Being New Parents & Baby Led Weaning
Starting solids for your little one is exciting time for all new parents. Seeing them react to new foods, textures and tastes is a sight to behold. Their cute little nose wrinkles when they don’t like certain food and how their eyes go wide with appreciation if they like it. “Am I being a good parent?” becomes a perpetual question for every parent. So, whenever there is a new phase in baby’s growth, doing it the right way becomes the biggest priority. When it came to introducing solids, me and my hubby decided to follow our son’s pediatrician’s advice, “BABY- LED WEANING”.
Oh Boy!!! what a ride it has been. I can actually divide it into phases of Baby-Led Weaning:
Phase 1: What the hell is Baby Led Weaning???
When our doctor told us to start solids as my baby turns 4 months old. I was truly excited and nervous. Excited because I love to cook for my family and I couldn’t wait to introduce him to all amazing foods. Nervous, because till now things were simple. if he was hungry, I would breastfeed and he will be sound asleep. Anyways, starting solids is crucial for babies and so is establishing healthy eating habits. When doctor explained us the concept for the first time, we really liked and decided to give it a try.
Let me be crystal clear… “Baby- Led Weaning is not for faint hearted people, which means, almost every new parent!!!” Another challenge for us was, no one in our family or friends had ever heard of Baby – Led Weaning before. They didn’t know what to do and what not to. You would think in today’s time and age google would know every thing?!! Answer to this is a BIG NO.
There are tons of write up but no one prepares you for actual experience. What ever material I could find was insufficient. Most of the blogs or articles explain theoretical side. Therefore, I felt the need of writing a full blown series on Baby Led Weaning. So, if you don’t have time to read a whole book, you still have enough information before you decide to try baby led weaning.
When Google didn’t help, I turned to Youtube. I thought of checking out some vlogs on baby- led weaning. Most of the videos are on funny faces and first food reactions. Except for the attached link. It gave me enough theoretical information but again lacked personal experience. I needed to know both good and bad before I took any decision.
Because I just had theoretical knowledge, when I tried Baby Led Weaning with my baby boy and all hell broke lose. Enters the phase 2
Phase 2: Damn!!! I broke my baby. Why did I even try it? It’s down right scary
First food we tried was a soft pear. Initially, when my little boy picked up pear in his tiny hands, guided it to his mouth and started sucking on it, my heart was elated. To see him take this leap, cross this milestone was amazing. He looked so proud of himself but awesomeness of this moment lasted only for few seconds. As soon as, he took a bite of that pear and tried to swallow it, it was followed by gag reflex. Which is absolutely common but we didn’t know how drastic it can look. He gagged and both me & my husband lost it. His eyes went wide and tears started flowing. He was trying to swallow and throw up at the same time. For a second we couldn’t understand if he was choking or gagging (despite having full theoretical knowledge). He threw the food, he was holding in hand and started crying loudly, may be because of shock or newness of whole experience. Next were tears in both of our eyes and I don’t remember being this scared ever in my life. Not even when I was dropped in the middle of the ocean after a session of parasailing, despite the fact that I don’t know swimming. I guess your baby’s life will always be more valuable to you than your own.
Now, just imagine, two adults and one baby in the room all crying and not knowing what to do. Before, you assume anything, let me make it clear, we attended all the child care classes there were before delivery. We researched and read and watched but if you are as new to baby led weaning as we were, no amount of research can prepare you for what happens for the first time.
We were so scared that we gave up the idea and decided to go for purée. A route everyone in my family knew and had taken. We had entirely given up the idea of baby led weaning till he turned 6 months and then came my baby’s half birthday doctor’s appointment. Then started our phase 3 and amazing journey of baby led weaning. All doubts cleared and establishment of healthy eating pattern for my little one.
Phase 3: There is nothing more beautiful then to see your baby learning and enjoying to eat on this own.
When we went in for 6 month appointment, our son’s doctor asked us how was he doing with solids. We looked at each other, as if our teacher has asked for an assignment and we were goofing around instead of working on it. We finally gathered our courage and answered him. We told him we can’t continue with baby led weaning. He asked us why? We told him about our experience. That’s when he sat with us and discussed the whole process once again. He explained us Why baby gags over the food? What foods we should try? What Book we should read (link is under mentioned)? and explained us the difference between gagging and choking. He also explained us what are the benefits of baby led weaning. He convinced and encouraged us to give it a one more try. All through the ride back home, both of us were quiet. We had the option of going with what we know or try the new technique. We were convinced with what doctor told us but we were not convinced if we had enough courage to go through the process again.
The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: Delicious Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods―and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy https://www.amazon.com/dp/161519049X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_rHh-AbQNFTB54
Frankly, it wasn’t like doctor told us, we came back home and tried it immediately. First thing I did after coming back home, order that book. I can’t praise the book enough. It not only cleared all my doubts but also gave me a lot of ideas of what to give my baby to eat in different phases of baby led weaning. Over all, it took me two more weeks to try again and this time it was a success. We started with banana. By now my baby was 6 months old plus and started sitting independently in a high chair. So, it was easier to feed him as well. There were few bumps on our way to baby led weaning but nothing as intimidating and scary as the first time. Today, when I am writing this blog my baby is 11 months plus and in just 4 months, he has learned to feed himself. He drives his appetite, enjoys touching and feeling different textures of food. It’s unbelievable but he doesn’t like to be fed any more, he is happiest eating on his own and I am a proud mommy to see my baby growing up so beautifully.
LESSONS I LEARNED:
1) Dont try baby led weaning till the time baby is sitting independently
2) Do your research and read the book.
3) Baby should be sitting on high chair when you try it for the first time
4) I couldn’t do it but try and not panick.
5) It might not be easy but it is best way to establish positive eating habits
This is part 1 of Baby Led Weaning for first time parents series. In my next blog, I will share my learnings on what, when and how of baby led weaning.
Mum Mum Ma – Loving Mommyhood 🙂
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Categories: Baby care