When I had my first child, I had all the time in the world to make homemade, organic baby food purees in lovely varieties and combinations. I was a full time stay at home mama, and I felt this was a good use of my time. I also felt I was doing the right thing for my baby. Then came identical twins. And with a 3 year old running around in addition to the twins, it was a whole different ball game. When the time came to “attempt”solids, I went the traditional route. When I say “attempt” I really mean it. None of my boys ever took to eating solids easily, and coupled with sleep deprivation, exclusive pumping, and lots of helpful “advice” from others, it didn’t take long for me to become frustrated with traditional baby food purees, rice and oatmeal cereal, and attempting to feed two hungry babies simultaneously.
What is BLW?
Baby led weaning (BLW) is one of those things that seems new, but the concept is actually very old. When you think about it – who had blenders or pureed jars of baby food hundreds of years ago?! BLW can be a great way to save time and money when feeding littles, and, as parents of multiples, we could all use more opportunities to save time and money!
Simply put, Baby Led Weaning skips the pureed, mushy baby food and jumps straight to safe finger foods. There is no spoonfeeding with BLW. Instead, whole, baby-safe foods are offered to the baby, allowing him to decide how much, how quickly, and which foods to eat. Babies can begin BLW at the same age as purees, when they have good head control, can sit unassisted, and can manipulate objects with their hands. The gag reflex is a built-in safety mechanism that teaches the baby how much to put into his mouth as well as how far back to put it.
What to introduce and offer
Great food options for BLW include steamed broccoli, carrots, or green beans, large chunks of avocado or banana, soft cooked pasta, sweet potato spears, cooked meats or fish, boiled or scrambled eggs, and chunks of soft ripe fruit, such as pears or peaches. Babies can easily mash and chew softer foods with their gums, and they can easily grasp long spears and take bites from the end. Save the small cut up pieces of food for further along the BLW path.
One drawback to BLW is that it can be messy at times, but I can’t think of a time I fed ANY baby that wasn’t messy! The same “rules” apply for BLW as do for any baby learning how to eat: never leave the baby unattended; make sure baby stays upright in his highchair; keep an eye out for allergic reactions and introduce foods one at a time; get training in infant CPR and first aid; and make sure other caregivers understand how BLW works and why you’ve chosen it for your family.
BLW gives us as parents of multiples the ability to put food in front of both babies and stay right nearby, making sure they are safe. This is a great alternative to the more common method of getting 2 bowls or jars of food, 2 spoons, and trying to switch back and forth feeding 2 hungry babies at the same time. Talk about a mess!
About the Author
Michelle Cheever MA, TLC’s Denver Prepartum Associate, is the happy mother of three very tall boys, the oldest a singleton and the youngest identical twins. After receiving her Masters in Counseling Psychology, she is so happy to now be able to provide in-person support to other new and expectant parents of multiples. You can reach Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our Denver services.