I hadn't really put much thought into baby food... it's always seemed so far off.... until Josh's sister asked me one day a couple months ago if I was planning to make Lucy's baby food myself. Not knowing there was an option other than pureed baby food, I figured I'd give that a go since I really had no reason not to (other than I hate cooking!) BUT THEN - somehow in the past several weeks I learned about baby led weaning (BLW).
I had never heard of this before, so for those like me it is basically feeding your baby regular table food right from the start. GASP! You can do that?! No purees, no ice cube trays, no spoon feeding. You basically just give them whatever you're eating and let them feed themselves. Who knew?! (It has nothing to do with actual 'weaning' as it means here in the US. It means weaning in the British definition, which just means introducing things other than milk into the baby's diet.)
With baby led weaning, the baby still gets their nutrition primarily from milk for the first year so for the first couple months the baby may not even eat the food as much as play with it, put it in their mouth and spit it out... but it still helps them learn about the textures, etc. There's a term commonly used in BLW circles... "Food before one is just for fun!"
I like this method for several reasons. For one, it just seems easier.. less work involved as far as not having to make special food, mashing everything up, etc. since she'll just eat whatever we're eating. Plus it makes a lot of sense to me... it teaches her to feed herself, to eat what/when she wants (hence the term baby led) and thus develops healthy eating habits. It teaches her to chew first and then swallow (vs. learning to swallow before chewing with purees). It will make for a happier eating experience for her... no force feeding her by the spoonful when she doesn't want it (have you ever tried to feed a baby pureed baby food?! Not always fun!) and we won't have to deal with transitioning from purees to real food.
I also like that it will motivate me to make better food choices since I'll be sharing with her! Not that I make horrible choices now - I try to eat pretty healthy anyway, but I'm thinking I'll be more likely to opt for cooking a nice dinner vs ordering take out on a busy night and even to try new things with her! I'm also looking forward to us all eating together as a family, and at the same time as Josh again ;)
So anyway! That's how we're introducing Lucy to solids! AND WE DID IT LAST WEEK!
Everything I'd read so far about BLW (and there's not a ton since it's kind of a new thing!) said to wait until 6 months... but I've been wondering what kind of magical switch flips on the day she turns 6 months old. Finally I did a little more research during her nap and found some mommies who had started a little after 5 months - IF their baby showed they were ready!
Signs of readiness include: being interested in food (check!), being able to put objects in mouth (check check!), and being able to sit up unassisted (check check check!) The physical ones are the most important... and Lucy is definitely ready! She grunts and gets really frustrated when you eat in front of her like she wants some, too! Heck, the other night I was out to dinner with some girl friends and she grabbed a handful of my salad and shoved it into her mouth before I could even set my fork down and stop her! So, I realized she's ready for food NOW, and nothing is going to be super different or special about June 13th versus today!
For her first meal she had chicken and carrots, and she LOVED it! I just gave her the piece of chicken above (grilled with no seasoning) and a few steamed carrots. She was SO excited!!! I'm glad I didn't make her wait another 2 weeks...she was so ready!
Like I mentioned before, at this stage it's mostly just about exploring textures. I'm pretty sure she didn't even actually eat anything. She mostly just sucked and gnawed on the chicken most of the time, and same with the carrots. If little pieces came off in her mouth she kind of just moved them around and then spit them out.
I love this little clip I posted on Snapchat (lynn.adwell)! Her little head tilt with her chicken gets me every time! So content with her chicken like a big girl!
So that's our baby led weaning journey so far! She's had the chicken and carrots for a meal and also an apple slice, a slice of raw carrot and a slice of celery to just chomp on (good teethers!) For now, I'm just going to offer her foods at dinner I think.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! If you have any tips or recipes PLEASE share!! This is a bit intimidating I know, I still feel that way but am kind of just diving right in... while also kinda tip-toeing! ha! :)