Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 Book 17: Baby Led Weaning

As we approached Jack turning six months old, we began to think more about introducing food. I had read a couple of things online about Baby Led Weaning and my interest was peaked. Then a friend from high school wrote a blog post detailing her experience with this process and I was even more interested {it helps to come across people you know verses random strangers on the internet}.

Armed with some basic knowledge, I decided to order the book, Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. This book is an easy read and it really made sense to me. Daniel and I have a very laid back approach to parenting and the thought of skipping baby purees and special baby food sounded very much like something we would be interested in. 

I finished reading the book right before we had Jack's six month baby well check up. I was pretty sure that our doctor would have no idea about this approach {we live in rural Alabama} and I was right. Thankfully she wasn't totally against it, though she did say her biggest concern {and ours} is the possibility of choking and the need for iron.

Anyway, we decided to move forward with the process and so far so good. I will be writing a follow-up post in a few months once we have been doing this for awhile.

Basically Baby-Led Weaning is a process that allows your baby to explore food and learn about textures and tastes in lieu of spoon feeding or starting with purees or mush. You give your child finger foods {that are soft} and you let them explore the food while you observe.

We had a couple of moments of not being sure if Jack was gagging {normal response} or choking, but so far he is really taking to it. We have tried avocado and oatmeal. Next up is bananas or sweet potatoes.

Excerpts from the book:
Babies who are allowed to feed themselves learn about the look, smell, taste and texture of different foods, and how different flavors work together; with spoon-feeding all the tastes are pureed into one.

Being in control of how much and how quickly he eats not only makes the meal more enjoyable for him, but means that the baby is able to recognize more easily when he is full. 

...coughing and sputtering that look and sound alarming are actually signs that the baby is dealing with the problem. By contrast, a baby who is truly choking is usually silent – because no air can get past the blockage.

When a baby puts a piece of food into his mouth himself, he is in control of it. If he is able to chew it, he will. If he is able to get it to the back of his throat, he'll swallow it. If he isn't able to do these things then, as long as he is upright, the food will simply fall out. Allowing a baby to feed himself means that he in control – and having control helps to keep him safe.

Early self-feeding is about exploration and learning.

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