9.29.2009

this is the way we eat our vegetables

This week we hit a major milestone: Solids!

No spoon-feeding endless bowls of rice cereal here--instead, we're trying out the idea of Baby Led Weaning. It's all about involving babies with family meals right from the get-go. Basically, you skip purees, go directly to finger foods, and let babes learn to feed themselves on their own accord.

We simply stick G in his Bumbo chair on the counter with us while we eat, offer him simple, healthy foods that he can easily grasp, and let him explore! Right now he just gnaws or sucks on things, and is only taking in tiny bits at a time. But we can tell that he is really enjoying it! Although it's a little nontraditional and makes for a giant mess, the method makes so much sense to me and so far we're having a lot of fun!

Here's my quick+humble summary of how/why it works:

  • Babies meet all of their nutritional needs through breastmilk or formula alone in the first year of life, so you need not worry whether they are getting enough.

  • Evidence shows that by 6 months, babies have a much more mature digestive tract and are better able to handle the introduction of a variety of foods...Not just bland mush.

  • Breastfed babies especially (like G) are already used to controlling their intake and have already been exposed to a variety of flavors via mama's milk. I don't need to micromanage his portions or exposures or worry about overfeeding him.

  • BLW naturally progresses with the child's development. At this stage, infants are very oral and learn about the world through their mouths. Right now, G is super curious and has the hand-eye coordination to stick almost everything en la boca. Why not his own food? Plus, he's already learning to equate colors, textures, and shapes with different tastes. Very cool.

  • We don't substitute solids for those very important-hearty milk feeds. Instead, we schedule our meals in between his feedings when he is happy and alert. Eventually, he will realize that this solid food business is satisfying his belly and he will naturally begin to drop his milk feeds during the day. And somewhere in between, he'll begin mimicking everything we do--that's when the utensils and manners come into play. :)

  • I should also mention the safety aspect: We only give G foods while he is sitting upright and under our careful supervision. Of course we are mindful about choking hazards.


  • Eating real, nutritional food from the beginning will help him learn to love a variety of foods and will (hopefully!) help prevent picky eating and mealtime battles as he grows.
We want to give G the opportunity to try everything, eat at his own pace, and learn to love nutritious, well-balanced foods that we offer him. This whole approach is so laid back and easy, I love it! No slaving to make and freeze my own purees and no wasting money on those spendy little jars. Am curious about your thoughts or opinions!?

10 comments:

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Jessica,

First, I love your blog! I’ve been reading for a few months now & realized that I’ve never commented to tell you how fabulous you are. Second, thanks for this post. I’m not a mom yet, but I find this very interesting. I even bookmarked it for future reference.

Bluebelle said...

Cute stripy bib! I don't have kiddies but it's interesting to read your thoughts, and I'm sure when I do I'll be searching through your archives to re-read!

{lovely little things} said...

He's gotten so big!

Cottage Mommy said...

This is really interesting to me as in just a short month I'll be here with Quinn. I did the traditional baby food with my first. My second was a breastfeeding lover - she never would eat baby food. Totally skipped the entire stage. I think I just waited until she was a little older and introduced regular food all the while still nursing. I like this idea though. Is there a book you read that talked about this or where did you discover it? (Sounds so silly to be talking about something as basic as this this way but baby food is so the normal accepted practice....) Thanks for the info and keep us posted as to how it goes!

swell.life said...

Just wanted to share a link for the BLW book, if you're interested!

http://www.amazon.com/Baby-led-Weaning-Helping-Your-Baby/dp/0091923808/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254335699&sr=8-1

emily said...

i've been toying with doing the same thing! thanks for encouraging me to do some more research on the topic!

Katie - My Paisley Apron said...

I think BLW is a great idea and if it works for you, that's awesome! I loved making and freezing purees and mixing together different flavors, but I'm sure that's not for everyone.

Our biggest problem with solids was that, by 10 months, he still wasn't super into them - they were okay, but not what he really thought was going to fill his tummy. And although he was getting all the nutrition he needed through breastmilk, he was getting hungrier and hungrier - which was leading to more night wakings. Once we upped the solids, we were better able to get into the whole "sleeping all night long" part.

I'm sure it's not that way for everyone, though, and it's a great idea - so have fun with it!

Sam said...

Oooh, Jessica! This is what we're doing with Eli! I find that most moms I meet with at La Leche League instinctively follow this path. And "baby" food? Unless you're making it yourself, what a waste of moola! Not to mention time! No real nutritional value. (and have you ever TASTED them?) It's so interesting to read about how other cultures do this, too. I mean, Indian babies are eating curry from the beginning! Eli loved spicy foods at first, too! Avocados are a great one, as well. He didn't really start "eating" until 12 months, though. The all night milk bar will always be a great tool for us! :D Are you a member of your local Holistic Moms network by any chance?
Sam Kelly

Denise said...

First of all, I love your blog and was captivated by your baby's gorgeous smile as he was wearing the little chicken costume!

Secondly, it made me smile to read of the way you introduced solids to him. My three children (now 26, 24, and 21 years old) were introduced to solids in exactly the same way. I breastfed each of them for 2 to 2.5 years and they all grew up - healthy, smart, independent souls!! This does work!