I’m now in a bit of a dilemma. We’ve started the early steps of BLW at five months rather than six, and Daniel seems to be taking to it with gusto. However, I’m feeling very aware of the fact that BLW is meant to start at six months – as well as the Department of Health’s recommendation to exclusively breastfeed until six months. On the one hand, I’m not so bothered about the latter point, because I have no intention to reduce Daniel’s breast feeds, so he’ll still be getting as much milk as he wants. However, now we’ve set him going on the BLW, and it seems he’s interested in progressing, I feel a temptation to move onto ‘proper’ cooked foods – but it’s too early!
Daniel has arrived at all of the four stages that Gill Rapley suggests are true signs of readiness (sits with little or no support; reaches out and grabs things effectively; takes objects to his mouth quickly and accurately; makes gnawing and chewing movements). But he’s still only just past five months and I’m worried that we might progress ‘too quickly’ and that (1) he might start moving himself off breastmilk too early and (2) I might unintentionally offer him something that it turns out he wasn’t quite ready for and he’ll choke or feel poorly.
I’ve been reading the (excellent) BLW forum and have realised that giving him raw fruit and veg is probably not a great idea, as there’s a risk of hard choke-sized pieces breaking off. But the alternative of starting to steam or soften things basically means I’m expecting him to have a go at swallowing, and as such I have properly started offering him foods to ‘eat’. At five months. Which wasn’t the plan.
So what to do now? Do we backtrack and stop offering him things at our mealtimes? He already seems a bit annoyed if he hasn’t got something of his own to munch on when we’re eating, but it might be that he’ll be just as satisfied with a chewable toy – Jon thinks this is the way to go for the time being: keep him sitting up with us, but give him some other kind of non-food thing to occupy his hands and mouth.
If I’m honest, there’s also a little bit of me that doesn’t want his ‘breastfed baby’ phase to end. I love how independent he is already, but that’s tinged with sadness that the real close phase of exclusive breastfeeding, where my baby gets absolutely everything he needs from me, is at the beginning of its end. Also, I’m a bit fearful of the new challenge of ‘real poo’, having just felt like we’d mastered the breastmilk poo stage! Putting the BLW back on hold until Daniel reaches six months would give us a few more weeks’ grace!