I was dreading starting solids with Punkin. Meal times were hard enough with a toddler who refuses to eat without prompting, sometimes even asking me to ‘feed him a bite’…which I do because I just want him to finish already! Now I would have to manage two children? One of which I am feeding the entire meal? I may never eat again!
One evening my lovely friend (with a baby the same age) was over at my house and just handed her daughter a French loaf! This girl chowed down happily in her high chair while her mom was able to chat with me and continue to eat her dinner, WHILE IT WAS STILL HOT! She explained that it was baby-led weaning (BLW). Whatever it was, I WAS IN!
The concept is that from the time they show interest in food (around 6 months) you start giving them whole nutritious food and allow them to self feed. If I make chicken, grilled zucchini, rice and beans for dinner I would give my baby some of everything (just un-seasoned). The idea with BLW is that for the first 12 months of a baby’s life food is more for fun than nutrition. Most of baby’s nutrition should still be coming from breastmilk or formula. By giving my baby whole spears of cooked zucchini he can learn right away how to hold, chew, spit out or eat real food from the start. No more purees in jars with spoons, just well cooked food with hands!
You can imagine my delight as I quickly realized this baby is completely capable of feeding himself. Not to mention I can put away my blender and stop buying expensive baby food.
My first attempt was well cooked squash. He grabbed that spear so quick and stuffed it into his mouth like there was no tomorrow. My fears of choking were squelched when I saw him spit out a chunk he had gotten and realized was too big. He certainly didn’t “eat” very much but then again that’s not the point. This boy successfully handled a large vegetable like a pro and even smiled through the process. I was sold.
Since we’ve begun BLW Punkin has had so many foods I can’t even list them all. Some of his favorites have been peaches, watermelon, zucchini, green beans, macaroni, avocado, banana, chicken and sweet potatoes. I have had many people give me concerned looks when I hand him a whole piece of watermelon but them he shows them he knows exactly what to do with it and happily chows away while I get to eat my meal in peace…except for reminding my toddler to ‘take a bite’.
Have you tried baby-led weaning?