baby led weaning, part 1
A week ago Hunter turned 6 months old. Half a year! Where did that time go? Our newest adventure we began about a month ago has been exploring and trying new foods.
When I was pregnant I read a lot about the book Baby-Led Weaning. All I knew was that babies fed themselves, opposed to being spoon fed. I picked the book up at the library and after getting half way through it I knew I liked the idea of it.
What’s the idea behind it? Allowing babies to learn to feed themselves when they are ready to and able to eat, instead of being spoon fed foods on the parents schedule. It’s baby led, which gives them control of when they start to eat, and what they eat.
By letting baby feed themselves they should become less picky eaters, says the book. I get that. They get to explore foods at their own pace, trying lots of different tastes and textures you just can’t get from a jar. And from watching Hunter so far, whatever is in front of him he definitely wants to explore and try.
My big driver for wanting to do this was just not having to spoon feed. No ‘spoon airplanes’ trying to trick him to get food into his mouth. Plus I just thought it would be, again, easier if he’s just eating what we are eating.
A few things of importance to note from the book. Definitely not everything, just a few that come to mind:
- soft finger foods are easiest in the shape of sticks – softer than you would want to eat them
- it’s going to be messy, very messy – I highly suggest having a dog around to eat the food up off the floor
- your baby will gag/choke as they learn – it’s how they learn
- check that there aren’t any pieces left in his mouth when you’re done eating
So the big worry with this – choking. A huge concern for Jacob. A concern of mine too, obviously I don’t want anything bad to happen to Hunter, but I guess I am just a bit more relaxed that Hunter will know what to do. The book tells you that a babies gag reflex is really close to the front of their mouth, and as they get older and learn to eat it moves further and further back. So while it may sound like he’s gagging/choking, really the food is no where near his throat. I can confirm that. Hunter’s gagged and after letting him make noises trying to clear it, I stuck my pinkie in his mouth to get the chunk out and it was right in the front of his mouth.
Now with all that said, we have done a little spoon feeding the past week, but really only because I have lot of free baby food. Spoon feeding goes kind of how I thought it would. It’s much more work than having Hunter feed himself. He sometimes spits it out and doesn’t open his mouth. But at the same time, I’m not really forcing him to eat a certain amount, just trying things out. Plus he really loves playing and exploring foods, so I will definitely stick with that as the main way.
So far he’s tried pears, banana, sweet potato, yam, carrot, broccoli, turkey, green beans and my green smoothie. All in just a short time. Yup, not really following the try one food every 4-6 days. But that will have to be part 2 of this post.
Any experience with baby led weaning? Please share!