Posts Tagged ‘baby led weaning’

Baby-led Feeding

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Baby-led feedingPerhaps your baby shows signs of being ready for table food. Maybe he or she hit that magic age where solids are to be introduced. Perhaps you find yourself strolling down the baby aisle at the store and considering all those pouches of puree that seem to be all the craze these days.

Baby-led feeding is generally referred to as baby-led weaning because the introduction of table food is the beginning of a longer process of transitioning baby to table foods full-time. Of course this process takes many months (or even years). Weaning, then, is not a loss so much as a transition in the relationship that occurs overtime.

Numerous resources already exist if you’re looking for more information about the process, if you and your child are ready to begin baby-led weaning, and ideas for recipes and general tips to make the messy transition as simple as possible.

KellyMom is a well-known resource on breastfeeding but they don’t leave you cold when it comes time to shift. KellyMom.com offers numerous articles written by those knowledgeable in the field about weaning. Specific situations for mothers who primarily pump are also included. The website continues beyond recognizing if your child is ready to also include information about timing the weaning process, ensuring you do not move too quickly or cut out other needs your child might not have as often with decreased breastfeeding (like cuddle time or other one-on-one attention).

If you are working through your own feelings on the subject know you aren’t alone! Le Leche offers insight into a variety of feelings and thoughts that moms might need to process as the consider or are in the midst of baby-led feeding. They also offer specialty articles such as weaning twins or anxiety associated with this transition.

When it comes to the food Wholesome Baby Food at Momtastic offers a number of recipes and weekly menu ideas to help get you started or out of the “bananas and avocado again” slump. The site also includes age-specific information for weaning. Of course if you prefer holding a book to read up on the subject, several primers exist on the subject.

Simple Bites is a mommy-driven website that incorporates baby-led weaning to the table with their general interest in including the whole family around unprocessed meals. Mama Natural also speaks with similar interest and authority found mostly in personal experience and research. Both sites offer numerous ideas and recipes to help introduce anyone to the concept of BLW.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

My Baby Isn’t Interested in Solids

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

My baby isn't interested in solidsThere are as many methods to transition a baby to solid foods as there are baby gurus out there. Cereal first, meat first, nuts, no nuts, baby-led weaning …

No matter the method though, a child cannot live forever on breastmilk or formula alone, and there will come a day when she has her first taste of food.

What if baby isn’t interested in solids? Many people say to have your baby sit with the family during mealtimes, and he will naturally become interested in solids seeing his family eating them, too. This is exactly how things went down with my two younger boys. My oldest, however, Mr. Stubborn, was a different story.

Come six months of age, my mom group friends’ babies were all starting to chow down. There didn’t seem to be a picky eater among them (though the Internet does have a way of glossing over things, doesn’t it?). Mr. Stubborn though, was not interested. In any of it. I packed up the baby spoons and tried again in a few weeks. Nope. By eight months old, he was still growing like a weed, but was still refusing everything but breastmilk. I was exhausted providing all of the calories for a 97 percenter in weight category.

Every reluctant eater will have a different food that will finally start to turn things around. For mine, it was rice husk crackers. I know, there’s not a ton going on there, nutrient-wise, but it was an enjoyable sensory experience for him, which started him finally getting more adventurous on other foods. So don’t give up. Take a break, and keep trying a variety of foods.

Finally, if you have any concerns, make sure to bring it up with your pediatrician. It’s possible that your child may need to see a feeding therapist, particularly if she isn’t growing at a rate your pediatrician and you are happy with.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.

 

 

When Your Baby Doesn’t Want to Stop Nursing

Monday, November 30th, 2015

When your Baby doesn't want to stop nursingFellow mommas, here I am writing this blog while I am deep in the trenches. My son Levi is days away from 14 months old, and he doesn’t want to stop nursing. I mean, not at all. This boy could nurse 6 times a day and be as happy as a camper. With my daughter, we started weaning the week after she turned 1, and by 13 months, it was over. With Levi, we are still nursing very frequently.

Now I know this isn’t necessarily a problem. Getting to this point is an accomplishment, and I don’t take it lightly. Many moms struggle with troubles with baby’s latch, poor milk supply, and other health concerns, that hinder their nursing journey. Levi’s journey has been a breeze, except for one devastating bite incident back in the spring.

Do I want to stop nursing? Not necessarily. I want to stop when Levi is ready. I know it is precious to him, and to take it away quickly would not be caring on my part. However, has anyone else ever felt this way?

I would like my body back. While nursing is very beneficial in my bra size, I would like to wear my pretty bras again. I don’t want to wear nursing pads anymore, either. Selfish, maybe. Nursing is a gift of love, and in a way, it takes a part of you.

Many moms don’t experience the return of their fertility while nursing. My daughter was weaned solely so we could try for baby 2. Here I sit, no fertility, and not sure. Breastfeeding can hinder ovulation in moms and this can cause family planning to be a little tricky for some of us.

But, what’s important to me is that I let Levi wean at his pace. Baby-led weaning is a popular technique. I have been slowly introducing cow’s milk to Levi, and it’s going well. He still wakes in the night to nurse, but I know someday soon that may be a thing of the past.

If you are ready to wean your baby, you can take some steps to encourage baby to get on board. Offering milk at nursing sessions or rocking your baby before bed can help. For me, simply singing some songs to Levi before nap has helped.

So, mommas, has anyone else ever felt this way? You wouldn’t mind being done, but your baby just doesn’t seem ready. Here’s what I think. I think it’s important to acknowledge that baby isn’t ready. Sure, I am tired. I dream of the day when I can sleep in and my husband can get up at 6 a.m. with Levi. Sure, I am a little over it. Not going to lie. But, I know that babies don’t keep and babies change so easily. By the time I figure out how to slow Levi down, he will start weaning himself. So, momma, if you’re like me, hang in there. Keep nursing for now. There will be a day when your baby won’t care. There will be a day when I’m sad that Levi doesn’t care. For now, I nurse and contemplate how to wean. For now, I find joy in the fact that my little guy still finds me his comfort, his love, his mommy.

Karyn Meyerhofff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana who will be up at 4 a.m. to nurse Levi tonight. 

HELP! My Baby Doesn’t Care about Food!

Monday, August 17th, 2015

When mastitis strikesBy the time my oldest son reached five or six months old, he was a giant. He was crazy long and his cheeks and arms and legs were so chubby, I could barely keep up with him (he was exclusively breastfed at the time). I was very interested in him starting to get some of his calories from solid foods by then. Unfortunately, he was not.

Some babies start watching everybody eat right away, and seem to have a keen interest in trying out the same foods. My youngest son was like that. He definitely fit pretty perfectly into the baby led weaning (BLW) camp.

But my older son was a totally different story. To be honest, he is still (at age six) still nervous about new situations, and I think that’s why he wasn’t interested in solids. He was used to breastmilk, he liked breastmilk, so why try anything new? It wasn’t broke, so he wasn’t fixing it. My husband the engineer is kind of the same way; I wonder where he gets it?

By eight months, I was barely able to spoon feed more than a couple servings of baby food to him, no matter if it was store bought or homemade. Forget BLW, he was totally not interested. It seemed to be affecting his sleep. He took a long time to be able to sleep 6 to 8 hours in a row, because I think he was hungry. My friends with babies the same age all talked about the huge variety of foods their kids were eating by then, which made me concerned (especially as a first-time mom).

If you’re in the same boat, there’s no need to despair like I did. It’s definitely worth asking about at your next pediatrician visit. There are some children that do require feeding therapy, and your doctor should be able to decide if your child would benefit from further testing. It could be just teething pain as well keeping your baby from wanting to dig in.

Continue to offer your baby a variety of foods. Eventually even the most stubborn kids, as long as there’s no underlying medical issue, will eventually discover how fun and tasty eating is. Baby Mum Mum crackers were the turning point for my son. A friend recommended the surfboard-shaped rice crackers, and he loved them. Once he discovered one food he loved, he slowly started eating other things, too.

Keep in mind, that kids, like adults, are all different. Some children are voracious eaters from the start, and some kids will always be light eaters. And if your baby is a reluctant solids eater, well, there’s one bright side: if you’re breastfeeding, being the source of almost 100 percent of an older, larger baby’s caloric intake can often mean losing the last of your baby weight.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 4 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Nursing While Pregnant

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Nursing While PregnantI’m sleeping! Baby has a schedule! Breastfeeding is natural and seamless! And BAM–I’m pregnant.

This is a situation many moms find themselves in. When celebrating this exciting news, so many questions about our current nursling arise. How we choose to modify our breastfeeding relationship once pregnant is a deeply personal decision. For me, I was committed to extended breastfeeding and baby-led weaning. I treasured my nursing relationship with my then 18-month-old, and I had no plans of making him adjust because I got pregnant. I knew that it isn’t always possible to nurse through pregnancy, but I was going to give it my best shot. That’s all we can do as mothers.

In the beginning breastfeeding didn’t feel any different, but it wasn’t too long before nursing was uncomfortable. The second trimester was by far the most challenging. During this trimester, my milk production was severely low, if not absent. Dry nursing–nursing with very little supply–and the lovely pregnancy hormones that make our nipples tender, was challenging for me. The third trimester, while better, still had its challenges. I would feel touched-out, and nursing made my skin crawl. I had to make some changes to our nursing relationship if I was going to continue through pregnancy and beyond, so here is what we did.

Limit frequency

The first change was frequency. We had already gradually reduced our nursing sessions, but now that I was experiencing the painful side of nursing while pregnant I needed a schedule. We settled on morning, nap, and bedtime. This helped me mentally prepare, but I would be lying if I said that we had a positive breastfeeding relationship at this time. It hurt; it felt like he was biting. Sometimes I would holler out “You’re biting,” or “OK, if you are biting we are done.” My poor son would get upset and cry. It took me a while to realize he wasn’t biting. It wasn’t about what he was doing, but the fact that my body was undergoing massive changes.

No Blaming

I had to stop blaming him for any pain I had. This was hard. Sometimes I would nurse with my teeth clenched tight, unable to look at him and enjoy this time together that I used to treasure. I had to consciously make an effort to lock eyes with him, smile, and stroke his hair, everything I used to do so naturally. Instead of crying out and blaming him when the pain seemed unbearable, I started a count down. “5…4…3…2…1, OK, no more Milkies!” This way he knew it was almost time to “put the milkies away.”

Time Limit

As time went on, more changes were necessary to preserve any sort of nursing relationship. In conjunction with my countdown, I also put a 5-minute time limit on our nursing sessions. This helped me make sure I was giving him enough time to touch base and get his cuddles in before ending the nursing session. Nursing wasn’t about food at this point; it was about the physical bond and connection we shared. At the end of each 5-minute period I would count down and make sure he knew we could snuggle.

These three changes, a long with my own determination, were integral in helping me continue nursing while pregnant. At first, all of these changes were hard for my son. But I was consistent with all of them, and he learned quickly that this was our new routine. Every time I thought about just weaning him, we would have a wonderful nursing session, he would stroke my cheek, or sign and say, “Milkies, please.”

Some nursing sessions were easier than others, but we did what was best for us. No matter what everyone is telling you as a mom, you have to do what is best for you and your family. No two people experience nursing the same. There is no right or wrong when determining something like when to wean or when to carry on. The important thing is to do what works and supports a happy mom and a happy baby.

Casey Mix-McNulty, RN, BSN is a full-time mom to an imaginative little boy and a feisty little girl.   She is also a pediatric nurse aspiring towards becoming an IBCLC.