The last time I shared an update about Holland, just had just turned 6 months old. I was worried about her declining growth chart curve. She was growing, but just kind of slower. We were beginning to dive into starting solids with baby led weaning (my favorite way to feed babies!). I shared in baby led weaning part 1 that she took of with food after just 1 week! And dang, she really did. Once we got going, she could not get enough food in. We had her 9 month checkup last week and by golly she went from the 3rd percentile up to 35th percentile! Definitely a testament to the increased food over the past 3 months. Today I wanted to share my biggest tip for increasing baby’s weight gain with baby led weaning.
I am not a baby led weaning nazi
While the book Baby Led Weaning talks about babies doing all the feeding, I think finding a way to feed your baby that works best for you and your baby is key. I LOVE letting my kids explore food, feed themselves and enjoy food in the messiest kind of way, but I also knew at 6 months I needed to encourage food to get into her tummy. During that first week of solids I included a mix of me offering food on her tray (see what kinds of foods here) so she could work on that hand eye coordination, but I also paired that with me putting food in her mouth so some could get into her belly in a quicker rate. She was into it and then after that first week, she got it and pretty much was feeding herself all the foods!
I do want to note that every kid is so different! My other 3 kiddos took much longer to “get it” and to begin feeding themselves the amount she was eating after a week – like a solid 2 months longer. Clearly it was time for food for her!
I fat loaded
Fat is more calorie dense than protein and carbohydrates, so pretty much everything I offered her in those first couple of month included extra fat – butter, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado were all heavy on her meals that she ate. To paint a picture, quantity wise it looked like 1/2 a cup of steamed butternut squash with 2 tbsp butter on it. There was no skimping on the fat! Non-lean cuts of meat were also in rotation and a big part of her meals – grass fed ground beef without the fat skimmed off (I don’t skim it anyways), pork shoulder, wild salmon and chicken thighs.
No surprise, she also started sleeping better after a few weeks of eating solids (and still nursing the same amount).
On a totally different note, before solids she rarely pooped (maybe once a week). Once solids began she turned into a multiple times a day pooper – just a testament to her tummy filling up a lot more!
Now that I’m on the other side of this, I look back and sometimes think, should I have supplemented with formula? Was she not getting enough breast milk from me? Should I feel guilt that maybe I wasn’t nourishing her enough?
Then I realize, she was happy and didn’t have signs of not getting enough nourishment. She was still growing. While she wasn’t sleeping through the night then (and still often doesn’t), her sleep wasn’t much different than my other kids’ sleep was.
Instead of looking back with guilt, I’m going to flip that script! Here’s what I get to think: “Wow, I offered her great nourishing foods that helped her to grow and thrive. And now look where we are!”
If you are in a similiar situation, just remember, we are all doing the best for our kiddos! If your kiddo is needing to gain weight, remember to load those fats on! I wrote a post about how to increase calories in a healthy way which can be super helpful and are tips I followed with Holland.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect growth chart for your kid. Every person, every kid and every baby is uniquely their own person. Their growth will ebb and flow and we as mamas will just do our best to support them and offer them what they need, with the resources we have.
Remember – YOU are doing great!