Monday, September 13, 2010

Baby Led Weaning

Or why purees are for sissies.

We are off on our first baby camping trip. Yes it's rather cold. Yes we tent. Wish us luck?

But while I am gone, I thought I would share with you our latest baby adventure. Little S is 6 months old! Can you believe it? 6 months in these here parts means solid food time. And we are super into food so it's kind of a big deal.

When I started reading about baby nutrition I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. Everyone's worried about allergies and what babies will like and how much they should eat everyday. I figured that since we don't really do prepackaged food I would be making babyfood and then freezing it, then thawing it and spoonfeeding her. And praying that after all that work she didn't just spit it back out at me. Honestly, I'm kind of exhausted just thinking about it.

Then when I was pregnant I picked up Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Plank. I am a big fan of hers so I was excited to see what she had to say about pregnancy, breastfeed and solids. She just gave her kid food. Just normal food. He especially liked lamb chops. You can do that?

Turns out the official term for it is Baby Led Weaning, and the idea is that being as solids aren't recommended until 6 months of age (as opposed to 3 months, back in the days of the early and rather nutrient deficient versions of formula) you can just skip purees altogether and start with finger foods. A 6 month old baby can usually sit up fairly well (S sits in the Bumbo, fantastic baby seat) and can pick thing up and chew on them (just try to stop them) so they might as well be sitting there chewing on food.

Now the great thing about this approach is that I don't have to make much for extra food. She doesn't eat everything we do (not much for grains, they're hard on babies digestion) but can usually eat something from every meal. We just stick some stuff on the tray and let her go at it. Leaving us to eat. At the same time. While dinner is still hot. It's a freakin miracle!

It doesn't matter how much she actually swallows while she's getting the hang out it, because she's still breastfeeding on demand. She's eating more than I expected though, especially meat and peaches. She loooves the peaches. It doesn't matter if she sleeps through meals, no one's keeping track. So far she has tried everything and not made any faces or purposefully spat anything out. This approach is supposed to lead to less picky kids, so we'll see.

The downside? It's pretty gross, especially with messy food. She sits on about half of it and sometimes we just carry her in the Bumbo to the shower after a meal. Also you get to watch her sometimes gag food out. Gross. But what's a baby adventure without some gross?

If you are interested it learning more I would recommend Baby Led Weaning to learn about how it works but Real Food for Mother and Baby for nutritional information (I'm pretty sure there was something in BLW about not giving babies much fat? So not true!). And if you have any questions for me, leave a comment!