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Thing 3: Baby-led weaning

July 18th, 2010 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting

30 lbs by Blissdom

The baby girl started solids this week. I had been trying to do my research and see how it’s supposed to be done, and I heard all about starting with cereals and then adding one thing after another, waiting a few days to see if there’s a reaction, working your way along the list.

But I also heard about what they call baby-led weaning. You give your baby pieces of food and they use their fingers and feed themselves. I saw my friends tear up food and put pieces on their kids’ trays to they could pick them up, but I never asked how they started.

The day of her 6 month birthday I went on a playdate and gleaned all the information I could from talking to other moms and watching them while their kids ate. They all agreed by watching the baby girl that she seemed ready. That afternoon we went to the doctor and got the go ahead there, though I knew I really didn’t need it, we had decided to wait for it.

And that night, she ate rice cereal. And by ‘ate’ I mean ‘spread it around her face.’

After two days of watching her make faces at the cereal and turn her head away  from the spoon, I happened to notice that there was a podcast about baby-led weaning among the recent episodes of New Moms, New Babies.

And I listened and learned a bit and that night she had steamed carrots for dinner. This morning she had banana slices for breakfast.

I am very happy with this idea. Not only does it mean that I can just drop a few things on her tray and she can play with her food and feed herself, learning the taste and textures, it also means that she can eat what we eat, or at least parts of our meals. This also means that we have this extra incentive to eat at home. If we’re going to be cooking for her, they we might as well cook for ourselves. If she’s going to be eating what we’re eating, then we’d better cook healthy meals. We’ve also suddenly started eating at the dining room table, something we had wanted to do but just never did. Once the baby is strapped in to her highchair, it just makes sense for us to sit with her and eat with her.

I never expected her to teach me like this. I wanted to start eating healthily because I wanted to teach her, I never expected to fall in to healthy eating because of her.

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