Our Approach to Baby Led Weaning

Not long after Caleb was born, I discovered the idea of Baby Led Weaning (BLW). BLW is what it sounds like – letting the child feed themselves about the time they reach 6 months and are showing interest in food. For Caleb, he started showing interest in food at about 4 months, but we held off for the most part offering him anything.

The biggest takeaway here is “weaning”. In the United States, weaning is considered to be leading a baby off of breast milk while the United Kingdom, weaning is more so where you simply add complementary foods to the child’s diet. After all, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

I fell in love with the approach even if the rest of my family isn’t quite sold. The biggest concern that they’ve expressed is choking. I remember the first time my mom watched Caleb feed himself. She quickly told me to stop because she couldn’t handle watching him do it. There is a HUGE difference between gagging and choking however. I know it is hard watching Caleb struggle but as long as I stay calm, he stays calm.

Baby Led Weaning can help a child develop into a good eater. If they eat it, they eat it, if not, they don’t. You don’t force them to eat it. You allow them to explore and feed themselves. It’s meant to be fun, after all and it is fun. And messy. Soooo messy. You can make them little special treats (like my Healthy Baby Muffin Bites) or you can feed them what you eat, just making sure that they are sized appropriately.  They are exposed to new textures and tastes, and learn to chew first and then swallow (versus swallow first and then chew like with purees).

I do give Caleb some pureed items on occasion just to give him that sort of texture (which some purists believe that any puree means that you are not doing BLW) but for the most part, I go with the Baby Led Weaning approach. Follow my Instagram for pictures of some of what I feed him or check back on the blog soon for a “What Caleb Ate” post!

Our Outer Banks Adventure

I love being near the Outer Banks. It’s nothing for me to just get up on a day and drive down there for a few hours. During my maternity leave, I actually loaded Caleb up in the car and drove down there, picked up some Duck Donuts and came back home. It was a wonderful trip and a good way to spend a morning.

Caleb’s first taste of cantaloupe – he loved it!

Every summer for about 18 years now, my grandparents go down to the Outer Banks for about a week and stay in a condo inviting the rest of the family to come. I usually try to get down there. In the past few years though, I’ve only managed to go down for the day. The condo is located right near the ocean and when I was younger, it felt safe for me to be able to come and go as I pleased pretty much.

Two of Caleb’s favorite toys – a cup and a spoon!

The latest tropical storm lurked about 150 miles south off the coast of North Carolina this weekend, making it overcast, WINDY, and cool. The temperatures lurked in the low 80’s near about all weekend, giving us a nice break from the previous weeks. We couldn’t go on the beach because of how hard the sand was being blown everywhere but that’s okay – we still had fun!

Bonding time with the grandson!

My mom had picked Caleb up a float for the pool so we went to the indoor pool for about 15-20 minutes and let Caleb float around. He’s been in the water before and enjoys it. His little legs were kicking as hard as they could. I think that I have a little water baby on my hands and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Caleb was wore out from floating around, so I put him down for a brief nap before he resumed crawling around on the carpet. Crawling is something that he just started doing that weekend and he was so proud to show his skills off. He has even been working on pulling himself up a little bit. Now that he is mobile… we have our hands full!

After his nap, my mom, Caleb and I went down to Rock-A-Bye Baby OBX and picked up some really cute goodies. I can’t wait to get back and shop some more! I’m working on a YouTube video right now that’ll feature some of the goodies that I purchased from the shop as well as some clips of Caleb swimming.

I took Monday off of work so that Caleb and I could relax a little bit. Since it was a much warmer day, I took him outside and allowed him to just go to town with a bowl of apple puree. I think he had fun!

Teething Helpers For Your Baby

Wow. Caleb is 6 1/2 months already. I absolutely cannot believe it. While we think that he started teething back when he was 3 months old, we still haven’t had any teeth break through the surface. Every time I feel around in his mouth though, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a tooth poking out. We’ve been keeping a few items in the fridge to help soothe his gums (and him on these hot summer days) so I thought that I would share a few of our, or rather Caleb’s favorite items to help him through his first teething experience.

Is your little one having issues teething? Check out the Hippie and the Hunter's suggestions for teething helpers!

Wink Naturals Cool Gums Teething Gel 

I picked up this teething gel long before the FDA released its warning in May about teething gels with benzocaine. The Cool Gums Teething Gel is a natural, drug-free formula containing zero numbing agents and it helps soothe tender gums. It has a great flavor to it and Caleb really seems to enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll even put it in the fridge for a little bit to get it a little extra cool. Fun fact: you can also use it on canker sores yourself!

Use “EELLIOTT15” to get 15% off of anything in the Wink Naturals shop!

 

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush

I’ve mentioned this product before but it is too good to not mention again. This is sort of like a starter toothbrush for those first teeth but it doubles as a gum massager to help with sore gums. It’s never too early to start your little one on the right path to good dental hygiene! The finger toothbrush is super easy to use and it almost seemed like a game to Caleb for me to use it. It’s a completely different sensation to have against your gums and I think he found it funny!

Mary & Kate Benny the Bunny Teether Rattle

This wooden rattle is made of European beechwood and is such a fun little rattle to play with. I love the sound of it. It’s durable and safe for babies to chew on. Studies have shown that wood can naturally eliminate even most harmful bacteria like e-coli or salmonella from its surface within minutes, so you don’t need to sterilize some wooden toys. Just rinse them under running water or wipe clean. This rattle was designed Montessori style to stimulate baby’s senses, encourage learning and social skills and promote grasping and fine motor skills development.

Go GaGa Squeeze & Teethe Elephant – Kiki

Finger!

One of Caleb’s favorite things to gnaw on is my finger! Or rather… my knuckle to be more specific. I don’t mind, especially since he doesn’t have any teeth yet. Even better – fingers are free and easily cleaned!

Essential Oil Blend

Yes, there IS an essential oil blend that may help with teething. To 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, add 1 drop of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of roman chamomile essential oil. You’ll want to massage a small amount on the OUTSIDE of your little one’s cheek along the gum line. Again – OUTSIDE. Essential oils are potent and should be treated as such!

What are some of the things that helped your little one when s/he started teething?

 

The Virus

Robb just got back this past Sunday from being out of town for two weeks. That meant two weeks where I was 100% responsible for Caleb. Why I do care for him the majority of the time, I rely on Robb a lot to get other stuff done around the house and for late night diaper changes.

I started not feeling well before he left though and that feeling only intensified. By the time week two rolled around, I was feeling a bit miserable. My muscles ached so bad that I could barely pick Caleb up, my nose was stuffy, my throat was killing me and surprise – all of that led to my body being susceptible to viral pinkeye! Good times! I don’t remember my body ever struggling like that. In fact, when I told Robb that I felt worse now than when I had my c-section, that prompted him to call asking if I needed to go to the hospital.

But I kept going. I applaud all of those single moms who just keep going because they have no other choice, because they can’t stop. I took three days off of work to rest some and theorized being able to straighten up the house, but since it hurt to just switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and I would feel faint after minutes of pulling weeds in the garden, I didn’t get much done.

I maintained Caleb’s routine. Yeah, he might have missed a few baths but I still kept him fed and changed and we managed to have play time. We didn’t have a lot of snuggles though out of worry that I would pass something on to him. The thing about Caleb though is that he really is an easy baby and we have been so blessed by him. During this time when I felt so poorly, I was especially thankful for that.

Then Saturday came. I went over to Mom’s for a yard sale and she saw first-hand how poorly I felt. That evening, my temperature crept up to around 102. I had been texting my mom all evening with updates on my temperature and she kept asking if I wanted her to come over to watch Caleb. But I kept saying “No, no. We’ll be fine.” I knew that my mom was tired and that she needed her rest as well. Finally, there was a knock at my door and when I opened it, my mom was standing there, night bag in hand.

My mom knows just by looking at me if I’m running a fever. She always has and we never owned a thermometer growing up. Another thing about my mom is that she knows when I probably do need her, even if I don’t say anything. She got to work helping me clean the house for when Robb got home and sacrificed her own sleep that night so I could rest.

I started feeling better on Sunday. Even though I’m still not completely well, I’m getting there. I think that having her help went a long way in my recovery.

We all need help sometimes but why does it seem so hard to ask for it? I’m not one to really ever ask for help. I like to think that I always have it under control and my mom raised me to be fiercely independent. But when it all boils down to it, there is nothing wrong with having someone to step in, is it?

A Letter To My Son

Dear Caleb,

Yesterday you had your 4 month shots. I can’t believe that I have only been your mom for 4 months. It feels like a lifetime already. You make it so easy to be a mom, to be your mom. I cuddled with you most of the afternoon while you slept because I knew you needed it. I knew that you needed the warmth and safety of mom’s arms. Yes, I had to take leave without pay from work but it was worth it. You’re only going to be this small once.

You slept all day and into the evening. Even though I knew that I should wake you, I let you sleep. I knew that your little body needed the rest, even if it meant that we would be up all night. Sure enough, at midnight, you woke, ready to start your day. It made for a long day at work only having 3 hours of sleep, but how could I be upset at you? All you wanted to do was “talk” to me last night, to play with your toy, to share your happiness. Every time I looked over, your brown eyes looked right back at me. You would smile, a smile that filled my heart with joy. I know that you don’t understand the concept of love yet but you know that I am your person, your protector, your provider. I am your world.

But it won’t always be like this. As you grow bigger, as your world grows bigger, you won’t look at me the same. Sure, I’ll always be your mom and you’ll always love me, but things will change. Someone else will come into your life and I want that for you… one day… That’s why I had no problem staying home with you yesterday. I know our time together is short.

I’ve already watched you grow so much since you were born – cooing, reaching for things, holding your head up, interacting with others, TEETHING – it has been so amazing. I can’t wait to see where this journey continues to take us.

With love,

Mom