As Hylan was nearing the 4 month mark I started thinking ahead about solids. (Because... call me lazy, but I waited with Burke until he was 5 months, and knew with Hylan I wanted to wait until at least six! I wanted to put off this solids thing for as long as I could!) I came across the idea of BLW (Baby Led Weaning) at just the right time... and I was SOLD. Knowing, from my first child, this milestone is not actually all it's cracked up to be. I mean... you are inviting at least a 30-45 minute food fight into your household, followed by a 10 minute scrub down of your child, and then the clean up of the kitchen and everything involved. Whew!
In all actuality, the beginning stages of solids really are just for the cute pictures, little tastes, and the sensory experience, and I knew that I wanted to do it differently this go round. With Burke, I made almost all his food. It was fun! I loved it, and probably would do it all over again... if this wasn't my second child. I did notice though, I had a hard time transferring him to purees to actual solid food. That child had the worst gag reflex! I mean he gaged so hard he would vomit sometimes! It was terrible... .and scary! Not to mention, just the time I spent pureeing and washing the utensils when making the baby food alone, would be time I don't have at my disposal now. (Not to mention we don't have a dishwasher... so triple that time!) And sure... I can easily buy baby food too... no harm in that- at all! SO... all that to say, I'm not judging how anyone feeds their baby! :) I just have found BLW so wonderful, that I just had to share.
Basically, you give them whole foods. In their purest form, right from the start.
I have never pureed... anything. We skipped cereals and baby food altogether.
Come to find out (says this book I read on the subject), we kind of made up this baby food thing! Because of introducing solids at such a young age (around 4 months) it was thought babies needed softer foods in order to move on to chewable foods at the right time.
Not the case! Exhibit A...
This was Hylan's second taste of food. (First was avocado, and I didn't have my camera on.)
She's not ready for food here... she was about 5 1/2 months old. I just wanted her to get a little taste because she had been eying our dinner. :)
Basically, to get started, you decide what foods to offer, cut them into manageable pieces (most of the time, long stick shapes), and put them on the tray! Now... often I steam, roast, or sauté veggies (some fruits- like apples) to get them to a good consistency, and more often than not- she's having what we are eating at the table!
(5 1/2 months)
Killing a fresh from the garden tomato at Ree's house at six months.
The girls shares my love for fruit. Mmmm watermelon!
I know what you're thinking... won't she choke?
I wondered the same thing... the book says that a baby's gag reflex is at the front of their tongue when they are little. As we grow, it moves to the back of our tongue. So, if she gets something even slightly too far in her mouth for her to handle, she spits it out.
I can attest to this completely. She has had big chunks in her mouth that worried me. I admit... I went in with my finger and swooped it out (a big no-no)... not once, but twice, and then called it a meal. It scared me!
I then realized I didn't give her a chance to push it out herself.... so the next day, I backed off... and prayed.
Sure enough, she didn't need my help at all. She just moved that little mouth around and any "chunk" that was too big came flying out.
(Chowing down on a deconstructed turkey wrap.)
I also have to say... this method is SUPER easy when going out in public. She is entertained by food, and no one is trying to spoon feed her! It also helps me order "good for me" options off the menu so I can give her some of my meal. (Salads, grilled chicken, veggies, etc.)
The only downfall, is it's super messy. No bib can hang.
So, frequent baths are a must. (That's why you see her with no bow and in a diaper in all these pics. Ha!)
Now... is she actually getting full off of "food"? Nope!
She is still nursing normally, which is the best thing for her... and has the most calories and nutrients too! Food is just an extra right now.... until she can really get the chewing thing down, she won't swallow enough food to fill her up. The book says this really starts kicking in around nine months. We shall see!
Some of the things she's eaten are...
avocado sweet potatoes
turkey chicken (literally... a drum stick)
squash green beans
whole wheat crackers toast
onion red, yellow (favorite!), green peppers
whole wheat tortilla guacamole
The only problem is that the book doesn't tell you how to handle situations with others who aren't so comfortable with it... (cough cough... my dad) ;) It IS odd to see it in action... I completely agree.
I've had numerous people ask if she should have (insert food), ask if she would choke on (insert food), say "you're not going to give her (insert food), are you???" (while thinking of calling child services).
Then I tell them about the gag reflex thing and bore them to death, and they leave me alone. :)
Now that she is getting the hang of it, I've started giving her more of what we are having for dinner... like lasagna and garlic bread. :0)
She loved it!
I think it's neat to watch the videos back and see how she has progressed in this department. Hopefully, I'm setting her up to be a happy, healthy, and confident eater!
I'll update on her progress in a few months!