Saturday, 3 March 2007

Should BLW also stand for Brave Ladies Weaning?

So, you have read the Rapley guidleines, and you think that BLW is for you.

You have either picked a day to start, or had one thrust upon you - but is that really the end of the story. As I have answered more and more queries on the subject I think I can say NO!

So why is BLW also brave ladies weaning - well here are some of my thoughts.....

1. It is a real leap of faith to offer your lovely baby food and then have them eat little or nothing. It is hard for some of us to trust that our babies will eat when they are ready, and that if they are not eating then it seems easy to think that maybe we should give a little puree to "encourage them" etc etc.

I think a lot of these sorts of pressures come from the old advice of weaning at 4 months, and earlier. If at 6.5 months your perfectly healthy bundle isn't eating food then the world at large seems to want to know why. It seems a common question as you approach 6 months "is X on solids yet?" the research I have done shows that until ONE YEAR OLD the milk you give is the main source of calories and nutrition for your baby. SOlid food is a learning exercise in tastes and textures.

2. Your mother in law (and possibly your mum) will think you have gone mad.

I have found this one easy to deal with - just show them your lo eating away happily and they soon chill out about the whole thing. I have also found that muttering that "baby rice has the same nutritional content as wallpaper paste" also works quite well! (not that I have ever eaten either!).

It seems my MIL is now happy thinking I am mad as a resulyt of the bf, the cloth nappies and the baby sign!

3. Your mush feeding friends also think you are mad

This is especially true if they are the ever evil "competative mums"!! I have never struggled with this one as George eats about as much as 3 babies at most meals, so I would love to hear how anyone has fended off friends with concerns over your starving baby!

4. Your HV has no idea what BLW is

I also found this one quite easy to deal with. I don't think I have ever followed any advice from my HV or found her to be in any way useful! I guess I was lucky that another midwife from the same baby centre is very pro-BLW. I guess the answer is just research as much as you can - finding this blog is a great start!

I think that you must just follow your instincts on this one - if you think BLW is right for your baby then go for it. The research is credible and done by a very reliable and reputable woman - and just remember - there have been NO tests on feeding mush to your baby!

5. There are no books to guide you

I actually found this quite liberating! Saying that though, I found that having Aitch's blog was a god send. I didn't follow her pattern of introducing food, but just knowing what sort of things she had tried gave me the confidence to try my own thing. I hope this blog will do the same for you.

I am now really shocked to hear about the "weaning plans" you can get in the peddlers of mush books....on tuesday introduce carrot, and give carrot for 3 days...etc .....etc...etc. Whilst, as Rapley says, you should not throw your common sense out with the blender I would find this sort of schedule highly patronising and limiting.

But, I have decided I am becomming a bit of an old hippy these days!

So, to sum up, I guess we are all "brave ladies weaning" - we are out there trying something new(ish!!!). Keep strong ladies, and trust your babies.


Mel x


Jeasmin said...

An interesting read!

Mel_x said...

Thanks hun,

just my witterings really, but I have spoken to a few mums who were really enthusiastic but then got scared when it took their lo's time to get going.

Thought this might help!


Mel x

Jeasmin said...

Yes, I can really relate to that. Some days when my lo doesn't eat, or when she makes huges mess, i think wouldn't be easier if i just hand/spoon feed her. But its all worth it when i see her eat away on other days, or when we eat together at the same time or she eats and I do other things! She looks really grown up!

Hope things ok tomorrow - with work meeting. I am due to go back in July 07 and I am starting to get really worried about it. Who will look after my lo like the way i do? As you are due to go back before me, can i pick your brains for advice nearer the time as like you I am planning to ebf?


Take care


Mel_x said...


of course you can honey! It fills me with fear the thought of leaving George. He will be going to nursery 2 days a week, and I am worried they won't expect him to eat as much as he does some days and that he will be hungry! This is silly really as their meal times are so randon their "lunch" (11am) and "dinner" (3pm) only need to act as his real lunch, and I will feed him his real dinner when I get home too!

Still, I may win the lottery before then & never go back!


Mel x

Jo said...


I think your comments sum it up totally!!

As you know from posts on BC, I started BLW with only the advice from my HV who had been involved with the original research as at that time there was nothing whatsoever published!! She gave me the confidence to "go for it" even though I was formula feeding (which I know still isn't recommended in most health trust areas).

Lewis is my second child so I was definitely much more relaxed all round, not sure I'd have been as confident first time, but it's one of the best decisions I ever made!

I'd say to all Mums who get worried about their lo's getting going to just be patient, they will get there eventually.

Mel_x said...


I think your HV sounds wonderful!

Thanks for your lovely comments too, I just seemed to spend as long these days reassuring people as I do promoting BLW, so I thought this post might save me a couple of repetitions.


Mel x

Antonia said...

this website is absolutely brilliant! i love it, jo has just thrown, toast and philly on floor, mushed banana into his fingers and thrown that on floor too, sigh!!! your brave lady weaning WAS feeling disgruntled! I live in manchester too, where is the baby cafe that you go to, I havent got one in Didsbury and they sound a lovely idea. From Toni and Joseph x

Mel_x said...

Hi Toni!

wow - thanks for your comment! I am glad you have found the site useful!

The baby cafe is in Alex park - if you look on the baby cafe website it will give you the full address. It is brill imho!


Mel x

EmCee said...

It's really good to find this info on BLW..I really want to try it (it seems much beeter than tons of mush and eating techniques that almost have to be 'unlearnt'), but admit I am quite scared (am I doing the right thing for my Annie, or just being 'gimmicky'??). ..I'm worried about the gagging/choking too.. Oh, I need to make a decision!

Mel_x said...

Hi EmCee,

My honest opinion is that there isn't really that much new in BLW, it is just "going back to the old school". Purees were invented when the weaning age got earlier and earlier as a 10 week old baby has no options available to them except purees (yes - they did wean that early!). As the advice on weaning changed to the current 26 weeks then there was no assessment of the advice on purees.

In fact, there has never been any research into the giving of purees.

The Gill Rapley research has shown that BLW and it's improvements on oral control also help with speech due to the greater use of muscles.

BLW also reduces the chance of choking as the oral control gives the lo's the ability to control the food in their mouths, with purees they just slip to the back of the throat. With either type of weaning there is a risk of choking - but either way it is a necessary evil! lol

I take such pleasure in seeing George be able to eat for himself, and eating out with him is so easy.

And remember, Gill is the deputy director of the UNICEF baby friendly initiative - so hardly a fly by night!

What ever you choose, good luck with it! Let me know how you get on won't you.


Mel x