August 04, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

Someone finally called me out on it! With all the cooking I do, why don't I make my own baby food and post about it? Well, that's because I decided I hate pureed baby food. For our family it's just an extra waste of time and energy. When Squish was 5 months he started trying to grab the food off my plate. I would give him one of his baby spoons and sippy to distract him and he would still try to grab the food off my plate. He looked like he was ready to eat! So I spent part of an afternoon making my own pureed sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash. I was very excited to be cooking for my baby. And then I tried spoon feeding him my homemade baby food. He stole the spoon. He was not interested in me feeding him at all. Messy doesn't even to begin to cover what happened to my son, myself, the high chair, the walls, the floors, etc. I quickly found myself dreading giving him solids. I skipped feeding him several days in a row justifying it with "he doesn't need to eat everyday anyways at this point." Well, he didn't need to eat solids but I realized that something still needed to change.

Squish's first stolen spoon. 

Baby led weaning is skipping past the cereals and purred baby food stage. It's letting the baby completely feed themselves. They choose what they want to eat and how much. Once Squish was able to sit at 6 months he was placed in his high chair next to me at the dining room table during meals. If it was appropriate for him to eat, I put it on his tray. He started off with steamed zucchini and sweet potatoes in thin long sticks. Easy for him to pick up and grab and soft enough that he could learn how to chew easily. With a couple of days he figured out the best way to get the food in his mouth and he started trying to chew. Soon he worked on swallowing the food.

Lil' Stinker's first pancake at 6 months!

Squish recently turned 9 months old. He has two bottom teeth and that's it. He loves to eat and will try anything I give him. The only food limits he has is nuts and honey right now. Most importantly though, meal times are fun and relaxing again for the whole family.

Strawberry face at 7 months.

Baby led weaning does require the delaying of solid foods till at least 6 months. The baby needs to be able to sit unassisted, able to grasp and hold on to food, and no longer have the tongue thrust reflex. They should also be showing an active interest in food and eating. For some babies they're very interested by 5 months, for others this may not happen till 13 months. It's good for parents to remember that the main source of nutrition for at least the first year should be from breast milk or formula and to not get caught up in how much solid food a baby is eating. Baby led weaning is definitely not for every family or every baby.

Squish often holds food in both hands and eats out of both!
Here he's enjoying a calzone at 8 months.

1 comment:

rachdun said...

Love all the photos!