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Breastfeeding tip : Recognising a growth spurt

* You feel as though you haven't got enough
* Baby getting upset at the breast (though can be a sign of other common problems)
* Baby is breastfeeding often or almost nonstop (feel like baby is always wanting to feed)
* A baby who was previously sleeping through the night is now waking to breast feed several times
* Baby will latch and unlatch, fussing in between

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Babyled weaning - food not boob

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default Babyled weaning - food not boob

Baby led weaning is where you gradually wean a baby from breast milk (or artificial milk) to solid food, or rather they do ;-)

Its recommend that this is not started until 6 months onwards due to the immaturity of their gut and they need to be able to sit unaided i.e. in a chair, or on their own (this goes for purees too).

At six months babies learn to chew and grasp, so this is the ideal time to begin introducing finger food.

It allows them to control their solid food intake by self-feeding from the very beginning of the weaning process.

Breastfeeding is continued in conjunction with weaning and breast milk is always offered before solids in the first 12 months.

Breast milk is still the most important part of their diet in the first year, food is just to play and experiment with.

Breastfeeding is the ideal precursor to baby led weaning (as the baby has been exposed to different flavours via Mummies breast milk and the jaw action used during breastfeeding helps the baby learn to chew)
Bottle fed babies can also try baby led weaning, although it might take them a little longer because of getting used to the variety of tastes and developing the ability to chew.

Before I learnt about baby led weaning, I tried the slush spooning with my first child.
She was weaned slightly earlier then too, regretfully.

I think at that time being a young first time mum and influenced by the rows of shop shelves with baby food that said I could give her food from 4 months, I was told it could help her sleep longer, have longer between breastfeeds and puree weaning was the Ďthingí to do. It was easy to go that route.

I am sure this contributed to her chunkiness when she was a baby until she became more active (comparing her to C, C is very lean) and her egg allergy.

I didnít do puree for long though, and when I did learn more about baby led weaning she started to eat what we had and was much happier.

I kick myself now for not waiting and being sucked in by consumerism and other people Ďopinionsí, but we learn a lot the first time around.

So with this in mind I was adamant I would do it from 6 months, I would breastfeed C first before food (and for pudding ;-D ) and would baby led wean.

To begin with I gave her some soft steamed broccoli, apple (loved it!) and carrots about once a day to begin with and gradually increased over the weeks.

She mainly licked it and spat it out, then played with it to begin with. This is very normal while they are learning. It did worry me for a short time as youíre so used to it being drummed in that they should be on 3 meals a day by now, along with pudding and sleeping through all night. (do you see where its going wrong nowadays?)

But I read more about baby led weaning, what was normal and what I should expect. My fears went and I began to trust my child instead of worrying about it.

We had a few gagging incidents, yes it scared the hell out of me. I think the mother instinct went into over drive a few times. But again this was normal. On the occasions she did, it was down to stuffing her mouth or not chewing enough. Amazingly though each time her food came back up with this gooey saliva, almost like a lubricant.

She was learning at the very young age how much she could swallow (or not in some instances!) and her body had a back up for the times where too much or something to big was trying to go down. Very clever and for this back up to be there, it made me realise that baby led weaning (babies learning to feed themselves) must be a natural and normal part of development, something her body must be ready to cope with and surely by giving them purees (which they can still gag on!) your only prolonging a natural and normal part of learning.

So with that we continued and now nearly 10 months she has excellent hand eye coordination skills, enjoys a vast amount of food that we eat (her poo tells me all!), is very happy feeding herself and is just above the 50th centile line in her red book (not that we rate those red books, but hey it made me feel chuffed! ;-)

She hasnít got any teeth yet so itís still soft food, easy to chew.

A lot of common sense (as with all parenting) plays a big part.

I get questions on whether it increased the risk of her choking, I say no.

With baby led weaning babies have total control over what is going in their mouth and learn about chewing very quickly, where as with spoon feeding they are not capable of intentionally moving food to the back of their throats which is learnt through chewing.

They canít control what goes in their mouth with spoon feeding and they do not develop the ability to chew until after they have developed the ability to reach out and grab things.

The action used to suck food off a spoon tends to take the food straight to the back of the mouth, causing gagging and with lumpy food could be a potential hazard.

So you see a normal development could possibly hindered by spoon feeding?

There is a lot of information on the web about baby led weaning, I really think if your considering it you should investigate further.

Knowledge is power and all!

I am a total believer in this method of weaning, I have a happy healthy baby to show for it Smile

What I will say though is some mums really are not comfortable with baby led weaning, but I urge you to at least read as much about it as you can and understand the benefits and if still you do not want to do it, at least you have made an informed choice and that importantly you are happy in yours.

Here are some links to get you started!

Breastfed Lottie for nearly two years and Livi for 13 months.
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