When my daughter started eating solids, I just did what I thought I had to do. Give her rice cereal, oatmeal, some purees. I didn’t realize there was another option. That’s what I had always heard. Then, I started hearing this jibber jabber about baby led weaning and I had no idea what it was.
Baby led weaning is offering your baby foods that are soft cooked and then cut or mashed into manageable pieces for baby. Basically, you prepare it and baby does the rest. No spoon feeding involved. You help your baby but don’t actually feed baby. Which method is better? That is a decision that has no right answer. What’s right for one parent and child isn’t necessarily what’s right for another. In my opinion, you don’t have to choose just one option either.
With Maggie, it was mostly purees. I didn’t know I could do anything else. Now, with Charlie, I keep bouncing back and forth. He wanted to eat foods much sooner than I started offering it to him. I waited because he wasn’t able to sit up by himself. Even in the high chair, he was really tippy. When we did offer him food, I started with homemade purees of whatever we happen to be having for a fruit or veggie. He was hit or miss. Most of the time, I just put some on the tray and let him mess with it. He much prefers to steal the spoon anyways.
A big concern I have faced so far with Charlie, is that he seems to be choking quite a bit. It scares the daylights out of me! There aren’t a lot of foods that I am comfortable giving him right now, so he gets more purees than I had been originally planning on. A big favorite of his right now, is ground hamburger. Even though he is 7 months old right now, he struggles with eating solids right now. Tonight, we had roast, and that was a big hit for him. All easy to chew foods.
I think being willing to do both purees and baby led weaning is really helpful for us. Some days, you can tell that he really wants more than what he is able to get into his mouth on his own. When that happens, we either have some pureed food, or another one of his favorites, blueberries in a mesh container that he can chew away on. He loves this!
I know in one of my breastfeeding groups, sometimes, I feel like I’m not quite “good” enough because I don’t strictly do baby led weaning. That’s something I can live with. I know when he is hungry that he gets what he needs. Whether it comes from his hand or a spoon I give him, either way is okay with us. We go along with what he is telling us he wants.
My tips? Follow babies lead. He will let you know if he’s hungry or not by opening up or turning his head. Don’t push it. If the timing is wrong, that’s okay, try again another time. Feeding baby should be fun for both of you. If one method doesn’t seem to be working for you, try another. Let baby experiment. Put the food down and let him get messy. That’s the funnest part of all!
How did you go about feeding your little one? Were you on one side or the other, or some place in between? What tips do you have?