Saturday, July 6, 2013

Feeding the Tiny Troops

I have something to confess... I am extremely analytical, and a bit of a control freak. {Whew... I'm glad we got that out of the way.}

When I found out I was pregnant the first time {with twins!}, I was scared to death. I felt like I had no control over anything that was happening, so I went straight into analytical mode in a desperate effort find some feeling of control over the situation.

I read everything I could about being pregnant with twins. My goal was to keep them in as long as possible, and get them as big as possible. They were born ad 37 1/2 weeks and weighed 6lbs 8oz., and 7lbs. 2oz. {Success!}

Logically I know that I had very little to do with this. It was a blessing that they were born full term, and healthy. But at the time, I felt like I was doing my part to control the uncontrollable.

And the madness didn't stop after they were born. I researched tips to aid in development, schedules, sleeping, and eating. This is where I first came across Baby Led Weaning.

I started solids with regularity at 6 months. I had already decided to make all the boys baby food from scratch so I set aside a few hours each Sunday to steam and mash whatever food we were trying that week. This only lasted for a month before I read about Baby Led Weaning, which is sometimes referred to as Baby Led Solids.

The basic principal is easy. The baby is allowed to control his solid food intake by self-feeding from the very beginning of the weaning process. But it was the benefits that really sold me on this.


Most Importantly:
  • Allowing babies to choose what to eat from a range of nutritious foods, to eat at their own pace, and to decide when they’ve had enough helps them to develop natural appetite control. This may be an important part of preventing food conflicts and obesity when they are older
  • Because they are involved in shared, healthy meals from the beginning, BLW babies are less likely to choose unhealthy foods when they are older (or to need separate ‘kids’ food’) and are therefore more likely to be better nourished, long term
These two things alone sold me on the idea. I grew up with unhealthy attitudes about food. I wanted my boys to learn early to make healthy choices, and to listen to their bodies natural cues when it comes to hunger and fullness.

But there is more.

Other benefits include:

  •  BLW babies are keen to try new foods; they rarely become ‘picky’ eaters or suspicious of food as toddlers – probably because they are allowed to use their instincts to decide what to eat and what to leave 
  •  Enjoying a broad range of food is good for babies’ long-term nutrition as well as their enjoyment of eating
  •  Eating out is easier. BLW babies are used to eating round the table with adults and they enjoy ‘grown-up’ food – so families aren’t limited to restaurants with a ‘kids’ menu’ 
  •  With BLW everyone eats together; the grown-ups don’t have to spoon-feed the baby while their own dinner goes cold and everyone is part of what’s going on

The twins are four now, and I have to say, this worked really well for us. Even though they have very different taste preferences, they are both really good eaters, and like a wider range of foods than their peers.

We have started this with the baby as well (he is 10 months now) and are noticing the same benefits. He did start much later than the twins did, but that was his choice as he was not interested early on. He sits at the dinner table with us, and eats what we do for the most part! No special meals for these kids!

Have you tried Baby Led Weaning?
How did it work for you?

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