soon and we’re thinking about weaning. It seemed the perfect time to get these discussion and sharing posts going again and hear your thoughts on weaning. Please do share your thoughts and experiences – both myself and the readers find these posts so helpful I know, so thanks in advance!


Image from Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food

So, weaning. I think I’ve said before that I live in quite a hippyish area of Manchester and I could be forgiven for thinking that everyone does baby led weaning. Before having Bea it seemed like BLW was just the thing to do but I wasn’t sure if I was fully on board with it – it looked messy and I wondered if it was just the latest middle class fad. Since having Bea my thoughts were that I couldn’t do BLW; I’m going back to work when she is 8 months old and as she has thus far been exclusively breast fed (and I have no plans to add in formula once she’s over 6 months,) I’m aware some of her milk feeds will drop, even if I express and that she will need to be getting some nutrition elsewhere.

So I bought the baby led weaning book, fully expecting to disregard it but I am strangely drawn to the idea now. For those not familiar, the book suggests allowing your baby to start eating soft but normal foods (like steamed broccoli for example,) anytime after 6 months that they show an interest. No purees, no spoon feeding, just let them feed themselves. The catch is that the first couple of months or more are very much about learning and playing with food. Babies don’t know how to chew food or pass it back to their throat to swallow initially, but then slowly learn and improve. Milk feeds remain the vast if not entire basis of their nutrition which on reflection actually makes more sense as breast or formula milk is way more nutritious than a bowl of pureed carrot or apple will ever be.

And now I don’t know what to do. I think I want to do BLW. It seems right for Bea and for us. Everything we have done so far has been based around listening to her – her sleep routines and so on but is that because they suited us? Some passages in the book liken giving purees to force feeding and make it sound awful, when like many other baby methods in various books on sleep or behaviour, millions of children have been brought up like that without damaging lasting effects. I don’t really buy into the theory that BLW makes kids less fussy and choose healthier options in later life – surely fussiness is natural toddler behaviour thats inevitable as they get to exercise some choice combined with a bit of boundary pushing, and once a child is exposed to sugars etc, won’t they need some parental moderation of those things naturally? I do however like the idea of her self moderating her intake, just as she has whilst BF. On the other hand with pureeing Bea would eat what I gave her, I wouldn’t have to worry about the salt or sugar contents as I’d be making it and she would no doubt progress easily to being less milk reliant as I go back to work. I still plan to keep feeding her as long as expressing, feeding when I’m home (which is going to be 4 days out of 7 after all,) and my milk supply allows. I wonder if my leaning towards BLW is partly emotional attachment to BF – I do feel guilty that my return to work may impact on her feeding even though I know I should hold onto it as long as possible given the benefits to both of us. Many people tell me that their BF baby just has water or initially some expressed bottles when they are apart, then BF as usual when they are together, but is that me being selfish and hanging onto it, when she might actually really miss it or be hungry in my absence?

So, there’s lots of food for thought there and I’d love to hear your experiences, particularly around your return to work. In case it’s relevant, she won’t be at nursery initially but with my mum at our house or with Pete, so whatever we choose will be easy to continue in my absence.

Wade in readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… Use a Dummy?

One of Bea’s most/least endearing behaviours is her vast repertoire of noises, made mostly when asleep in her crib, leaving me wide awake at night. She doesn’t do it as much in the day as she is often either in my arms or in the sling and having listened to these noises extensively over the last 7 weeks, they seem to mainly be made when she is getting herself to sleep or in light sleep. It’s probably the only thing about having her that has been a challenge so far, as it’s so frustrating to listen to when I’m trying to get a couple of hours sleep before the next feed!

When I was little I had a dummy, so did my sister and like so many things pre-baby, I never really had a problem with them before. I still don’t on other children. The only time I register it really is when you see some kids with a dummy in 24/7, but really, each to their own. One long night listening to her I thought, I wonder if a dummy will keep her quiet? She’s not a particularly ‘sucky’ baby and doesn’t for example need to fall asleep on the breast, she will happily be rocked off cuddling or in the last week or two in her crib by herself at night. But, if you put a finger in her mouth she will also drift off sucking that too and even better, soundlessly!

There’s a lot of chatter about dummies – some people just don’t like them, there’s the ongoing debate over whether it can cause ‘nipple confusion‘ in breast feeding babies and also if it can reduce feeding demand because the suck reflex is overused. It’s often recommended that you don’t use them before a certain age (6 weeks minimum) too. On top of all that is the whole dummy versus thumb discussion and which is better for a developing mouth and teeth? (FYI – Bea has found her thumb and does suck it but not at any particular time or as a comforter particularly…) I actually bought some dummies before Bea arrived and now I kind of don’t want to use them. Pete is dead against it as he feels it is too early and we’ll never get her to give the dummy up. Typically Pete’s judgement isn’t coloured by lack of sleep as he has ear plugs in when he is working the next day! My thoughts were that it would simply be a night time thing to get her to keep quiet (if it worked at all!) and drift off quicker so I could get more sleep. But would it then become something she was dependent on to sleep and cause her to wake if it fell out etc? Would I be making a rod for my own back?

So readers, I thought this was a good topic for discussion today… would you or have you given your child a dummy? Are you happy with that decision? Why did you give it and did it work? I’d love to hear your experiences…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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