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my biggest tip for increasing baby’s weight gain with baby led weaning

by Heather

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.

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!

my biggest tip for increasing baby's weight gain with baby led weaning

No guilt

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!

XO

Heather

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6 comments

Erin August 18, 2020 - 9:21 pm

Thank you so much for this post! Just had the 6 month check up…. my heart hurt a little. At birth she was 95th percentile, then moved to the 25th and has been consistent with that so we were not too worried as long as she maintained. Today she not only dropped to the 13th percentile, but also had actually lost weight. She is as happy as all get out and nurses regularly so we are watching it for the next month. She also started with solids this week via baby led weaning (we did this with our other daughter), and you answered perfectly on how to help her gain weight! THANK YOU!!!

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Heather August 19, 2020 - 5:03 am

Erin, you are so welcome! I know that’s a hard situation to be in as a mama. Let me know how it goes!! Sending hugs and encouragement.

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Audrey Bringgold July 23, 2021 - 2:54 pm

Thanks for writing this. I needed it today. My 9-month-old was finally gaining very well (Up to 1st percentile from less than 1st percentile) and I went on vacation with baby and visited my family for 3 weeks and I guess we sucked at offering enough solids? Anyways so I just got home and weighed him and realized he has not gained any weight for a month. It sucks. Thank you so much for your very helpful tips and especially for your encouragement. I have not been using fats and oils like I could be.

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Heather July 28, 2021 - 12:04 pm

Hey Audrey! I’m so glad it was helpful :). Let me know if you have any other questions. I know it’s a journey!

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Anjali August 10, 2021 - 11:01 pm

This is exactly what I needed to read today!
My LO came back from her 6 month check and weighs only 13 pounds. I feel I’m stressing 24 hrs about her weight gain.
She’s EBF too & just won’t take the formula. Your article not only resonate with my current state of mind but also gave me a ray of hope.

Reply
Heather August 19, 2021 - 5:48 am

I’m so glad this gave you some hope Anjali! I know it can be a stressful time, but it will get better!

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