OK I’m going to be controversial here, but I’m just going to say it. Baby Led Weaning… NOT a fan!!
As you lovely regular readers will know I am weaning Josh, and I’ve been doing it with purees and the wonderful Phillips Avent Baby Food Steamer and Blender. Joy of Joys, I felt confident about weaning; I was steaming so the veg wouldn’t lose any of its goodness, it took just a few minutes each day, and most importantly, Josh was enjoying it! Added bonus, nervous Mumma here didn’t have to worry about choking. I thought we were off to a winning start.
So when I took Josh to be weighed the other day, I was feeling positive. I felt like I had it sussed, my boy was happily demolishing healthy foods, even the dreaded broccoli which pained me to make as I hate the stuff and it stank, and when he got weighed he’d put on weight just hitting the 20lb mark, and sitting perfectly on his little graph in his red book. But then with the help of a rather pushy and opinionated “advisor” (I’m sorry for the bitchy quote marks but I seriously was not impressed) my confidence was blown apart, as she asked how I was feeding Josh. I happily told her all about my fancy pants machine, the vast array of foods Josh was enjoying and she looked at me puzzled and enquired if I was also doing any Baby Led Weaning. I said no, I explained that at this point, with Josh only being just six months old, and my fear of choking, that I was happy with how we were doing and that we hadn’t attempted BLW. She was NOT impressed. In fact she looked genuinely shocked at my response and quickly showed me the board behind her with many leaflets and posters about BLW and went on to tell me that my fear of choking was borderline irrational and selfish and that BLW was the most natural way to wean a baby.
Now as I am sure you’ve already cottoned on from my writing, I am very much my own person and won’t be pushed into doing things I don’t want to. But I have to say, this advice (!) kept popping up in my head, so I decided to brave it and I made the munchkin some soft carrot sticks. Even as I gave them to him and watched him sucking away on them, I kept thinking they could easily break and fly down his throat. It made me nervous and I just wanted to take them off him but I stuck at it . Josh wasn’t hugely bowled over by them and there was some gagging but I tried not to be freaked out by it and then gave him a bit more of his puree of sweet potato (God forbid!). Then I decided to try some banana. Ordinarily I’d mush this up for him and let him eat it with his spoon, as I do try to encourage him to feed himself. But today I followed the guidelines, sliced it up and gave him some finger food sized pieces to feed himself. He appeared to be quite happily mushing it in his hands and stuffing it in his mouth, then lo and behold my greatest fear happened. I knew it was stuck in his throat because his beautiful little eyes bulged, he looked completely stunned and his face went a funny colour. Thank God I knew what to do and one swift blow to his back brought up the offending piece of banana and my poor shell shocked baby then proceeded to throw up everything else he’d eaten at dinner in what I assume was some sort of shock. He then seemed to realise what a fright he’d got and start to sob his eyes out. I too was a bit shaken and just held Josh, gave him some water and had lots of cuddles till we both calmed down.
So as you can probably imagine this has put me completely off BLW! Now having said that, I’m not going to sit here and say it’s a stupid idea and no one should do it. I wouldn’t do that; I would never tell people how they should feed their child. Everyone is different, do what is right for you. But I have to say, for me I have not enjoyed that experience. And I pray you lovely readers will respect what I’m saying, and not tell me I’ve got no patience and am doing it all wrong. Personally I found the whole thing tense, unejoyable and quite frankly not at all natural. Josh is six months old. He is going to rely on me, to feed him and look after him. I’m his mother! I don’t want to rush to make him independent at this young age by feeding him things that give him an experience that scares him. I know that BLW has a great benefit of getting babies ready to deal with lumps in their food, but can I just point something out. Correct me (nicely) if I’m wrong, but I think BLW has only come about in the last few years. Which means I’m quite sure that the entire generation of us that are mothers at this moment where most likely fed pureed food, mashed food, soft food, as babies. And yet here we all are as adults, not suffering from this ; we all manage to eat regular foods every day. And I know Josh will. If I chose to feed him soft foods to begin with and then ease in lumps, and do things at a pace that suits us, how is that bad. Why should I feel shamed for that.
And there we have it; the shame. The guilt. The bloody incessant pressure us Mums are put under. All I can say to myself, and to other Mums is do what is right for you! Some of you will thrive at BLW and have no fears about it, others will be like me and prefer the smoother texture of foods. I enjoy this cause Josh eats it well, he eats lots of it and we have a giggle while we feed him. I am not categorising anyone; most of my friends are doing at least a bit of BLW, and I would never judge them for it; if it works for you that’s great. But it’s not for me, at least not right now. However that should also mean that no one judges me for doing something I feel is right for me and Josh.
We have a lot of opinions pushed on us as Mums; breastfeeding or bottle feeding, co-sleeping or not, baby led weaning or pureeing; and there always seems to be something that is the current hot topic for people to have a strong opinion about. But I think the strongest opinion is always do what is right for you, do what makes you happy and relaxed. Babies are so in tune with us and they know if we’re not happy. If you’re happy and relaxed, baby will be too! This post is a plea to you all; don’t be pressured into doing anything you don’t want to, in any circumstance. I hate the amount of negative pressure there is put on women.
The choices you make are what makes you the mother you are. And my choices and the things I blog about are my take on being a Mum. I am a huge advocate on “each to their own” which, if you’re a regular reader you will know. This is simply my experience and my take on motherhood, not what I think others should do. So why should others judge me for the choices I make. As a mum, you know best. And you should be the one to define motherhood in your own way. I’m here to talk you through my definition of motherhood. MINE. It’s MINE. It doesn’t mean it has to be YOURS, nor do you have to remotely agree with it. But in turn, don’t judge me. Don’t judge each other. We are all in this together. As women and mothers we should support each other, and not pass judgement.
Do what is right for you and your baby and fuck those who inflict unwanted judgement on you. I for one won’t let anyone’s “impartial” advice push me to do things I’m not comfortable with.
Be proud of yourselves mumma’s & stop with all the hate. Mind your own business and just be happy for one and other. Stop with the judgement and simply spread the love. You’re great – you’re a mummy!