mama-led baby-led weaning
Lilly’s been eating all sorts of food these days. For the most part, we’re following baby led weaning, which more-or-less means no purees and no spoon-feeding. It’s pretty much a lazy parent’s dream come true.
We started putting Lil in her high chair at about 5.5 months, and we’d put long, skinny chunks of food on her tray. We started with bananas and avocados. She couldn’t really pick them up and eat them, but she sure looked happy mushing them in her fingers.
Somewhere around 6.5 months, Lil became interested in drinking what we are drinking. Every time I’d hold a glass to my lips, I’d see her staring, and offer her some. She still hasn’t quite figured it out, but it’s pretty cute to see her trying.
We continued to offer her foods once/day, at dinnertime. She’d mostly play, occasionally getting some food in her mouth. I had to remind myself that this was okay; for now, food is about exploring and playing and it should be fun. But still, watching friends feed their eager babies purees made me wonder if we were missing out…
Just a week or two ago, she became super-interested in what we’ve been putting into our mouths. The other night, I was eating spinach salad and she launched herself forward at it, mouth completely open and ready to take a bite. Crack me up. Now every time I’m holding her and eating something, she either launches herself at it or stares at it in such a way that I feel compelled to share.
Time to start sneaking food that’s bad for me.
On the flip side, we’ve made big strides towards eating healthier. I’ve prepared both sweet potatoes and squash this year — two items that until now had never been consumed in this house. One of our favorite things about this approach to feeding is that Lilly shares meal times and meals with us right from the beginning. And all of us are benefiting — we’re sitting together at the dinner table each night and eating healthy, balanced meals (for the most part).
I’m loving the variety of foods she’s eaten/tasted (and she hasn’t refused any!): avocado, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash (in a soup!), green peppers, red peppers, onions, black beans (she LOVES black beans), cucumber, pickles, strawberries, pear, apple, blueberries, clementines, banana, chicken, beef, guacamole (she LOVES guac), toast/bread, potatoes, and I’ll even admit to letting her taste the not-so-healthy pizza crust and cookies. I really can’t wait until the farmer’s market opens in May – we’ll get to feed her so much fresh, local produce! So. exciting.
Not dealing with making purees has been great. Not spending the cash on baby food appeals to my frugal senses. (Also? Not impressed with the recent reports of arsenic in organic baby foods, and I’m super-glad we’ve been avoiding it). Our focus is on having fun tasting the food and feeling it, NOT on the actual quantity that she eats. She’s still getting most of her nutrition from mama. If she has trouble eating something, she spits it out. No big whoop.
On the other hand, my baby doesn’t actually feed herself yet. So while the main gist of BLW is that the baby develops the ability to feed herself, my baby does not do that. A few weeks ago, we had a baby play date, and I watched 3 babies, all of whom were 3 weeks younger than Lil, put toy after toy after toy in their mouths… so I think she should be doing this. But, she doesn’t. She can – I’ve seen it – but she doesn’t. We have a sneaking suspicion that our baby is super-lazy. So, for now, we’re doing mama-led BLW, which means that I hold the food 2-3 inches from her mouth, and she opens up and leans over to get a bite. No amount of putting the food in her hand and showing her how to get it to her mouth helps. It’s hilarious. And it’s a little frustrating for her impatient mama, but I bet she’ll pick up this whole feeding herself business sometime really soon.
*Also, you may note a theme in many of the above photos – the dogs LOVE BLW. Especially when Lilly takes her food and flings it over the side of the high chair. We’re convinced she’s doing this purposefully, as she’ll lean over and hang her messy hands towards the dogs and then giggle while they lick her fingers clean. They’re teaming up against us already.