Today was a very exciting day! Today we started a new concept in introducing Mr. 6 months to solid foods. It is called baby led weaning. I am learning more about it every spare minute I have to do a little more reading. Basically it is based on the idea that baby leads the way when eating solids rather than the parent. Baby is given easy to hold foods in solid form (not pureed on a spoon) to touch, smell, taste, etc. I have been cooking up all sorts of healthy concoctions for Mr. 6 month old and performing a broadway musical to try to entice him to eat as I zoom a spoon full of pureed deliciousness towards his mouth. Every food has been rejected so far. He presses his gums tightly together, refusing entry to the “Here comes the airplane!” spoon flying in towards him, the chugga-chugga-choo-choo! of the choo-choo train spoon and a few other acrobatic interpretive dances involving a spoon and a puree. On the odd occasion that some food would miraculously end up in his mouth he would spit it out immediately in disgust.
Today, was day one of trying baby led weaning to see if we can get this boy to eat! I’ve been worried sick, staying up all night researching and hoping that there is nothing physically wrong that is preventing him from eating. Here’s hoping baby-led weaning is a success.
Experts on baby led weaning recommend giving baby foods in large form rather than cut up into little pieces. For example, offer a steamed carrot stick over cut up cubes of carrot. The idea is that baby can grip the food better and will be able to explore it more. They say “Food before one is just before fun!” so introducing solids should be fun and the focus should be on allowing baby to explore different foods more than on forcing him to eat an entire serving of whatever vegetable is being prepared for dinner. Foods with “handles” are thought to be best such as a banana, broccoli with stem attached, quartered avocado with skin attached, etc.
I’m terrified of Mr. 6 months old biting into a food with his two-bottom teeth and “biting off more than he can chew” in a very literal sense. I don’t want him to choke. The experts have an answer for that too. They say that if baby takes a piece that is too big, he will naturally push it forward and spit it out rather than backward and swallow it. Just to be safe, I refreshed myself on what to do if an infant is choking. I am First Aid/CPR certified but I’m not about to mess around and hope that I remember what to do should we end up in this position.
So here we go! I’m up for a challenge. First food introduced via baby led weaning was a banana. With the peel still on, I cut the banana in half. I then wished I had an exacto knife as I cut 1/4″ piece of the peel off so just a tiny bit of the flesh of the fruit was exposed. By leaving the peel on, you are supposed to be preventing baby from biting off a huge hunk of banana that they can’t handle. I handed the banana to Baby Boy and hoped for the best.
To my surprise, he grabbed the banana from me right away and put it right to his mouth! I have tried to feed him mashed banana on a spoon several times and he was tight-lipped and determined not to try it. Having it served this way seemed to appeal to him! Crazy! As he played with it and mushed it around, I would occasionally take it from him and cut a little more peel off of the banana so he could get at the good stuff. He had a great time and ate some banana! Wow! I was already so glad that we tried this method. Even Miss 17 months was incredible impressed and giggled with glee as her baby brother mushed the banana into his mouth with his own two hands like a little monkey. Success!
When Hubby came home, I was excited to show him how well Mr. 7 months was doing on his first day of baby led weaning. As we all sat down to eat dinner, I loaded Miss 17 months’ high chair tray up with cut up carrots, mashed potatoes and chicken. Hubby was taken back when I asked her if she wanted more chicken and she excitedly started flapping her “wings” and said “Bawk! Bawk! Bawk!” She’s learning more and more every day. This is getting to be a lot of fun! Once she was settled, I took a small sweet potato that I had just baked and sliced it in half lengthwise. I let it cool and then handed it to Mr. 6 months. Again, he was interested, inquisitive and excited. I am still blown away that the boy I thought despised all food is suddenly a little foodie!
Little man gripped the sweet potato in his fist and swung it around as he squealed with delight. He flung it back and forth and lit up with excitement as pieces of potato flew across his tray. Then again, he lifted the potato up to his lips and starting gnawing on it. Leaving the skin on the potato controlled the size of bites he was able to make, similar to the peel on the banana. He was self-feeding himself small bites of sweet potato. No spoon. No help. I am truly amazed. Baby led weaning is a pretty interesting concept. I’m glad we tried it. Up until today, I have been worried sick thinking he is never going to eat and that something is wrong. I am so proud of him for what he accomplished today! He’s an independent little man. If he can accomplish this much on his first day, I’m excited to see what the future has in store. I have a feeling we’ll be taking him out for chicken wings in no time! (Kidding!)
For now, I will be putting my Baby Bullet food processor away and ending the puree madness. I would like to continue with baby led weaning to see where it takes us. The only downside to this method is that it is more time-consuming than spoon-feeding since baby is eating at his own pace, taking time to explore, touch, smell the food and eating tiny bites that he has to chew (mush between his gums) in order to swallow. For those exact reasons, I feel it is worth the extra time but I am thankful for preschool-themed youtube videos to keep Miss 17 months from jumping out of her highchair from boredom. It is also much messier. My kitchen floor is a disgusting, disgusting mess. Banana mush and sweet potato smear. I’m not worried about it. I will wash my floor (or at least try to) every single day if it means our little guy is going to eat!
Baby led weaning made for a very exciting day!
For more information on baby led weaning, here are some sites that I found to be useful:
There are also some fantastic books on the subject that I am dying to get my paws on. Stay tuned.
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. If you liked this post and would like to see more, please click “Follow” to be the first to know of future posts! Thanks for reading! xo