BLW - A fad that's causing a rise in Anaemic babies?

Hi ladies

Can't remember where I read this recently but just wondered what everyone thought of the idea that BLW is just a fad that is causing a rise in anaemic babies because it takes them longer to eat more and they don't get the nutrition that they need right from 6 months?

Friendly debate/opinions please!! ;\)



  • hey hunny - i personally think this is rubbish as babies dont really need food until at least 9 months and what they are doing now is exploring so when they need to solely rely on solids they will be ok. Which means blw will be one step ahead. will be interested to see what others think x
  • I read that baby's don't really need solids till there 12 months anyway so i don't think there is much truth in that report! xx
  • Hmmm... not sure where I stand on BLW really - I like some of the principles such as introducing finger foods early on but am not sure it is quite the miracle solution to weaning that some think it is.

    My HV said that babies need more than milk from 6 months as they need more iron than they can get from milk alone. Apparently they should still get a substantial amount of their diet as milk (500-600ml) but it is essential that they are getting solids as well, especially meat or iron rich veg. Haven't thoroughly researched this personally but it is just what I have been told.
  • I didn't choose to use BLW but when you first start weaning it is in addition to their milk feeds so surely they would still get all the iron they need from their milk.
  • I think BLW is ridiculous, the thought of a hungry baby unsuccessfully getting nutrition from bits of veg he/she can't eat properly makes me cross. There are plenty of babies in the world who are hungry and here we have a self-congratulatory food fad where there is ample food. As I've said before here women have chomped up their food in their own mouths for their babies since the beginning of time. Besides all this a babys relationship with food is symbolic of his/her relationship with life, you start of with it palatable and easy and gradually work up to the trickier foods, in the same way you rock a baby and don't put it alone in a room to cry itself to sleep, therein lays another debate. Anyway you asked for friendly responses but I think you knew the question would cause a rumpus, so here's the first offering! I say BLW is silly, give the baby something they can eat! Oh and had to just add that no food needed before 12 months????????? What planet????????????? :lol:

    [Modified by: dollywotsit on July 21, 2010 08:12 PM]

  • Anyway you asked for friendly responses but I think you knew the question would cause a rumpus, so here's the first offering!

    [Modified by: dollywotsit on July 21, 2010 08:12 PM]

    But hopefully we can discuss like adults!??!

    I am genuinely interested in peoples opinions (either way) because we were originally going to do BLW but are now doing purees with finger food alongside and it's the best decision we've ever made and our daughter has really blossomed since we changed (after just 2 weeks of BLW). Then I read this and am really starting to think there's something in it....
  • I didn't choose to use BLW but when you first start weaning it is in addition to their milk feeds so surely they would still get all the iron they need from their milk.

    Breastmilk doesn't have storable iron in it and at 6 months a baby's iron stores start to run out so if BF'ing in particular it's important that they get this storable iron from somewhere (formula has it added in already).
  • Dollywotsit, I have seen a couple of replies from you about blw now, and I think you have the wrong end of the stick!

    We started blw because my independant daughter did not want to be spoon fed. She would clamp her mouth shut, and get very upset. She wasn't eating anything, and we both got very upset. We started blw, and I offered her foods that she could manage. You know they are ingesting it, as you can see it in their poo. We quickly moved on to all types of food, and now at 10 months, she can, and will eat anything. Apart from salmon, but that's ok with me. She is very happy, I don't battle with her, and she can manage anything I give her. Believe me, she does not go hungry, and she has a wide and varied diet.

    Hannahs relationship with food is a relaxed one, she enjoys her food. My worst childhood memory is being force fed cauliflower, and as a result, I was a very fussy eater. So I think for our family, blw is the best way, and not at all a fad!

    Because of my fussy eating, I have had a very poor diet over the years, and I blame THAT for my current anaemia.

    I just don't understand why blw gets such a bad press, I only have to look at my daughter to know I made the right decision.
  • I am genuinely interested in peoples opinions (either way) because we were originally going to do BLW but are now doing purees with finger food alongside and it's the best decision we've ever made and our daughter has really blossomed since we changed (after just 2 weeks of BLW). Then I read this and am really starting to think there's something in it....

    It's interesting that you say this. I was shown a video on BLW the other day and it really put me off. Basically the babies were putting bits of food in their mouths and spitting it straight back out and I just wondered how on earth this alone was supposed to be enough. Fair enough, give them the finger food, but give them some purees as well so they are actually eating something. The video also claimed that breastmilk was enough until well past 6 months so it didn't matter that they weren't actually eating anything, which is a load of rubbish if you ask me!

    I think going for the middle road of purees and finger foods as you have done is the most sensible option.
  • I dont know, but a very interesting question. However, I do know, from paed and dietician, that babies need more than milk from 6 months, earlier if they were prem, as their iron stores run out and there is not enough iron in milk (formula or breast) to keep these at a reasonable level.

    However, on BLW I have no experience. We couldnt do this with the boys as they needed food earlier (we weaned them at 21 weeks under the supervision of the dietician) as they had so many problems with milk and were not drinking enough. They didnt have the hand to mouth coordination AT ALL to get anything in! lol!

    We did a mixture of finger foods and mainly puree and my boys love food, and now eat food that is mashed rather than pureed and love it. However, they are still anaemic, slightly, so I dont know what the relationship is between the 2, but ours wasnt the result of BLW, just the lack of milk in their early days, and maybe their slight prematurity, and that 2 of them were sharing my lacking supplies??

    Sorry, havent really helped have I??
  • i'm with the majority on here as you will probably know from BIJ posts NN. i think purees with finger food options is definately the way forward ( i think someone on BIJ called it 'mummy-led weaning which i really liked).

    i basically make sure if emmy has a sandwich say for lunch she has fruit puree/yoghurt for desert so that i know she's getting enough at that meal. however i started on puree alone so i think this helped emmy as she's only 6 1/2 months but can eat finger foods very well and actually eats more than she spits out now.

    i think finger foods are a very good thing, but work better once a baby has got the hang of food and what it's for. this could be why so many people are doing a combination as they've found this too?
  • NN - as always with this site there will be difference of opinions - what i hope will hapen with htis thread is that people can ignore the stupid ones.

    BLW is perfectly safe otherwise we wouldnt do it. It is also not advisable to feed your baby when they are really hungry as they will get frustrated with not getting it in fast enough.

    I have personally found it amazing, Toby is such a confindent eatter - at a soft play area i was sharing a table with a one year old and his mummy. He was being spoon fed a mix of foods in a mush sop he hasnt a chance of differenciating (sp) between the food items and toby chared my jacket potato with cheese and beans then fed himself yoghurt off a spoon (i preload and put it on his tray). the mum couldnt believe it and was so impressed with how he ate. Today - his appetite is non existent becasue of teething and feeling a little under the weather and he stopped eatting and told me he had had enough.

    In my opinion this has to be the option with the healthier attitude to food is the way to go - to poo poo it without reading the facts is not helpful when trying to help out with posts.

    With regard to iron - i would speak to hv - try Livvi with high iron content food maybe. We have also started vitamin drops to help toby build himself up as he is starting childcare due to me going back to work and he neds to fight off these bugs that are always around.

    HTH x x x

    ps little lady is buddy gorgeous x
  • I agree middle of the road is the best way too, they get used to the tastes of foods properly and also get to experiment, my son is eating purees at the moment but has to grab the spoo handle and put it in his mouth himself lol

    I've mentioned on a few posts, my HV (in NI) had never even heard of BLW and she said that she could understand the underlying principle in that if babies are weaned later at 6-7 months they should be more capable of bigger bits of food but she said that she had received no training or government advice on the matter??

    I think to BLW is all well and good if you have the time but I'm sorry when I'm up getting my 5 year old son ready and need to make sure ds2 has had his breakfast I don't have time to sit until he decides and tries and tries with a different selection of food, not to say his breakfast is shoved down his throat either but I can't see ds1's teacher being very sympathetic if he is late because ds2 was deciding if his iron or protein were low and was choosing the foods accordingly lol

    I don't knock it in that it is every ones choice and if that is for you and your baby then work away but it isn't for me

    and just for the record my ds1 was fed purees from 16 weeks and the only thing he won't eat are mushrooms he is a fab eater and has turned down chocolate I don't know how many times in favour of bananas and blueberries, ds2 is currently a fan of cabbage, potato parsnip carrot and broccoli!
  • omg my spelling is terrible - this was due to being a little mad and typing fast!

    I love "mummy led weaning" fabulous! x
  • I think the muummy that you met the other day is wrong summer in that whether you start with purees or BLW by the time your child gets to 1 year old it should be able to eat the same as it's parents and the same consistency which my ds1 was always able to do and ds2 will be the same, I'll only puree for a few more weeks then start to mash then give more solid peices as he'll have had practice with his finger foods, the lady you mentioned has obviously just kept on blending!!! lol
  • As someone who successfully weaned her son using a modified form of baby-led weaning, I don't think it is a 'fad'. In addition to reading Gill Rapley's book I have read articles by paediatricians and listened to a very interesting interview with a nutritionist specialising in paediatrics. Two points helped convince me that BLW (or at least a form of it) was the way to go. The first was the argument made by the nutritionist that, far from being a fad, BLW was something that mothers had used as part of the weaning process for generations, ie. offering finger foods. She recommended using it in combination with pur????es but, as with anything, every child is different and the mother (or primary carer) probably knows best what combination will be right for their child. The second point, made by several doctors, is that pur????es are actually a very poor way to introduce food as they eliminate texture variety which is a very important element of eating. They also tend to create a uniform colour which, again, removes an important sensory element of food. 6-12 months is, apparently, an important time for babies to learn about texture, colour and scent as well as taste, so pur????e-ing everything may detract from children's ability to learn to eat and enjoy food in the long run. Interestingly, several babies I know who were weaned on pur????es are now picky about the colour of the food they will eat, but that is anecdotal, so not really evidence of anything.

    As I say, we ended up doing a modified form of BLW. I never consciously offered a pur????e but we did eat quite a lot of soup (he was weaned last autumn/winter and we generally eat a lot of soup at that time of year anyway). He also had sandwiches and various standard finger foods, as well as yoghurt and porridge. I aimed (and still do) to offer him as many different tastes and flavours as I could and he has, I think, enjoyed the process. Certainly, he has always taken as much delight in the process of feeding himself as the food itself and meal times have, on the whole, been a pleasure (the cleaning up is another matter).

    For me there were two important aspects. 1) We ate what he ate, and at the same time, so that he knows that meals are a social occasion. 2) I have never worried about how much he has eaten. He throve on breastmilk, so I was never concerned that he would starve if he wasn't hungry at a particular meal. I chose to give him vitamins, more for my own peace of mind than because I think he really needed them (I was given vitamins as a child so it has a nostalgic reassurance factor for me) and he never showed the slightest sign of anemia. But again, that is anecdotal, not evidence. All I can say is that, at nearly 17 months, he is the least fussy eater of his age I know. He eats anything and everything (except raisins, for some reason) and does so with great adeptness. So it worked for us, and I would recommend it to others considering trying.

    I would just add this. I personally find the obsession with how much babies consume slightly worrying. It takes many forms: the desire of extended family members to feed babies in order to bond with them, the endless advice to wean before six months as babies must be hungry and need more than milk, the concerns expressed over the number of cubes of pur????e consumed. To me, the fascination with quantity rather than quality speaks to a very uncomfortable relationship with food. I would rather my son was exposed to the qualities of food, its textures, tastes and aromas, as well as being provided a sufficient quantity for his individual need. I strive not to make meals a battlefield. If he isn't hungry some days, he isn't hungry. He generally makes up for it on others. Of course, he may turn out to be the pickiest eater in the world - ask me again in a year's time how we are doing - but so far using elements of the philosophy behind BLW seem to be helping me to raise him with what I consider a healthy attitude (as well as appetite) to food, something that I hope will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life.

    Apologies for the screed. And congratulations if you actually managed to make it to the end! image
  • i did think that moonbean - he was one mid august and the puree looked like a fiest stage one - but hey ho he seemed happy and healthy.

    History Girl - my responses are alway rushed and well uneducated i guess - yours always sound so much better - but i agree with everything in your post.

    Might go and read it again just to check!
  • completely agree with hannah's mummy - my LO hates the spoon, bats it away, cries - believe me, i have the AK books, dutifully made all the purees but he much prefers finger food and will occasionally have the spoon but it is a battle. he does eat, he has meat, fish etc. he scoops up peas by the handful!

    i would love someone who thinks they know to come round to my house and show me what i'm doing wrong! I would love to know how to get him to take the spoon, as obviously i'm doing something wrong. incidentally, at 10 months he eats lots of food that my conventionally-weaned nephew has never eaten at 2 years.

    it isn't a fad, it has been around for centuries. i can't imagine mums of larger families having the time to whizz up purees, much easier to pass on a bit of what older children are having. i can't help thinking that from "the beginning of time" mums would not have had the time to mash up first tastes of fruit and veg. and peasant women with 10 children needing to get the harvest in from the fields? With no handheld blender?! or maybe they just passed the babies a bit of bread?

    sorry, gone off tangent. i think BLW is fine, it is recommended in some cases. i'm sure we all find our own way to feed our babies one way or another. there's probably not a one size fits all approach!

    K xxx
  • I also think that History girl has made a lot of good points, I remember when I was weaning my ds1 (BLW didn't exist then) and she was very insistent that as soon as he hit 6 months to stop pureeing(sp?) food and offer thicker food with lumps etc so that he could get used to the textures, to be honest for me the more I read about BLW the more I think that it does not really seem to be a new concept when you read about it, it's just that babies are older and don't need the puree that they do and did when being advised to wean at 17 weeks? does that make sense
  • Summer, I didn't think you post uneducated. It just took me so long to type my epic that you posted while I was typing! If I had read it before I started I probably would have just posted that I agree with you. :/) I think most of us are saying much the same thing, really, that we know our babies best and having a variety of tools for helping them learn to eat will help us to achieve that aim.

    Moonbeam, that's really interesting about the age at which they should be eating 'whole' foods, as it were. I don't know for sure, but I get the impression that first time mums aren't necessarily being given enough information on how quickly they should be moving on from straight pur????es. Certainly, a lot of mothers I know seemed to still be at the mashing stage at 1 year and many seemed almost frightened to move on, another thing that put me off the 'conventional' weaning process.
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