Is baby led weaning (BLW) the best way to introduce solids foods to babies? You’ve probably wondered, or maybe you’ve even had an intuitive feeling that it isn’t. This post will share more about BLW and its negative effects gut health.
The Appeal Of Baby Led Weaning
We get the appeal. BLW sounds like a good idea for raising adventurous eaters, and it’s super convenient to just share what you’re making for the rest of your family with your babe. But…here’s where it falls apart. At 6 months old when you’re just starting to introduce solids, babies don’t have the digestive enzymes or ability to actually digest whole food particles.
An Intro To Baby Gut Health
Babies tend to have extremely sensitive and vulnerable guts. Many moms can attest to this by the GI symptoms their baby struggled with; whether it is colic, reflux, constipation or major blowouts most moms these days experienced at least one of these at some point with their babies.
This is why we believe in taking the utmost level of caution when first introducing solids to babies and why we do not believe any baby should ever begin with BLW.
As babies grow from infancy to the age of one, their gut is slowly but surely beginning to establish healthy levels of good bacteria or flora, what we call ‘probiotics’. If and when we introduce foods they can not digest fully too soon, these undigested food particles will damage their colon lining.
This weakens not only their gut lining but their immune system as well which is responsible for identifying any ‘foreign’ objects in the body and getting them out. Undigested food particles shouldn’t be in the colon and are therefore considered ‘foreign’. The immune system creates inflammation as it’s reaction these ‘foreign’ objects.
This cascade of unfortunate events potentially leads to ‘leaky gut’, eczema which we all see far too often in babies and many different digestion and autoimmune issues.
Baby Led Weaning Can Damage Gut Health
This new, very trendy style of introducing solids to babies does not take into account the effects that undigested food particles have on baby’s gut and immune system. The recommendations for BLW include introducing whole foods, not purees, from the very beginning of introducing solids.
This increases baby’s risk of having undigested food particles in the colon as discussed above. Babies have weak digestion at the time of introducing solids which is around 6 months and can not break down many different types of foods which BLW includes early on. This is why you run the risk of damaging a baby’s gut health with BLW.
This also leads to another issue – nutritional deficiencies – which is discussed in this post about baby led weaning and nutritional deficiencies.
Baby led weaning can damage the lining of the gut, resulting in health issues that can extend later into life. Our Starting Solids course is a gut friendly approach to introducing real food to babies.
A Better Way To Introduce Solids
We’d love to walk you through introducing solids our way, the way of supporting and strengthening the gut with solids and not weakening and damaging it. Food can have a powerful impact in a positive way on healing the gut and related skin issues like eczema.
We highlight this gut friendly, healing approach in our Starting Solids course where we tell you exactly what foods to introduce and when. We give you tips for troubleshooting digestive issues, and we share cooking tutorials for how to make gut friendly baby food.
Give your baby the best chance at optimal health by giving them the healthiest gut possible – introduce solids the right way with our course Starting Solids – A Gentle Approach to Introducing Real Food!
Already Started With BLW + Need To Course Correct
If you started to introduce solids with BLW and have begun to notice that your little has developed digestive issues like whole food particles in their stool, constipation, too many poops per day or runny stool, skin issues like eczema…these are all signs that your baby’s gut needs support.
What we want you to hear is this – you have NOT ruined your baby’s gut forever. Yes, there are signs of needing extra support, care and attention. But you CAN help heal your baby’s gut.
Baby’s grow and develop rapidly. With some targeted support and attention, you can turn things around and course correct! And that’s where we come in!
Our Starting Solids course has info specifically about how to course correct and tips for where to start and where to go.