The idea of learning how to eat solids doesn’t seem so strange to us adults who have been doing it for many years, but put yourself in a baby’s shoes (or socks). Babies drink nothing but milk for at least 4-6 months or more and then all of a sudden are given a spoonful of runny mush and are expected to be excited about it? True, some babies are. Some babies can’t get enough. My baby isn’t such a fan. Refer to exhibit A…
Ok, so maybe she doesn’t look so unhappy (the girl pretty much always has a smile on her face, she can’t help it! ps: do you just love the bed-head). But as you can see, there is more food around her mouth than actually in it.
When it comes to feeding baby’s solids, there are a lot of different opinions on what age to start them, what to start them with, and how often to feed them. I appreciate all the information that is available on this subject. I, however, have chosen to allow Harper to lead the way. This is called, Baby Led Weaning.
It took me a while to get to this point because I was listening to what other people were saying, mostly my pediatrician. No disrespect to her knowledge and expertise, but since I became a mother, I have found a superpower that overshadows any Ph.D…its called a mothers intuition. That coupled with responding to Harper’s needs helped us conclude that indeed Baby Led Weaning was the best route for us.
Harper’s first solid food experience actually started as Baby Led Weaning. I was eating a banana on the floor with her and she grabbed it out of my hands and shoved it in her mouth. She was only about 4 1/2 – 5 months at the time so I was worried that she would choke on the huge piece of banana she just scarfed down. The next day as I was eating my salad, she reached over and snuck a piece of avocado off of my plate and started exploring it with her tongue. After that I was sure she was ready for solid foods.
I was so excited to make her homemade baby food. I got out the Cuisinart and started cooking up all sorts of fresh, organic baby food concoctions. I would steam the veggies and then puree them and portion them out into little Pyrex containers. Then I began to feed them to her and here was her reaction…
However, my pediatrician told me this was totally normal and that she would just have to get used to it. Well, it has been 4 months and she still makes that adorable “what the heck is this” face and refuses anymore after about 2 bites.
So instead of continuing to torture my daughter and put myself through the stress of having her try every fruit and vegetable under the sun while spending the time to puree and prep it, I started to use a self feeding mesh bag like this. Harper seemed to like that better but still wasn’t using it to eat her food, and found the handle way more interesting to chew on than the actual food. But when she got a hold of that yummy plum she went to town!
After the success of the mesh bag, I decided to go all out and start handing her slices of food, carrots, apples, plums, etc. This has proven the best route. Harper is able to explore the tastes, work on her chewing (without teeth mind you), as well as decide how much is enough.
I am grateful to have found the information on Baby Led Weaning. It has taken the stress out of introducing solids, and seems to make the most sense overall. I stumbled upon a lovely blog the other day after an experience with an acorn squash and it put my mind at ease. So I thought I would share it with you. Check it out!
So I guess the most important rule I continue to learn as a new mom is that there are no rules. The information is out there. It is up to you to decide what is best for your child and your family. And from there, chances are there will be people who share your same philosophy that you can turn to for support. Knowing that makes motherhood so much more enjoyable!