Daisy Led Weaning. aka DLW.
Just before turning six months I started introducing solids to Daisy in the form of pureed food. The first thing I started with was baby cereal. Daisy hated it and wouldn’t have another bite. She threw her arms up in front of her face to block the spoon. I tried giving her mashed avocado and she hated it as well (“Im not a basic B, mom!”). Panic settled and I quickly researched ways I could start Daisy on solids. I came across baby led weaning. In our case I like to call it “Daisy Led Weaning”.
What is “Baby Led Weaning” a.k.a BLW
Most parents expect to transition from milk feedings to spoon feeding their babies; also known as weaning. In most cases this is led by the parents. They decide when their babies will eat. In our case, Daisy hated it. This is when we discovered “baby led weaning”. Baby led weaning is when you put food in front of your baby and they will take it upon themselves to pick up the food and put it in their mouth. If they like it they will grab more. If they don’t like it, they will spit it out and might not reach for more. In daisy’s case, she would start squishing and throwing around her food when she wasn’t interested in eating it!
Just after Daisy turned six months, we started putting food in front of her to see how she would react. We started with rice and scrambled eggs. She loved it. She would grab rice by one hand and eggs in the other and would literally just shovel it in her face. It was really funny to watch! When she’s had enough, she would just play with her food by moving it around her tray. Or she would throw it on the ground. Not so fun to watch. Definitely not fun to clean up.
Foods I started with:
- Banana slices
- Orange wedges
- Steamed broccolli and cauliflower
- Snap peas (raw)
- Barley (cooked)
- Bread (sometimes toasted)
- roasted or steamed yams
- roasted or steamed butternut squash
By seven months Daisy was eating just about everything including foods that were considered highly allergenic such as peanut butter and shellfish. I was giving her meat; shredded beef or pork, chicken, ground beef and fish. I was also slowly incorporating some dairy into her diet by letting her eat small pieces of cheese and putting butter on toast or in her mashed potatoes.
Constipation during Baby Led Weaning
At some point it seemed like she was getting really constipated. It would take her two to three days to have a bowel movement and she would cry when she was taking a poop. It made me so sad to see her cry while pooping so I tried to incorporate more water into her diet. I did this by trying to give her water in a sippy cup but she would just play with it. I don’t think she was really drinking it and she wouldn’t drink water out of her bottle either.
Finally I tried giving her purees again. Adding lots of water in whatever I pureed. I gave her runny pureed yams, potato, peas, butternut squash, pears, cereal and bananas. She was still getting a bit constipated so I started pureeing prunes for her. She loved it and she was no longer getting constipated. #momwin.
My pureed prune recipe:
5-6 whole pitted prunes
2-3 tbsp hot water (add more for desired consistency)
Blend in a food processor or blender.
Now that she’s ten months I am giving her more “advanced” flavours. I have been giving her things like lentil soup, turkey meatballs and chickpea curry. It was surprising to see how much she liked these foods. I had to add a little more food to my plate because I didn’t expect to give her so much of it!
Criticism of Baby Led Weaning
A lot of people may not approve of the baby led weaning approach and I have faced many criticisms such as “the food pieces you’re giving her are too big, she’ll choke” or “its too messy, she’ll learn to eat properly later”.
I did my part and read up enough content on baby led weaning to know that the benefits outweigh the risks. Also, if you read up on how to do it safely it will be less likely that your baby will choke. Plus you just need to supervise your baby at all times when they’re eating.
If you want to gain that extra boost of confidence, take an infant/child CPR or first aid course.
Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
She’s learning to feed herself early. She’s learning hand-eye coordination as well as improving her finger dexterity. I also like the fact that she’s learning to chew, swallow and spit up food. She gagged a lot in the beginning and it would scare a lot of people but she was just getting used to swallowing different textures and things thicker than milk. It also helped me see what textures and sizes she could handle so I could prepare her next meal better.
Advice on starting Baby Led Weaning
Of course, before giving any solids, I would wait until six months or until you have discussed it with your doctor or pediatrician. I would assume that most physicians and even dieticians will not recommend baby led weaning right away. They will most likely encourage you to start with purees. When starting baby on solids, you’re supposed to start with baby cereal then introduce veggies and then finally give some fruits. I didn’t exactly go in this order and Daisy has no problem with switching back from one to the other.
I’m not going to give out any advice on how to start BLW because it can be pretty risky and I am not qualified to do so whatsoever. However, I will say that if you really want to start it, it’s best that you do your due diligence. Be informed and do as much research you can on the topic. I myself attended a class that was being held by a dietician, read some books, looked it up on the internet (of course), and just talked to other moms doing BLW. That’s the best I can do and it seemed to work out just fine!
Happy eating mommas and babes!