"Baby Led Weaning"??

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Hi all. I just found out my daughter-in-law has found this "amazing" new movement online. It is called "Baby Led Weaning" which is a misnomer.

Basically, it encourages women to start to wean at six months and start solid food without making the texture easier to swallow. I was shocked to find out that they want parents to give babies food that they have to learn to chew! And that gagging on the food is a normal way to get babies to learn to chew!

As a nurse, I know choking is a bad thing for babies and that food is the number one cause of choking.

I watched my granddaughter being fed large pieces of banana, strawberries, and cucumber cut into thirds and about 4 inches long. She gagged. She choked. She turned red. She finally got it out. I was so angry.

My daughter-in-law will not listen to me. My son gives in to her.

Here is their website:

http://www.babyledweaning.com

Here is their Facebook page which I highly recommend reading because women write about their concerns about gagging and are told it is all fine. Oh, and this group also says rice cereal is evil.

https://www.facebook.com/babyledweaning

What do you think?

klone, MSN, RN

14,415 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Well, I wouldn't say rice cereal is evil, but it is completely unnecessary. It contains iron that is not very well absorbed and interferes with the iron absorption from breastmilk. Best first foods would be soft cooked veggies and fruits. Iron-fortified cereal is completely unnecessary to the baby's diet.

I'm familiar with baby led weaning, but I am not familiar with giving large chunks of fruits and veggies that are a choking hazard. Baby led weaning simply means allowing the baby to take the lead as far as when weaning occurs, and many moms who practice baby led weaning will continue to nurse until the baby is three or four years or even longer.

Well, I wouldn't say rice cereal is evil, but it is completely unnecessary. It contains iron that is not very well absorbed and interferes with the iron absorption from breastmilk. Best first foods would be soft cooked veggies and fruits. Iron-fortified cereal is completely unnecessary to the baby's diet.

I'm familiar with baby led weaning, but I am not familiar with giving large chunks of fruits and veggies that are a choking hazard. Baby led weaning simply means allowing the baby to take the lead as far as when weaning occurs, and many moms who practice baby led weaning will continue to nurse until the baby is three or four years or even longer.

That is why this group is a misnomer. The traditional baby led weaning is what you are talking about but this is different.

Here is their definition:

* re ‘wean’. This is meant in the Brit sense, not the American. In the UK, ‘weaning’ means ‘adding complementary foods’, whereas in the States it means ‘giving up breastfeeding’. Two nations divided by a common language, and all that. In fact, there is even a helpful hands-across-the-ocean translationthread on the subject on the forum, which solves the mystery of what the UK equivalent of the Graham’s Cracker might be. (While we’re on the subject of terminology… if it was up to me, I’d have called this whole thing

Baby Self-Feeding, but that ship has sailed, my friends, and Baby-Led Weaning it is.)

Oh and......

gagging is a totally normal part of BLW"..

BLW . . "the mush stops here"

mrsboots87

1,761 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

Your daughter in law is doing it wrong. I practiced baby led weaning and what you're describing is an incorrect version of what is supposed to be done. The point is not to start weaning at 6 mos old. It is to wean when baby or small child chooses to. The 6 mos food is just part of it. The point of the solids without a spoon is that the baby chooses how much to eat and does so independently instead of having a spoon put in their mouth. BUT, you are supposed to soften all food to appropriate texture for age and ability to eat. Also, the food is supposed to be cut into very small cubes that are easy to grab and small enough not to gag the baby. If baby gags a little, it is a normal part of learning to eat. If they are choking, you let them put too much in their mouth or are making the cubes too large. Also, rice cereal hate isn't just from BLW. Rice cereal is completely unnecessary because it adds empty carbs to the babies diet, has essentially unusable iron that interferes with iron absorption from breast milk or other sources, and basically give no contribution to the babies nutritional needs. If baby needs to be supplemented for reflux or some other condition, oatmeal is a much better alternative. Your daughter in law needs to learn the correct way to BLW before she harms her child.

Just a quote from FB:

"Hello im a first time mom who loves the benefits of blw but is struggling a lot. At meals I give my lo food to eat but he always winds up gagging and in some cases choking. I get dirty looks from friends and family making me feel like a terrible mom and feeding my son this way. Am I doing it wrong? Is there any advice you can give me ? I also don't want them to have a negative association with blw. Please help!"

If you go look on FB . . you will see photos of babies with a celery stick, a chicken leg, a green bean, avocado wedges, a big long chunk of steak . . . etc.

Your daughter in law is doing it wrong. I practiced baby led weaning and what you're describing is an incorrect version of what is supposed to be done. The point is not to start weaning at 6 mos old. It is to wean when baby or small child chooses to. The 6 mos food is just part of it. The point of the solids without a spoon is that the baby chooses how much to eat and does so independently instead of having a spoon put in their mouth. BUT, you are supposed to soften all food to appropriate texture for age and ability to eat. Also, the food is supposed to be cut into very small cubes that are easy to grab and small enough not to gag the baby. If baby gags a little, it is a normal part of learning to eat. If they are choking, you let them put too much in their mouth or are making the cubes too large. Also, rice cereal hate isn't just from BLW. Rice cereal is completely unnecessary because it adds empty carbs to the babies diet, has essentially unusable iron that interferes with iron absorption from breast milk or other sources, and basically give no contribution to the babies nutritional needs. If baby needs to be supplemented for reflux or some other condition, oatmeal is a much better alternative. Your daughter in law needs to learn the correct way to BLW before she harms her child.

The rice cereal comment was an aside. I'm not interested in that.

From what I've been reading, my daughter-in-law is doing just exactly what the website and FB page says to do.

What is the big deal about teaching a child to chew? Don't all children learn to chew sometime or other. Why not use a spoon? If a child doesn't want anymore, they won't open their mouth so you can't overfeed.

This just seems like a dangerous fad to me.

Using this same logic . . . I could say, why don't we just put the babies on the toilet every hour so you teach them to use the potty early?

All kids get potty trained sooner or later. All kids learn to chew.

Risking choking to try to do this seems really really stupid to me. As you can tell, I'm an angry grandma.

Oh wow, I found a comment on the FB page that I agree with!

I'm confused isn't BLW meant to be Baby led... My baby loves his porridge and I eat porridge as an adult... Why is BLW so against anything that's actually easy for them to eat and digest?! I'm sure that's a generalised statement I am making but I'm just getting fed up of ppl acting like any sort of mashed food or puree is wrong! I eat mash potato and love it! And if it's BABY led, why if your child blatantly struggles with solid food just given to them are we supposed to persist with it?? Surely your baby is leading you to soften it or puree it until it is in a form that they do accept it and then try again with it more solid later. I've done a mix of puréed, Mashed and just normal food with my little boy, he's 9 months and some things he will eat as they are and manage fine and others he will choke or refuse & if I mash them up or puree them then he will eat them... I don't get where the Baby Led part went with all these attitudes that puree is so wrong?? If we are being led by our individual babies then if your baby is rejecting food as it is, try it mashed or puréed and follow their lead, when they are ready for more solids they will certainly let you know. Hence actual baby led weaning.

Rant over.

What IS the big deal about mashing the food instead?

mrsboots87

1,761 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.
The rice cereal comment was an aside. I'm not interested in that.

From what I've been reading, my daughter-in-law is doing just exactly what the website and FB page says to do.

What is the big deal about teaching a child to chew? Don't all children learn to chew sometime or other. Why not use a spoon? If a child doesn't want anymore, they won't open their mouth so you can't overfeed.

This just seems like a dangerous fad to me.

Using this same logic . . . I could say, why don't we just put the babies on the toilet every hour so you teach them to use the potty early?

All kids get potty trained sooner or later. All kids learn to chew.

Risking choking to try to do this seems really really stupid to me. As you can tell, I'm an angry grandma.

What's funny about your comment about the hourly toileting of the baby is that that too is a fad lol. Its called elimination communication and involves leaving infants in underwear and placing them on the potty on a schedule until they can communicate the need to go. I don't do that, but have a friend that does and I find it nuts.

Anyway, I believe you when you say that she is following the directions and the administrators are giving dangerous advice. When don't the way I described, I find the choice to BLW just a different strokes for different folks kind of thing. I don't do it for any purpose other than its what works for my family. Not for some belief in it being better or whatever other parents may say about it. My daughter hated purees and always stole food off my plate that I had to dig out of her mouth because it wasn't appropriate. BLW was kind of an accidental choice that I learned had a term after I had already started to do it. By giving my daughter soft cube foods (avocado-very ripe, banana-very ripe, steamed variety of veggies or fruits), she started to enjoy eating and I didn't have to breastfeed her every 1.5 to 2 hours anymore. As for some of my friends who BLW, they believe it leads to more independence of the child and is the proper way to introduce solids for various reasons. Meh, I'm all about parents feeding with whatever method works best for them, but in a safe manner. A soft cubed food turns to mush in the mouth anyway and isn't anymore harmful than a spoonful of whatever. It just has to be done correctly. If the baby constantly gags or straight up chokes, then its not soft enough and either should be steamed longer or not given until they are older and can tolerate the texture and thickness.

I'm a fan of feeding baby the same food the adults eat only in a texture that they can actually handle. I did it with my kids. My problem with this movement is that they are telling parents it is ok if their children "gag" (aka choke) on the food. The focus is teaching them to CHEW.

What you described is what I did with my kids as well. I also mashed good food up for them. I didn't feed out of baby food jars.

I used the potty training comment because I do know parents who do this and it happens in other countries as well. When I was in Vietnam with a medical ministry, I saw it all the time. I'm not as opposed to that as it isn't unsafe, just messy. ;) One of my fellow nurses did home visits after babies were born. She found that one mom had tied her daughter onto the toilet and kept her there for an hour to promote using the toilet - this was as an infant. This woman is a local special education teacher.

My husband's comment when I told him about it was "Well, she needs to learn to make her bed. Why aren't they teaching her that?".

I'm 57 years old and I've seen lots of fads come and go. This one needs to go.

All babies grow up learning to chew. Give them the developmental ready time to do so.

NicuGal, MSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

That's a little scary! I just mashed up stuff and tossed it on their trays lol You sort of need teeth to chew up harder/denser food!

klone, MSN, RN

14,415 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.
The point is not to start weaning at 6 mos old. .

Technically speaking, weaning begins the moment you introduce any complementary foods besides breastmilk. It's a process, not an event.

Thimbalina

119 Posts

Those 'experts' might find themselves on the wrong side of a lawsuit when a baby chokes to death on their advice. Super sad. All I can say is 'Thank GOD my dil didn't find that website'. !!!!!