My last baby turned six months old and couldn’t wait to eat some solid food. He’d been reaching for our foods, imitating us eating, and generally freaking out during meals because he wasn’t doing the same things as his brothers. But I resisted giving him foods–mostly because he wasn’t able to sit unassisted, but also because he’s my last baby and as soon as he starts eating food, he may as well enroll in college. [Cue Mommy weeping]
Nonetheless, this kid wanted to eat. We dabbled with baby-led weaning with my second son. We’d occasionally toss him soft chunks of whatever we were eating. This is primarily because we didn’t feel like we had time to sit and spoon feed him, much less puree things or open jars of already-pureed foods. As a result, my second kiddo didn’t really eat much food until he was 15 months old.
It might not feel like it, but for me, breastfeeding is just so much easier than introducing solids. I don’t have to vacuum after I breastfeed…usually.
I have 3 sons, and their table manners are about as refined as you might expect from a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, which means a lot of food winds up on the floor. This is how baby-led weaning began for us.
My youngest wee babe began to scoot around on the floor in search of his brothers’ floor d’oeuvres.
One morning, I caught him eating a cheese quesadilla left unattended by a brother who was fully engrossed in Ninjago. The baby ate a whole slice before a distraught kindergartener realized his snack was gone. Then my baby snatched and ate a soft pretzel and I knew I had to get serious about feeding him.
Now, even though it takes longer than breastfeeding and even though it’s messy, we bring the baby to the table with us and just hand him small bits of what we’re all eating. Lest you worry he’s getting too many spices, please know that my older children can detect a mere whiff of pepper or oregano and deem a meal “too spicy,” so all of these foods are about as bland as a box of matzo meal.
My oldest son had (and outgrew!) a peanut allergy, and we’re very excited about the LEAP study results, so we also offer our baby bits of peanut butter. He eats oatmeal with his fat fists. He sucks on strawberry slivers. You should see him go to town on cooked, buttery carrots.
Once our daycare provider told me he was eating more food than our 2-year-old, I had to start packing them separate containers of lunch.
I will never forget my amazement to watch my friend’s daughter consume an entire hamburger as an 8-month old. This baby just sat in the grass at a picnic and ate a burger. As my son approaches 8 months and eats ground beef and noodles with gusto, I’m certain he’ll be performing similar feats. Maybe he’ll gobble down a burrito instead, because he seems to prefer messy foods.
Have you tried baby-led weaning? Leave us a comment to share your experience.