BLW: Mom, Dad, today I’m going to eat alone!

The introduction of food is a very important moment in the baby’s life, and fundamental for the development of healthy eating habits throughout his life. This is a delicate process, which starts at six months of age, when the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics indicates that breastfeeding no longer needs to be exclusive, and it can be included in the routine of small other foods, such as fruits and vegetables. At that moment, many doubts, uncertainties and insecurities arise… After all, what is the best way to introduce solid foods into the lives of children? Among the different methods of introducing food , one has gained popularity among families, it is the BLW method  . Have you heard of this technique?

BLW: babies in charge

What is BLW?

Designed and developed by the British Gil Rapley, the term BLW means, in free translation, “baby-led weaning”  and consists of offering food in pieces to the little one, so that he feeds himself with his hands, according to your curiosity, appetite and interest.

When can I choose this method?

To adopt this method, it is essential that the little one is already at least six months old, can sit without support, hold the food with their hands and take whatever they want to the mouth, in addition to showing interest in what the parents are eating . If your baby has already reached these developmental milestones, you can now opt for BLW to introduce food into your little one’s life, placing him sitting at the table to make meals together with you.

What foods can be offered and how to prepare them?

It is very important that at this stage only healthy foods are offered , such as fruits and vegetables , and preferably directly on the tray that comes in the baby seats. Thus, the food seems more showy and draws more attention to the child. Some food options that can be offered to the little ones are: carrot, broccoli, tomato, zucchini, chayote, cabbage, potato, cucumber, yam, pumpkin, beet, okra, green beans, cauliflower, banana, apple, melon, boiled egg and rice balls with beans.

Harder foods should be cooked well with water and a minimum amount of salt. Only when the little one is already used to eating, around nine months, can you start using other spices, herbs and condiments to vary the flavors. Olive oil and coconut oil are welcome, but cooking oil is not. So, no fried foods. Just grilled food.

Even if the baby does not have teeth at the beginning, he is able to chew with his gums, grinding enough so that he can swallow. Another important point is to cut the vegetables into sticks to help the little one hold each piece and put it in his mouth.

How do I know if my baby has eaten enough?

The recommended thing is to offer between three and four different foods for lunch and dinner . But that does not mean that your baby needs to eat everything. In fact, if your little one did not like a certain food initially, avoid insisting on eating it , as this may cause them to lose interest in the food. Wait for a while and offer the food again, little by little. It is also worth mentioning that the experience of taking food and putting it in your mouth to smell and taste it is also important and part of the process . Therefore, it is normal to have dirt on the table because the baby is still learning and should not be punished for not eating everything or spreading the food.

The baby will stop eating when he stops feeling hungry or loses curiosity about the food , and the best way to know if he is eating enough is to check if he is growing and getting fat according to expectations, at each visit with the pediatrician. .

As it is indicated that the baby continues to breastfeed until at least one year of age, part of its nutrition will also come from breast milk . Another way to ensure that the baby eats enough is to offer the feed after the baby feeds with his own hands.

What if my baby chokes?

So that the baby does not run the risk of choking while eating, he must remain the whole meal sitting at the table, with total control and attention of what he takes and brings to his mouth . Only when the child is able to sit alone, open and close his hand and put the food in his mouth to eat should he be encouraged to eat in pieces. If she has already reached this point, there is little risk of choking, not least because the baby will not be able to pick up very small foods, such as grains, as this movement requires more coordination. In any case, it is essential that the baby is never alone during meals and is not distracted by another activity while feeding. All attention should be focused on food so that he can have autonomy and eat meals safely.