BLW is NOT a sandwich!
If you were a mom who had kids after your friends and they were well over that infant phase.. You have probably heard them passionately discuss weaning and thrown around something called ‘BLW’. We are going to answer all your questions.
Firstly, NO, its not a sandwich that you make children eat when starting solids. BLW stands for baby led weaning. This is provided as an alternative to starting pureèd food.
We have to start by saying that children will show you signs of being ready for solids and recommend that you speak to your Pediatrician before starting solids.
- Your baby should be over 4 months old. Feeding generally starts between 4 and 6 months.
- Your baby shows a GENUINE interest in food, including following food with their eyes, chewing and drooling.
- Your baby is able to hold their neck up
- Your baby is able to SIT up without support – an overlooked phenomenon (how else could digestion occur if those tummy muscles are still too weak?)
- Your baby has lost their tongue-thrust reflex, which means they push the solids out of their mouth with their tongue.
Too often, by month 4, we are impatient for our children to start solids that we want to see this happening, but I assure you, it is safer for your baby to wait closer to 6 months old (again, with the guidance of your Pediatrician)
So what is BLW? (’cause that’s really what you came here for)
Baby led weaning is a method of weaning that has grown in popularity over the years. as we explain how to go about it, you will see why we put so much emphasis on developmental readiness for weaning onto solids.
Through BLW, babies are able to explore food at their own pace. Another development aspect to look out for here, is your child developing a pincer grasp, this is when your child is able to pick something up between their index finger and thumb, this happens around 6 months of age. A palmar grass is NOT a replacement for a pincer grasp.
So, lets really get to it. Baby led weaning is the act of giving your child hand-held finger foods rather than pureès. Unlike traditional methods, BLW introduces foods with chunkier textures from the get-go. While placed on a high chair, babies are given a variety of finger-food sized, baby friendly food items to explore through touch and taste.
What are baby friendly food items?
- Roughly mashed potato or butternut
- Roasted sweet potato wedges
- Roasted apple wedges (with the skin on to help your baby grip better)
- Banana slices (big enough to hold)
- Mango slices (again, with the peel on to help your baby to grip onto it)
BIG TIP: The food must be soft enough to squish between your hands (with the exception of introducing meat items). Another worthy tip is to avoid adding salt and flavourings to food, the same with pureès, to allow your baby to taste the actual flavour of the food.
Here are some of our best BLW tips for starting
- Brush up on your basics on how to know when your child is ready to start solids
- Sit with them as you offer food
- Resist the urge to rush or feed them
- Start a new food every few days (to allow any food allergies to present themselves and make it easier to identify the allergen)
- Understand the Gag reflex, which is different to choking
- Set them in a high chair with foot support, so that you are setting them up for success in an upright, well-supported position.
- Offer water in a soppy cup or small open cup.
- Very the textures of the same food so that your child understands that it can exist in many forms.
So what wins the cake?
Pureès or BLW? Using a safe combination of both has proven to be a success for lots of babies! Be open to your options and remember that all babies are different and will react differently to each method!