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Thread: Baby Led Weaning

  1. #1

    Baby Led Weaning


    I am laying out a plan to introduce solids to my 4 month old son when he turns 6 months soon. Is it safe to adapt Baby Led Weaning? I see some parents do that to their children with success; but I am afraid my bub will choke.

  2. #2
    Dear Kimdamycin,

    Welcome to the Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond forum. Thank you for your question.

    Yes we are fans of baby led weaning (blw) on this forum; the blw book by Gill Rapley contains everything you need to know about this. Blw is an evidence-based form of weaning. Rapley (a health professional herself) explains that choking is very rare with blw. Sometimes a baby may cough or gag whilst they are eating and learning to bring the food towards the front of the mouth; whilst this can sound noisy it is not the same as choking. You should avoid nuts and food with stones in babies and young children.

    The mantra of blw is 'food is for fun until they are one' and infants learn to handle eat and explore solid food at their own speed. It is an excellent compliment to breastfeeding because it helps a baby to keep milk as their prominent source of nutrients up to 12 months of age. You are right that it is best to wait until your baby turns 6 months to begin weaning (for the majority of babies) and your baby should also be showing signs of developmental readiness before you begin any form of weaning (such as reaching for food and able to sit up alone).

    Blw helps to develop a babies movement skills (for example, by frequently using the 'pincer grip') and social skills (by eating the same food as you and enjoying family meal-times from the very start).

    Please do post back with any further questions you have on blw here.

    Warm wishes,

  3. #3
    Dear LJ,

    Thank you for the prompt reply. I am glad that this forum supports BLW. I feel that this will help me a lot with my journey to BLW. I hope that my son and I will be successful, my in-laws are not in favor; they just don't get the idea that their grandson will play with his food.

    Another question by the way, shall I delay BLW if my bub turns 6 months but still can't sit without support? Also, do I start offering him water, too?

    Thank you!


  4. #4
    Dear Kimdamycin,

    Thanks for your reply. I can understand your son's grandparents being unsure at first - to many in their generation baby led weaning is a totally new concept. This blw factsheet is excellent for sharing with grandparents. You could emphasise to your parents-in-law that the lastest research supports blw and that unicef is also in support of it. Moreover, it is recommended by health professionals and helps to support a healthy continued breastfeeding relationship.

    You can start offering your baby either water or expressed breastmilk when he starts with blw. A 'sippy cup' is excellent for this. Your baby will probably only want a few sips at meal times. Yes you can delay starting blw until past 6 months; 6 months is the average for meeting the necessary milestones. However, many babies will be closer to 7 months. Under 12 months of age a baby gets by far the majority of their required nutrients from the breastmilk (over 95%). At 6-7 months this will be more like over 99%. With blw many babies do not actually start swallowing the food until around 8 months plus. Before this they are mainly exploring the textures and mouthfeels.

    Warm wishes,
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 11th April 2014 at 11:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Thanks LJ!

    The factsheet is very helpful. I will definitely show it to my in-laws.

    I still direct breastfeeding my bub, another concern of mine is the sippy cup; but I think it's about time to start teaching him to drink from a cup. Can the sippy cup cause nipple confusion?

    Should I also expect my boy not to gain much weight because he won't be swallowing until he turns 8 months? Should I also need to learn CPR and other first aid just in case I'm one of the unfortunate mothers who will be experiencing choking?

    Warm regards,

  6. #6

    I'm glad that factsheet is helpful to you.

    Nipple confusion really only occurs if you offer artificial teats (bottles or dummies) when breastfeeding is still being established (i.e. in the first 12 weeks of life generally speaking). Once breastfeeding is well-established and you have no problems then nipple confusion is very unlikely to occur. But actually nipple confusion would not occur with a sippy cup because this is not an artificial nipple.

    Actually the type of cup that is best is a Doidy cup. This uses a similar natural mouth action to breastfeeding and is thought to strengthen the mouth muscles which aid speech and language development. Six months is an ideal age to start using this cup. Note that it is best not to feed your baby water before six months of age but to exclusively breastfeed.

    If learning CPR would make you feel more comfortable then there is no harm in doing this. Actually a baby is more likely to choke if they are spoon fed because they will not be able to naturally control the amount of food they put in their mouth and many spoon-fed babies struggle with foods of different textures (even though this has been pureed).

    Your baby will still gain weight normally with blw because remember that at 8 months of age a baby will still get over 95% of their nutrients from the breastmilk. They will get the remaining nutrients from sucking and eating small amounts of food during blw. Even a spoon fed baby should get this percentage of nutrients from their milk at 8 months of age. It can appear that a spoon fed baby is eating more but most of it will come straight out in their nappy (just with pureed food it is harder to tell if it has been properly digested or not).

    Please do continue to ask all your interesting questions here!

    Warm wishes,
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 13th April 2014 at 05:05 AM.

  7. #7
    Thank you LJ!

    Yes, I still have concerns regarding BLW. I am aware that I will be serving him the food we serve on the table but I am watchful for allergies because it runs on my side of the family. Would it be better if I apply the 3-day rule? If so, what's the best first food to offer my bub?


  8. #8
    Dear kimdaycin,

    Do have a look at the book because I think it will help to reassure you.

    Which specific allergies are on your side of the family? You could avoid certain food for now. It would not really work to do blw but only offer one type of food at a time (is this what you were thinking about?) because of the way this weaning technique allows your baby to choose from a wide variety of offered food.

    I think it is good that you are looking into weaning techniques in detail in advance - very wise.

    Warm wishes,

  9. #9
    Dear LJ,

    Yes, I will surely make time to read the book about BLW.

    Asthma and allergies run on my side of the family. My father and brother have asthma; I was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticaria. I even had immunotherapy before I got pregnant. My skin test revealed that I am allergic mostly to inhaled allergens but I also tested positive for cantaloupes, egg whites, and some seafoods. My sibling's skin tests came out different. My brother tested positive for citrus and white rice while my sister is positive for kiwi, strawberries, banana, and chicken.

    When I got pregnant, my allergies subsided and until now, I never suffered from any flareups. Hopefully this will fade away completely-- my OB said that pregnancy may somehow lessen allergies.

    I really want to apply BLW so as early as now I am trying to lay out my plan in detail because another major concern of mine are allergies. Do you think it is still possible that doing BLW will still be a success despite this condition?


  10. #10
    Dear Kim,

    Yes I do think it should still be possible and, moreover, would hopefully give your baby the best start to a healthy diet with no/minimal allergies. Have a look at this page on allergies and blw - I think the author explains some helpful methods on this subject.

    Warm wishes,

  11. #11
    Dear LJ,

    Will surely look into it. Thanks for the BIG help! You're such an angel!


  12. #12
    It's a pleasure Kim. You are very welcome. Keep asking those interesting questions!

    Warm wishes,

  13. #13
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I'd also suggest that if mum or dad have known food allergies, that you introduce those last, to your child, as they could have a bigger chance of being an allergen for your child.

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