breastmilk, feedings, breastfeeding, blw, solid foods, nutrition

Breastmilk or solid foods? Weighing up the issues

Breastmilk or solid foods? Weighing up the issues

 

Parents who are following Baby Led Weaning (BLW) sometimes have questions or concerns if their baby seems to rely on breastmilk feeds and doesn’t eat very much solid food, especially when they get to around a year old.

First off, I would like to thank Gill Rapley, who wrote the following text about BLW. I’m sharing it because it’s so useful to parents who follow me. Thank you Gill!

Questions include:

  • How quickly should milk feeds be phased out?
  • Does a greater reliance on breastmilk (or formula) lead to slower weight gain?
  • Will cutting down the milk feeds help my baby eat more solid food?

 

For simplicity, I’ll assume that the ‘milk’ in question is breastmilk. Breastmilk has more intrinsic value for the infant than formula. Especially  in terms of protection from infection. However, much of what follows may well apply to formula feeding as well.

(Please note: I’m not in a position to offer individual advice for babies I have never met, and would not seek to override the advice of health professionals regarding babies whose health may be a genuine cause for concern, so this is a general discussion.)

 

Background – why do people expect weaning to happen quickly?

 

For many years babies were started on solid foods at four months of age (or even younger). So the transition to family meals was actively controlled by their caregivers. Parents were encouraged to cut out milk feeds and increase the amount of solid food eaten by the baby. This was to be done according to a pre-determined schedule. Pureed or mashed food would be spoon fed to babies and they were encouraged to drink lots of cow’s milk.

The aim was to completely replace breastmilk (or formula) with a mixed diet of solid food and cow’s milk by the first birthday. At the same time, a huge rise in formula feeding led to a lack of confidence in breastfeeding. Formula allowed parents to control their babies’ intake from the moment of birth. However, it was in a way that was impossible (and undesirable) with breastfeeding. All of this made artificially controlling the transition to solid foods easy because:

  • the quantity of formula taken at each feed could be cut down at a rate decided by the caregiver
  • the baby could be encouraged to take more solid food than he or she really wanted. (Mouthfuls of puree are difficult to spit out and tend to be swallowed quickly, with no need to chew)

 

What could  happen when parents control the pace of weaning?

 

The pace of weaning was put firmly in the hands of care givers, rather than of babies themselves. So the transition to solids was artificially speeded up so that it would occur more quickly than would happen naturally.

The upshot of all this is that many parents, grandparents and professionals are concerned when they see a baby of around a year old eating very little solid food. A one-year-old relying mainly on milk feeds, with just a few tastes of other foods, may appear to be ‘abnormal’. This may give caregivers a possible indication that something is ‘wrong’. If that baby is self-feeding, as in BLW, they assume that the answer is to take control and manage his feeding for him. This is usually done by introducing purees and spoon feeding, or by actively reducing feeds of breastmilk or formula – or both- even though there is no evidence that this does anything to improve a baby’s health.

breastmilk, feedings, breastfeeding, blw, solid foods, nutrition
For breastfed infants the quantity of milk intake is up to the baby, thus the decision to stop or continue feeding is made by the infant themselves.

What about nutrition?

 

There is no rationale for pushing solid foods at the expense of breastmilk. No solid food comes close to the concentration of nutrients in breastmilk. So, mouthful for mouthful, breastmilk will always provide better total nutrition than any other food. Seeking to replace breastmilk in a child’s diet risks them being less well nourished, not more. (This is the reason many societies give breastmilk to sick or elderly people who can’t manage large quantities of other foods.)

All that babies need, once they’re over six months, is access to small amounts of other foods to make sure they’re getting enough micro-nutrients. Of these, iron (and zinc) are probably the most important. However, the amounts of food needed to supply these needs are extremely small, especially if red meat is included. (Note: An individual baby’s stores of iron can be affected by the timing of the cutting of the umbilical cord at birth. If it is left to finish pulsating, the baby gets the maximum amount of iron possible, making it likely that his stores will last well beyond six months.)

 

How important is breastmilk?

 

As explained above, the rush to replace breastmilk is a throwback from when we didn’t know much about its constituents. As well as when we didn’t understand how inadequate cow’s milk is as a substitute. In the light of more recent evidence of the value of breastmilk it’s clear that, rather than preventing them from eating other foods, breastmilk provides an important safety net for a child whose appetite for other foods is small. Put another way, if a child isn’t thriving on a diet of breastmilk with other foods, the thing that makes least sense is to replace the breastmilk! Plus, there are reported cases of babies who were later found to have digestive problems or allergies, and whose intake of breastmilk turned out to be crucial to their survival and well-being. We need a very good reason to deny babies access to their mother’s breast at any age.

 

Does intake of solids offer better nutrition than breastmilk?

 

Many health practitioners believe that spoon feeding will increase the baby’s intake of solid food in addition to their milk.  This simply doesn’t work if the baby is breastfed. Provided they are allowed to feed whenever they want, breastfeeding babies are always in charge of their milk intake. It’s impossible to persuade them to continue feeding at the breast when they’ve taken all their body tells them they need. This natural appetite control means that, if their tummy is full of solids, they will take less breastmilk to compensate.

So, like it or not, the solid food will replace breastmilk, not add to it. This will reduce, not increase, the baby’s overall nutrition. (Note: This approach can be made to work with formula feeding because it’s possible to encourage the baby to continue feeding beyond the point where they would naturally stop. Unfortunately, this also teaches them to routinely ignore signs of fullness and is one possible reason why formula feeding is linked to obesity.)

baby, formula feeds, nutrition, intake

 

What about weight?

 

As well as providing energy, most of what babies eat and drink maintains their body systems and growing new cells. Of course some weight gain is expected as babies grow. We should note that what is recognized nowadays as ‘normal’ weight gain is less than it used to be. We no longer believe that ‘bigger is better’ where babies are concerned. However, we have a legacy of attaching huge importance to weight that is hard to move away from. In addition, weighing has wrongly been seen as a good way to assess whether breastfeeding is ‘working’. There has been an inappropriate additional focus on weight for breastfed babies.

 

It’s important to bear in mind that weight gain is rarely regular or constant. The overall pattern over a period of weeks or months is more meaningful than one or two weights taken individually. Some babies and toddlers’ weight slows down for a while to compensate for an earlier period of rapid gain. Plus, if there weren’t some naturally small (and large) babies, the centile lines on the weight charts wouldn’t be there.

 

baby, weight, solids, health, growth, toddler,

 

 What are the other health indicators ?

Weight is only one guide to a child’s health. Equally important observations are length, head circumference, muscle tone, appetite, bowel habits, temperature, color and energy levels. Any one of these may temporarily give rise to concern but on its own rarely indicates anything sinister. Although it may trigger a need to undertake further investigations. In particular, length and head circumference can often be better indicators of a child’s growth than weight. If both these are on target then it’s unlikely there’s anything wrong.

 

Babies are weighed primarily to signal any illnesses that might otherwise have gone unnoticed (digestive disorders, growth hormone deficiencies and heart defects). Given the calorie content of breastmilk, it is very unlikely that a baby whose appetite for solid food is small but who is feeding well and frequently at the breast will not be getting all the nourishment they need. The response to any concern about weight should therefore be to compare it with other observations. Then if necessary, investigate further, not to use the weight as a reason to swap breastmilk for solid food. If there are any suspicions that an individual baby’s gentle (‘slow’) weight gain may be due to an underlying illness, then those suspicions should be acted upon – because whatever it is won’t go away just by forcing the baby to eat more.

 

The key message

In summary, we need to adjust our expectations about what babies should be eating in the last part of their first year. Unless there is good reason to suppose otherwise, we should assume that those who choose to eat only small amounts of solid foods are simply letting their parents know that breastmilk is doing a great job. They will phase out breastfeeding when they are ready. Meanwhile, all we need to do is carry on including them in healthy, relaxed family mealtimes. This way they can make their own decisions about when they feel ready to share those meals more fully.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

 

What’s your main concern about your baby making the switch from primarily milk feeds to solid foods? Comment below!

 

baby.blw,eating,good,eater,solid foods

My baby isn’t a good eater

My baby isn’t a good eater

 

It’s common for parents (and grandparents) to worry because their baby is ‘not eating well’, especially as the baby gets older. Parents are often told that he or she should be eating a full family diet by their first birthday. But is being a ‘good’ eater really necessary for the baby?

I would like to thank Gill Rapley, the one who coined the term Baby Led Weaning (BLW) who wrote the text below. Please check out her website for more information at rapleyweaning.com.


What’s normal?

 


BLW babies follow their own patterns when starting solid food. For example, your baby may:


• Set off enthusiastically, munching on everything in sight, gradually swallowing more and more of it and never looking back. (Probably the least common pattern)


• Progress slowly but steadily through looking, experimenting, licking and tasting, and then eating, gradually increasing the amount she consumes.


• Eat almost nothing for weeks or months (with or without being keen to touch and taste) and then suddenly show enthusiasm for food.


• Set off enthusiastically and then seem to lose interest in food altogether.


None of these patterns suggests a problem. Most BLW babies don’t eat significant amounts of solid food until they reach 8 or 9 months, and some not until after their first birthday. Those who start off enthusiastically and then lose interest simply enjoy the novelty of food more than those who start more slowly. When that wears off, they slow down for a while. [Note, though, that if a baby of 6-8 months shows no interest in picking up food or any other objects (such as toys or keys) and exploring them with her mouth it’s possible there’s an underlying reason, such as delayed development, so she should be checked by a doctor.]

 

baby,eating,good,eater,solid foods,blw
This baby is thoroughly enjoying her meal!

Putting things into perspective

A normally developing, healthy baby who appears to be ‘not eating well’ is probably just eating less than his parents or others think he should. In the second half of their first year, the only nutrients babies need in addition to breast milk are iron and zinc. A few licks or bites (not mouthfuls!) each day from foods rich in these minerals, such as meat and eggs, is almost certainly enough to provide this. Babies don’t starve themselves – if they are hungry, they will eat. The problem is that our expectations of how much babies should eat tends to be based on the amounts they eat when they’re spoon fed. But …

 

  • Spoon feeding (by someone else) is not a natural part of babies’ development. It just became the usual method of feeding when it was thought babies needed solid food before they were old enough to feed themselves.
  • Spoon feeding and purees make it difficult for babies to follow their appetite. They tend to swallow mouthfuls faster and end up eating more than they really need.
  • Pureed food contains a lot of liquid – so it may look like more food than it really is.
  • Pressuring a baby to eat certain foods, or more than they want, can lead to problems
    such as picky eating or food refusal.
  • Breast-milk (or formula) can continue to provide most of a baby’s nourishment well beyond one year.

 

breast milk, breat feeding, blw, nourishment, nutrients, food, eating, eater
Despite baby’s introduction to solid foods, breastfeeding (or formula) remains the primary source of nourishment.

What are the signs of a ‘ good eater ‘?

 

If you think your baby is a ‘poor eater’, the solution is not to try to change what the baby is doing but to redefine what you think makes a good eater. A good eater is a baby who:


• responds to his own appetite (eating when he’s hungry, stopping when he’s had enough)
• drinks as much breastmilk or formula as he needs
• has the opportunity to try lots of different foods, without any pressure
• can choose the nutrients he needs (from healthy food offered)
• is interested in exploring food and practising self-feeding skills
• enjoys mealtimes

If your baby does all of these things, he’s a good eater – even if he doesn’t actually swallow very much at all!


What should I do?

 

  • Continue to offer breastfeeds or formula whenever your baby wants. Restricting milk feeds (as parents are sometimes advised to do in the hope the baby will eat more solid food) is likely to mean less nourishment not more.
  • Continue to share mealtimes with your baby, giving her the opportunity to explore and taste a range of healthy foods.
  •  If your baby is over 10 months, don’t keep giving her back food that has been deliberately thrown on the floor. This is her way of saying “No thanks”.
  • Try offering foods in smaller pieces, or introducing cutlery. Some babies get bored with being treated as newbies and want to practise more advanced skills!
  • Don’t make a fuss if your baby doesn’t seem to like something. Just carry on offering some of whatever you are eating. (Some babies persistently avoid certain foods and are later found to be allergic to them, so it may be wise to trust your baby.)
  • Remember that it’s normal for a baby who is unsettled for some reason (starting daycare for example) or becoming unwell, to go off solid food for a while and want more milk.

 

Baby-led weaning is about nurturing a good relationship with food, not about persuading babies to eat what we think they should. All babies spontaneously move on to other foods in their own time. As a parent, all you need to do is make food available, within reach, and to act as a role model by including the baby in your own mealtimes. Your baby will take care of everything else.

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

 

I’d like to know: is your baby a good eater? Why or why not? Comment below!

 

baby, sitting, up, upright, blw, solid foods, introduction

Sitting upright – what does it mean?

Sitting upright – what does it mean?

 

‘ Able to sit upright ‘ is recognized as one of the key signs of readiness for solid foods, and especially for BLW. But what does it mean and why does it matter? Let’s start with why it matters …

First off, I would like to thank Gill Rapley, who wrote the following text about Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I’m sharing it because it’s so useful to parents who follow me. Thank you Gill!

 

Why does sitting upright matter?

 

  • Readiness: If your baby can’t yet sit upright, that’s a fairly good sign that his wider development hasn’t reached the point of readiness, either. Chewing skills and digestive abilities tend to develop at the same pace as a baby’s ability to sit upright. If your baby is offered food before he’s developmentally ready to manage it, his gut may be exposed to food too soon and he will be more at risk of choking.

 

  • Safety: Babies need to be upright to coordinate swallowing and breathing easily. They can’t do this if they’re slumped forwards or sideways. They also need to be able to control food inside their mouth. This is so that it doesn’t slip backwards, towards their airway, before it’s ready to be swallowed. A leaning-back position makes this very tricky – and therefore dangerous. Imagine lying back to eat, or trying to chew with your chin on your chest. See how uncomfortable and unsafe these positions would be?

 

  • Self-feeding: Babies need to be able to lean forward to reach food, pick it up with both hands, and look around – all without losing their balance. To do this they must be stable in an upright position.

 

balance, stable, baby, BLW,sitting, upright
This baby is able to lean forward without losing her balance.

What is ‘upright’?

 

Definitions of ‘upright’ depend on a baby’s developmental stage. This can be confusing when you’re looking for the one that means your baby is ready to start BLW:

From birth a baby can be held in an upright position if the whole trunk and spine is supported. She can’t do it alone.

Sometime after 5 months babies start to be able to hold their head and trunk erect if they are supported around the hips.

 

sitting, upright, blw, solid foods, support, baby
Here is a 5 month old baby who is able to hold it’s head and trunk upright since there is support at the hips.

By 7 to 8 months most babies are able to stay in a sitting position for a minute or so on the floor, with no support.

By 8 to 9 months babies are starting to be able to get into a sitting position from a lying down or crawling position.

 

The importance of upright positioning

 

What matters for safe eating, and for BLW, is that your baby can support her head and trunk in an upright position for long enough to explore some food – and to eat it, if she’s ready. If she needs a bit of support around her hips to do this, that’s fine. There’s no need to wait until she can stay upright with no support at all. No need to wait until she can get herself into a sitting position. There’s also no ‘60-second rule’, as some believe. It’s the position and balance above her pelvis that she needs to be able to maintain. A normally developing baby will be able to sit upright well enough to allow her to handle food and eat safely by six months or soon after. If you notice that this is not the case with your baby, I suggest making an appointment with an occupational therapist or pediatric physical therpist.

 

baby,blw,sitting,up, upright,stability

 

How to help your baby to sit comfortably and safely

 

There are several options for helping to make exploring food easy and safe for your baby:

  • Sit him on your lap, facing the table, and support his hips with a hand on either side of his bottom (not around his waist, which will restrict his movement). Many babies like the reassurance of this closeness at their first few meals
  • For picnics, or eating on the floor, sit your baby between your legs, facing forwards. This allows you to have both hands free while also providing the support he needs.
  • If your baby is happy in a high chair, then a rolled-up towel around his hips can fill the space between his bottom and the sides of the chair. If the seat is slippery a small towel between his legs will help to stop him sliding forward.
  • Older babies, and toddlers, are likely to find a foot rest helpful. (Worth remembering when buying a high chair!)
  • So, your baby is ready to get started with baby-led weaning as soon as he is able to sit upright securely and stably enough to handle food safely and effectively – with a little bit of support from you if he needs it.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

 

Have you noticed your baby sitting upright and would like to try BLW? Comment below!

 

dme, alimentation autonome, purées

Can you switch to BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

Is it safe to combine spoon feeding and BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

 

I often get asked if it’s possible to switch from traditional spoon feeding to baby-led weaning (BLW), or to do a bit of both (what some call “combination feeding”). Some people say that you have to wait 2 weeks between spoon feeding before offering pieces of food but I’m here to tell you that you don’t. Purees are just another texture. Some parents decide to spoon feed their baby at first and now want to try offering pieces of food. I’m here to tell you that’s it’s never too late to start offering pieces of food to your baby but it is important to proceed safely, no matter what approach you decide to opt for. According to this research study, children introduced to lumpy food after 9 months eat less fruit and vegetables at 7 years old and have more feeding problems, so don’t offer purees forever!

What is BLW anyway?

 

With Baby Led Weaning (BLW), parents offer whole pieces of food to their baby and let them feed themselves starting at around 6 months of age. In this case, babies aren’t spoon fed by someone else.

 

Can mashed foods or purees be offered to a baby who is doing BLW?

 

If mashed foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes or apple sauce are on the menu, you can offer them in loaded spoons and let your baby bring them to their mouth on their own. All you need to do is offer the loaded spoon’s handle to your baby and let him or her feed him or herself. To learn more about how to offer loaded spoons to your baby, sign up to my online course here.

 

 

Can we switch to BLW?

 

Yes! I firmly believe that it’s never too late to switch to BLW. While a baby who has been started on purees and spoon feeding can’t truly be defined as having been fully BLW’d, it’s never too late to offer pieces of food. 

 

Everyone is entitled to change their approach when they learn something new, or when they discover that what they’ve chosen isn’t working for them.

 

Can we ‘do a bit of both’?

 

I am totally in favour of parents doing whatever works best for them and their child. If this involves a combination of spoon feeding and self-feeding, great! What this isn’t, though, is a combination of the BLW approach and the traditional approach – it’s really just the traditional approach, but starting at six months old (from when the introduction of finger foods alongside spoon-fed pureed or mashed food has always been recommended). BLW is about more than just offering your baby food to pick up – it’s about trusting him to know what he needs. If you’re topping him up with a spoon after he’s had a go with his hands, then you’re not really doing that.

 

The bottom line is that trusting your baby and not quite trusting him are simply not compatible.

 

So, while doing some self-feeding and some spoon feeding may work for you, it’s theoretically not full BLW. 

 

A lot of parents who say they are ‘doing a bit of both’ are in fact just following traditional approach, without realizing it. The reason is to do with timing: BLW was beginning to be talked about at around the same time (2002) as the minimum recommended age for solid feeding was changing from four months to six months. The result is that many parents don’t realize that finger foods were already recommended from six months – alongside purees – prior to this. They therefore believe that offering their baby any finger foods means they are ‘doing (some) BLW’. 

 

Why does this matter?

 

Does the definition of BLW really matter? I believe it does, for two reasons. First, it matters for parents who are hearing about BLW for the first time. If they are to make an informed decision about how they want to approach weaning with their baby they need to understand the underpinning ethos of BLW. If they don’t, they may implement only part of it and then be dismayed when it doesn’t ‘work’. Worse, they may do something dangerous, such as putting lumps of food into their baby’s mouth ‘for her’, which could lead to her choking.

 

The second reason I believe the definition matters is to enable an increase in knowledge about children and food – globally. If what we think may be the lifelong benefits for babies of being BLW’d (better eating habits, less risk of obesity etc.) are to be proven – or even disproven – by research, then studies need to define clearly and unambiguously what ‘true’ BLW is. If researchers set out to compare babies who have been BLW’d with babies weaned the conventional way without accurately defining what those terms mean, then there is a real risk that some babies will be said to have been BLW’d when, for example, they had purees for the first two weeks, or were routinely spoon-fed at certain meals, or were always fed separately from the rest of the family. This muddying of the waters would make the results of the research meaningless, and could well mean that some of the real benefits of BLW don’t show up. 

 

Belonging to the ‘club’

 

So what does this mean for BLW groups and forums? Should parents who are ‘doing a bit of both’, or who started off following a traditional approach and then ‘switched’ to BLW be allowed to be members of the BLW ‘club’? My answer is yes, I think they should. While I do believe it’s important for everyone to be clear whether what they are doing is or isn’t ‘true’ BLW, I don’t believe anyone should feel ostracised for not choosing (or being able) to follow it to the letter. Everyone is different: for some, their support network of family and friends is pro-BLW, while others face resistance every day. Some babies have specific medical or developmental challenges that impact on their eating. For many parents, being able to share others’ experiences is what gives them the courage to keep going at the level they are, or to make the leap to ‘full’ BLW.

 

People meet at different points along the parenting route but we can still be friends and travel together, sharing what we have in common while at the same time respecting our differences. While it’s not helpful to admit people whose intention is to make trouble, I like to think anyone who is genuinely interested in finding out more about BLW would be made to feel welcome in a BLW group.

 

About choking hazards

No matter what approach you choose, your baby can choke. He or she can choke on coins, toys, chips, candies, gum, popcorn and anything, really. That’s why every caregiver needs to know what to do in case their baby is choking. Please refer to this information from the Red Cross and take a first aid class for babies. According to Amy Brown’s research, BLW was not associated with increased risk of choking compared to spoon feeding.

 

Food pouches

Food pouches can be quite practical when out and about but I don’t routinely recommend them because they’re not very stimulating for babies. Babies just suck and swallow the applesauce and don’t even need to chew. It’s quite a passive experience. Here is a question I got from a parent:

“My baby is 14 mo. I give her pouches after a meal if she doesn’t eat much. Do you recommend those?”

I don’t recommend offering pouches after a meal if your baby doesn’t eat much because she will come to expect those if offered regularly. It can lead to more picky eating in the long run. Here and there as a convenient snack, pouches are practical but not on a regular basis. Also, it’s ok if your toddler doesn’t eat much at a meal because she is probably eating every 2-3 hours because of snacks in between meals. If she doesn’t eat much at one meal, that’s ok. She may not be feeling well or may not be hungry so will eat at the next opportunity.

 

I asked the parents who follow me on social media to ask me their questions about purees and solid foods and I answer them below. Do note that I have not met these parents so I always recommend talking to their pediatrician or nutritionist. To get my unlimited support and ask me all your specific questions (and support my business, thank you!), subscribe to my online course. 

William will be 9 months old next week. He’s been eating purees since he was 4 months old, but I’ve always offered him solid foods as well. He eats about 250 g of purées. For a few days now, we always start with the pieces and when he gets tired, he continues with purees to have the same number of grams as usual. Is this a good solution? 

Since your baby is already 9 months old, he is able to handle finger foods himself. It is certain that by stopping spoon-feeding, there will be a transition period where he will eat less. During this period, he will take a few more sips of milk and as he practices, he will eat more and more. At this age, he should eat about 3 meals a day and you can offer him food that he can grab himself with his hands. Sticks work well. All you have to do is offer safe, soft and nutrient-filled foods. For your particular situation, you can stop spoon-feeding him and offer him solid foods. For inspiration and recipe ideas, subscribe to my online course. 

 

My daughter is in the nursery and they don’t do BLW so we have started a classic diversification. She is 5 months old and cant sit up straight. When the conditions are right, can we give her solid foods on the weekend and under what conditions? 

I suggest starting introducing solid foods at around 6 months of age, when your baby shows all the signs that she is ready (see my online course). If she is offered purees at the nursery, eats them and it is going well, you can continue like that. If your baby doesn’t want to be fed and doesn’t eat much at all, you can just stop spoon-feeding her until she shows all the signs that she is ready. There is no problem feeding a baby with a spoon in the nursery and offering finger foods at home, as long as the food choice is safe. If you would like your baby to have an active and intuitive experience at all meals, you can discuss with the nursery about the benefits of BLW. Let me know in my online course if you need arguments. 

 

My daughter is 9 months old and started purees at 4.5 months old. She has difficulty with the chunks in the purees but she is getting better. I’m afraid to give her solid foods because when she eats bread, she puts it almost whole in her mouth. It scares me. 

Since your daughter is already 9 months old, you can stop purees and offer her soft and safe solid foods now (see my online course for examples of foods to offer). Here are some tips that can help you in your particular situation: 

  • You can cut her bread into various shapes (squares, rectangles, sticks) so that the feeling is different every time she takes a bite. 
  • You can offer her only one food or even one bite at a time (example: a small bite of bread) to help her take her time. 
  • You can offer her water frequently during the meal in an open cup. This will help her slow down and take her time to eat. 
  • You can introduce safe utensils such as a small fork or spoon. These require more motricity and will slow down her flow. 
  • You can talk to her during lunch about things other than what she is eating. Tell her about her toys, friends, etc. and it will make the meal experience more enjoyable. 

My baby is 7 months old. We started the classic method (cereals) at 4.5 months old, and since the age of 6 months we have been offering him food in pieces and we offer him purees at the end of the meal. Can I give him meatballs, a bell pepper or a cucumber? 

In this particular situation, you can stop feeding your baby puree. We want him to eat by himself, actively and at his own pace so that he eats enough but not too much. There may be a transition period when your baby will eat a little less until he develops the skills through practice. He will drink a little more milk and quickly become an expert eater. If the meatballs are tender enough, they can be offered to your baby, but I don’t recommend raw bell pepper and raw cucumbers to newborns because they are too hard and can cause choking. To find out what you can offer him to eat, subscribe to my online course. 

 

My baby is 7.5 months old. She’s been eating purees since she was 4.5 months old. I want to give her solid foods but she can’t sit up straight yet. Is BLW appropriate for her? 

You can read my answers above to find out how to introduce solid foods. To start introducing solid foods, I recommend that all babies be able to maintain a sitting position for a few seconds (among other things). It is important to offer a variety of textures quickly so don’t wait too long. If your baby is not able to maintain a sitting position for a few seconds at 7.5 months old, I suggest consulting a physiotherapist to see if there is a delay. 

 

My baby is 6 months old and started purees at 5 months old. He eats everything! How can I switch to solid foods? 

Since he eats everything, it is certain that by stopping spoon-feeding, there will be a transition period where he will eat less. During this period, he will take a few more sips of milk. It will only last a few days. If he shows all the signs that he is ready (see my online course), you can introduce soft pieces of solid food and stop giving him purees. 

 

Is it normal that our nursery only offers vegetables to my baby? 

Since your baby has huge nutritional needs, she needs to eat a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, meat or alternatives, good fats and others. I suggest discussing her great needs with the nursery and offering her a wide variety of foods at home. 

 

My baby is 8.5 months old and eats purees. He plays with his food. How do I make him understand that he can eat what I offer him? I want some recipe ideas for his age. 

It is still normal for your baby to play with his food. Playing, licking, throwing and chewing are part of his learning. One day, he crushes a piece of pancake, the next he takes it in his hands, and the one after that he puts it in his mouth. That’s progress! Set an example by eating with him. You can also vary the shapes of the food offered to make it more interesting for him. Here are some recipe ideas for an 8-month-old baby: 

 

Is BLW possible for a 5.5-month-old baby? He eats a little puree but not every day. 

Your 5.5-monthold baby may be BLW ready. He must absolutely show all the signs that he is ready (see my online course for the signs). Since he doesn’t seem to eat a lot of purées, you could just stop offering them and start BLW when he’s ready. 

 

My baby is 5.5 months old and her pediatrician is against BLW (choking). He recommends purees before 6 months. Despite his advice, I want to do BLW. Can I start with the purees and then switch to BLW? 

First, according to Health Canada: 

It is important for parents and caregivers to provide a variety of soft textures (such as lumpy, tenderly cooked and finely chopped, pureed, crushed or ground) and finger foods from the age of six months. 

You can discuss this with your pediatrician so that he is aware of the current recommendations. Some babies need to eat purees before 6 months of age because of a special situation (see your pediatrician). If your baby does not have a special condition, you can wait until she shows all the signs that she is ready and start introducing solid food at that time. At 5.5 months, she may be ready (see my online course), but you may also have to wait 1 to 3 weeks. There is no hurry to get started so if you want to do BLW, wait a while and it will come soon! 

 

My baby is 7 months old and is spoon-fed. She doesn’t eat much and mostly plays with the spoon. We started purees a month ago and eats very little. Can I introduce solid foods? 

Especially if she doesn’t eat much, you can offer her soft pieces of food and so she can play with them (see my online course for food ideas). You can stop giving her purees. There may be a short transition period where she will eat less, but it should not last. Since she plays with the spoon, she will play with food and will probably become an expert eater quickly! 

 

My baby is 4 months old and we started offering him purees. At what age can I combine purees and solid foods? 

If you started purees at 4 months old and it’s going well, you can introduce solid foods as soon as your baby shows the signs that he’s ready (see my online course). Most babies start at around 6 months of age. You will then be able to stop spoon-feeding him. There may be a short transition period when he eats less, but it shouldn’t last. 

If you started purees at around 4 months of age and your baby eats almost nothing, you can stop offering it altogether and introduce solid foods when he is ready, which is around 6 months for most babies. 

 

My baby is 8 months old. He eats rice cookies and pancakes. What else can I give him? 

My online course is a wealth of information for inspiring meals for babies between 6 and 12 months. There are recipes for bites, popsicles, cookies, roasted vegetables and much more. 

 

My baby is 4.5 months old. Is it safe to spoon-feed my baby with his nanny and do BLW at home? 

First, you have to ask yourself why your 4.5-month-old baby needs to start solid foods. It is rare for such a young baby to have a real need for food since his milk meets all his needs until he is about 6 months old. Ideally, I suggest waiting until your baby shows all the signs that he is ready before starting to eat, usually at around 6 months of age. You can start BLW and discuss it with your nanny to make her feel comfortable with the approach. You can even subscribe to my online course and give her access to it so she can watch all the videos of babies who are doing BLW. 

 

My baby is 7.5 months old. I’ve been trying to give him purees since he was 5 months old, but without success. He likes cookies though! What should I do now? 

Since your baby is already 7.5 months old, you can start offering him soft pieces of solid food that he can grab himself. Since he likes to grab the cookie, he will certainly not have a problem with BLW. Get inspiration for examples of meals for your baby in my online course. 

 

What’s important?

Do what is best for your family. Be informed about safe introduction of complementary foods by signing up for my online course. Know that your baby can choke on just about anything so make sure there are no choking hazards around.

 

My BLW Online Course

Check out my Infant Feeding Online Course for parents to get all the answers to your questions. In this course accessible 24/7 and worldwide, you get to ask me an unlimited number of questions and I answer them very quickly. This course is for parents who started purees and want to offer pieces of food and parents just starting out with BLW. No matter what approach you have decided to take, this course is for you because you don’t want to stay on purees forever. The courses don’t expire so sign up anytime and get lifetime access. CHECK OUT MY INFANT FEEDING COURSE TODAY!

Thank you Gill Rapley who contributed to writing parts of this blog post.

kiwi, blw, baby led weaning, baby, babyfood, food

How to Serve Kiwi to Your Baby

How to Serve Kiwi to Your Baby

Looking for a new fruit to serve your baby? Do you want your little one to experience something other than bananas and oranges while doing baby-led weaning? Why not give the kiwi a try! This fuzzy fruit is actually a berry, and pound for pound contains more vitamin C than oranges.

Ripe kiwi has the ideal texture for an infant just starting their real food journey. All that hairy skin comes in handy too. Not only is it edible, but it helps tiny hands get a good grip on an otherwise slippery fruit. Ki-Oui!

 

Watch this video to see how easy it is to prep kiwi for your BLW baby:

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

How to Prepare Kiwi for Your BLW Baby

You want to start by choosing a soft and ripe kiwi. If the fruit is underripe, the white middle section can be tough for babies who are just starting to eat on their own.

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Gently press the skin of the kiwi; if it gives way, it is ripe!

 

Next you want to give the skin a gentle scrub under cold water. It is important that the skin is clean since it will without a doubt go into your curious baby’s mouth.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, fruit, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, vitamin C

 

Take a sharp knife and cut the kiwi into quarters with the skin on. Cut the end corners off each quarter to ensure none of the hard stem area is included.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, fruit, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, vitamin C
Remove the corners to make this kiwi BLW safe

 

Serve it just like that to your baby. If you find the middle section is still too tough, you can remove it before serving. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the skin on and your baby does well without the skin, you can remove it. It’s just that the skin tends to help the kiwi slide less in their mouth. Your choice! Make sure you always supervise your baby when he or she is eating.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, fruit, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, vitamin C
The “key”-wi to your babies health is fresh, whole foods

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

 

Which fruits do you like serving to your BLW baby? Tell us in the comments below!

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, egg, eggs, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, protein

How to Serve Hard Boiled Eggs to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Hard Boiled Eggs to Your BLW Baby

Eggs are a nutritional superpower. They have 14 important nutrients that will help your baby develop, such as vitamins A, D and E, as well as folate, iron, zinc and choline. Not only that, but the protein they contain is of such high quality, that we use eggs as the standard for excellence for all other sources of protein. Wow! Check out my recipe below for the perfect hard boiled eggs for your baby led weaning baby.

Some of you may be thinking, well what about eggs being high in cholesterol? Surprisingly, the cholesterol in food has little impact on blood cholesterol and eggs are healthy for your baby to eat regularly. That being said, in order to be safe, it is important to cook the yolk thoroughly. This can take some trial and error and a lot of kitchen time, not to mention those grey, dry and overcooked yolks can crumble in baby’s mouth and be hard to handle. But don’t fret! To keep your brains from being scrambled, I have done all the work for you and am sharing my perfect recipe for hard, but not-too-hard-boiled eggs. 

 

Check out this video to see how easy it is to prep hard-boiled eggs for your BLW baby:

 

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

If you found this video useful and would like to see more like it, subscribe to my channel today!

 

How to Prepare Hard-Boiled Eggs But Not Too Hard (6 months and up)

Start by getting a large pot of water boiling on the stove. Make sure you have enough water to fully cover the eggs.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, egg, eggs, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, protein

 

Next, gently lower each egg into the water. Using a spoon to guide you can be very helpful. You want about 2 to 4 eggs per large pot.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, egg, eggs, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, protein
Use a spoon to help you place the eggs in the boiling water to avoid cracks.

 

The next step is a little surprising…it is time to turn off the heat! By leaving the pot on the same element and quickly placing a lid on, the heat stays within and the eggs cook gently.

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Make sure you put a tight fitting lid on quickly, to keep the heat in.

 

Leaving the eggs in the pot, start a timer for ten minutes. In the meantime, prepare a bowl with ice and water and set aside. Once the timer rings, gently retrieve the eggs and place in the ice bath, to help them cool rapidly.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, egg, eggs, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, protein
An ice water bath stops the eggs from overcooking and helps the peeling process.

 

After 5 minutes in the ice bath, remove the eggs and dry them with a cloth. To remove the shell, gently tap each end of the egg on a hard surface and peel carefully.

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Remove the shells over the sink to make for easy clean up.

 

Finally, you want to cut the hard boiled eggs into quarters to make it the perfect size for little BLW hands. You can store hard-boiled eggs in the fridge in a sealed container for up to one week.

Have you had an-oeuf of our food puns yet?

 

These hard boiled eggs are now perfectly cooked and the ideal size for little hands. Serve them on their own, or with a little spice to change it up and help introduce new flavours to your BLW baby!

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, egg, eggs, hard boiled eggs, hard boiled egg, breakfast, snack, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, healthy, safe, protein
I think it is safe to say this egg is being thoroughly enjoyed. Make sure the yolks aren’t too cooked because they can be pasty.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

Do you have any tricks to make your hard-boiled eggs easier to peel? Let us know in the comment section below!

sweet potato fries, baby food

How to Serve Sweet Potatoes to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Sweet Potato Fries to Your BLW Baby

 

As a registered dietitian, I can’t help but yam’mer on about how amazing food is, and sweet potatoes are no exception! These versatile and flavourful tubers are full to the brim with beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A in the body. That isn’t the only a-peeling part about these orange powerhouses; they are also a great source of Vitamin A, manganese, copper, B vitamins, potassium and fiber to name a few. Ain’t that sweet!  

To make a perfect vehicle for baby to get all these important nutrients, I am sharing my delicious sweet potato fry recipe. They are the perfect size and texture for your BLW baby to handle, and much tastier than the sweet potato mush you find in a baby food jar. 

 

Check out this video to see how easy it is to prep sweet potato fries for your BLW baby:

 

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

If you found this video useful and would like to see more like it, subscribe to my channel today!

How to Prepare Sweet Potato Fries Baby-Led Weaning Style

Start by preheating your oven to 400˚F. While it heats up, give the sweet potato a good scrub under running water.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, Sweet Potato, potato, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
We are keeping the skin on to help your baby grip the fry, so make sure you scrub the potato well

Then, slice the potato in half and cut each half into slices about 1 inch thick (about the thickness of your index finger).

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, Sweet Potato, potato, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Once you “fry” this recipe once, you will never go back to boiling potatoes again!

 

Time to jazz it up! Place the slices into a large bowl and drizzle enough olive oil to coat. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper (about 1/8th of a teaspoon). Mix thoroughly.

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Make sure to spice them up nice

 

These fries are now ready to be spread on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, making sure there is plenty of space between each fry. Pop into the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, Sweet Potato, potato, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Overcrowding makes for soggy fries that are harder to handle, so make sure they don’t overlap on the tray

 

Once cool enough to handle, cut a slice in half for baby and serve the rest to your family!

BLW, Fresh, Tasty, Salt-Free, vegetarian, vegan, Sweet Potato, potato, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Now that is a BLW baby ready to chow down! Make sure the texture is right by testing it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

Let us know in the comments below if you’d try sweet potato fries for your little one!

How to Practice Safe BLW During the Holidays (2 of 3): Foods to Avoid

How to Practice Safe BLW During the Holidays (2 of 3): Foods to Avoid

During this festive season, we want you and your family to stay happy, healthy, and of course, safe. That is why we developed part two of our series on how to practice safe BLW during the holidays.

There are many holiday foods, during any occasion whether it be Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa, that are safe for baby with modifications. However, certain foods should be avoided if you want the challah-days to stay safe, and we have listed several of them in this post.

 

Watch this video to see which foods should be avoided during the holiday season for BLW infants:

Like this video and want to see more free BLW content by a registered dietitian? Subscribe to my channel today!

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

Traditional Holiday Foods to Avoid in BLW

 

Certain Appetizers or Snack Foods 

Any small, hard and round snack food is a choking hazard for baby. This includes festive popcorn, fancy escargot and many items on a charcuterie board, including olives, nuts, grapes or hard cheeses.  Holiday candies or chocolate should also be completely avoided.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness

 

Certain Fruits and Vegetables

The cherry tomatoes or raw vegetables you see on a holiday platter are often too hard or are the wrong shape for baby. Other common holiday foods to be avoided are peas, cranberries (including sauces), and pomegranate seeds.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness
Pomegranates are delicious but are too small, round, and hard for your BLW baby.

 

Fresh White Bread

Fresh white bread is often an accompaniment to holiday meals, but for baby it can become very sticky while they try to manipulate it in their mouth. Fresh bread mixed with saliva can get stuck on the roof of the mouth and is therefore a choking hazard.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness

 

Raw Fish or Raw Meats

Even though smoked salmon or oysters may seem like the right texture, they have not been properly heat treated to remove the risk of contamination. For this reason, they should be avoided.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness
Follow these tips during the holidays and throughout the year to keep your little one safe.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

Do you feel comfortable about which foods to avoid during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Practice Safe BLW During the Holidays (1 of 3): Foods to Include

How to Practice Safe BLW During the Holidays (1 of 3): Foods to Include

🎶Fa-ba-ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba-baby led weaning🎶! It is that time of year again (the holidays!), full of yuletide and cheer, family and friends, and of course, good food and drink. We think you should spend this time with loved ones, not lugging around jars of baby food or stressing over finding the microwave in a turbulent holiday kitchen.

So how can you include your BLW bonhomme-de-neige in the festivities safely? With baby-led weaning, your baby can eat the same thing as the rest of the family, with some simple modifications. Brace your elves because we have a foolproof ‘how-to’ guide coming up!

 

Watch us explain how simple BLW during the holiday season can be in this video:

If you enjoyed this video and would like to see more like it, subscribe to my channel today!

 

Common Holiday Foods Modified for BLW

 

Turkey

This classic holiday protein is delicious and nutritious. For baby, offer the dark meat as it is usually more tender, and contains more of the iron and fat that baby needs. Remove the skin, which contains most of the salt, and choose a piece that is about the size of an adult pinky finger.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness
You’ll be stuffed with ideas once you have read through this guide.

 

Steamed Green Beans

Tender steamed beans are perfect both in shape and texture for BLW babies. Make sure to rinse off any sauces that may be served with the beans.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness
Steaming the beans locks in the nutrients but makes them tender enough for little mouths.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

Potatoes 

Mashed potatoes can be offered right on your babies platter, or on a preloaded spoon. Another option is scalloped potatoes, which have a wonderful soft texture and if cut thick enough, are easy for baby to grab and bring to their mouth.

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Make sure mashed potatoes are made extra creamy, so there are no lumps.

 

Anything Else!

Having something other than these three common foods? Try it out yourself before serving it to baby! First, always make sure the food is about the size of an adult pinky finger or larger. Then, pretend you have no teeth and squish it against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. If it comes apart and is easy to swallow, it is safe to offer to baby.

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Will you include baby at the holiday table? Tell us in the comment section.

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How to Serve Salmon Sliders to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Salmon Sliders to Your BLW Baby

We all know that fish is a very nourishing food. Full of high quality protein, easily-absorbed iron and healthy fats like omega-3’s, this underwater delight is unmatched in supporting the development of little minds and bodies.

So why don’t we often see fish given to babies? It’s all about texture. Cooked fish is often flaky, which means it does not hold well together and BLW babies have a difficult time to get the pieces to their mouth. Well here at Nutrition for Baby we believe any-fin is possible, so look no further than our salmon slider recipe to get an affordable fish serving into your BLW infants diet.

 

Watch this video to see how easy it is to prep salmon sliders for your BLW baby:

 

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

 

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How to Prepare Salmon Sliders for Your BLW Baby

 

Start with two cans of no salt added salmon. In a large bowl, mash the salmon with a fork. Add two large eggs to help bind everything together; stir to combine.

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Make sure you mash up those small bones really well

 

Now to add flavour! Add 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill, zest of 1 lime or lemon, one teaspoon of pepper, a half cup of chopped greens (spinach or kale work very well), a half cup of finely chopped onion and finally three cloves of minced garlic. Stir until well combined.

 BLW, Salt-Free, Tasty, Fish, Salmon, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, health, wellness, first foods, lunch, dinner, healthy, safe, protein, omega-3, iron
This recipe also introduces greens to BLW infant in a safe and delicious way.

 

Roll the mixture into 8 patties. Over medium heat, warm the fat of your choice, and cook each patty for 5 minutes on each side.

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These sliders will hold up to a gentle browning without falling apart. I love my Lodge cast iron pan to cook them in. This pan helps to draw out iron from the sliders!

 

Let cool and serve to baby.

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Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely

Salmon slider recipe for babies

Ingredients

2 cans salmon in water no salt added (7 oz or 213 g each)

2 eggs

zest of 1 unwaxed lime

1 tsp (5 ml) pepper

1/2 cup (125 ml) spinach or kale, chopped

1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh dill, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup (125 ml) onion, chopped (about 1 small onion)

1 tbsp (15 ml) cooking fat (unsalted butter or duck fat)

 

Preparation

Drain and pat dry canned salmon. Mix all ingredients together (except cooking fat). Shape into sliders about 3 tbsp (45 ml) each. Heat skillet over medium heat, add fat and pan fry them for 5 minutes on each side. Let cool and offer to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Do you serve fish to your BLW baby? Let us know your methods in the comment section!