Baby P is now 7 months old and we are a month into food exploration. We have chosen to go the baby led approach rather than traditional weaning. Traditional weaning includes spoon feeding purées to you baby while baby led includes giving the whole foods in appropriate sizes.
We chose this approach for a few reasons. One is that baby learns the skills to hold, bring food to his mouth and chew rather than simply a swallowing reflex. He is in control of what he eats, how much, and how fast. He is learning autonomy over his own body. With baby led feeding he is also learning to explore foods in their various forms. There are a variety of tastes, textures, sizes and colors. This way he explores food through more than a single consistency of food purées. We offer him safe versions of whatever we are eating. We sit together and have our meals together. I don’t hurry him long or encourage another bite. If it all ends up on the floor, that’s ok.
We have tried a variety of flavors and textures already, just one month into solids. Toast and pasta are huge hits. Avocado, not so much. But I continue to offer the misses on occasion. We did start with one food at a time to check for allergies but after a chat with the pediatrician decided to be more adventurous since we don’t have a family history of food allergies. Also per our pediatrician’s recommendation, we introduced common allergens pretty soon but talk to your pediatrician about this (and all food) before beginning.
We were also lucky to be gifted some delicious and organic baby food from a new brand, Yumi. I’ve pre loaded his spoon with a bit of the purée and then let him pick it up and feed it (or smear it) himself. I also tossed some pasta in the kale and white bean flavor as sauce for dinner. I plan to bake some muffins with the sweeter blends too. And since it can be frozen up to 2 months there’s no rush!
Feeding a baby is messy business but a few small tools can go a long way. 1) just let it happen. I’m definitely a type A perfectionist (the dishwasher DOES in fact have a right way to load it) but I’m letting it go for my son’s food journey. 2) Use a spill mat on the floor. Makes clean up a breeze. I dump the food into the trash and give it a good rinse in the shower and air dry. 3) Get baby down to his diaper. Or use a sleeved cover. 4) family shower or give baby a quick rinse in the shower or sink if it’s especially messy. After breakfast, I often just hop in the shower and bring the little dude with me. Careful! Soapy babies are very slippery. Save the soap for the tub and just let water rinse away the food.
Whatever method of baby feeding you chose, make it fun! Fun for you, fun for baby, fun for the family.