Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Baby-led weaning

Almost by accident, we've begun practicing something called baby-led weaning. It basically involves skipping over infant cereal and pureed foods and letting your child gradually learn to feed herself.

I didn't plan on straying from the typical method of introducing solids. I whipped up veggie purees and froze them in ice cube trays, but Baby A doesn't want anyone spoon feeding her anything, no matter how organic or home-cooked it is.

So we're giving her lots of real foods to experiment with. She licks it, tastes and mushes it between her gums and tiny teeth. Some of it actually ends up going down the hatch. She loves her some starches: Cheerios, bread, plain bagels, corn tortillas, whole grain waffles, plain pasta and pancakes. She's also enjoyed peas, sweet potatoes, bananas, peaches and chicken soup. Cut-up grapes and cooked carrot didn't go over so well, but I'll try them again soon. I'm also going to offer her uncooked tofu, cheddar cheese, pasta with Parmesan, cooked broccoli or cauliflower and bits of meat.

Apparently baby-led weaning (also called BLW) is increasingly popular in the UK and more and more research says that there's no need to spoon feed purees if you're waiting until your child is 6 months old to introduce solids. In fact, kids fed purees may become picky eaters and reject lumpy foods.

Other mothers are somewhat shocked (and perhaps a little dismayed) to see us without the requisite jars of Earth's Best, but while I didn't make a conscious choice to go with BLW, I'm happy to spread the word about a baby care trend that saves money and packaging and makes less work for us parents!