With B, we decided to do Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), which sounds much more complicated than it is. Baby-Led Weaning simply refers to the baby’s natural instinct to start eating foods on its own by self-feeding thereby gradually decreasing his or her reliance on breastmilk/ formula for sustenance. When I tell people we practice Baby -Led Weaning (BLW), they look confused; but, when I explain that all we do is give B real foods (usually just what we are eating and let her feed herself) they understand it more clearly. Unfortunately “Give Baby Real Foods” does not have a catchy ring to it. BLW has recently become more en vogue thanks to Tracey Murkett and Gill Rapley’s book, Baby-Led Weaning. Their book, which has been recommended by YoungHouseLove and ModgBlog, is very helpful in explaining why it is natural for babies to eat real food (and not purees,) how to start doing it, and the benefits of practicing BLW. We waited until B was six months old, as recommended by several current studies, the book, and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). For us it made sense to wait until she could sit up unassisted, so she wouldn’t choke and she seemed developmentally ready and interested.
After reading it, I felt much better about the risk of B choking, and how to start. Note: during the first month or so, B did choke a bit, I think because she was just so hungry and was overly ambitious. Like the book says, children have a very strong gag reflex and usually she would gag and spit the food out herself. It still made my new mom heart skip a beat. The few times when she did choke it was some of the scariest moments in my life and I put my Child/ Infant CPR training from my days as a sailing instructor to use. Thankfully, I only ever had to clear the object out of the back of her throat. If you don’t have time to do a CPR course, make sure to look up guidelines. It is just good stuff to know for your littles.
We chose to combine our practice of BLW with what we had learned from Nina Planck’s Real Food for Baby and Mother, which I read when I first became pregnant, and immediately after reading her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, which embodies a lot of our food philosophy. Real Food for Mother and Baby resonated with us and jived more with our food choices (organic, mostly grain free, and more traditional “real” foods, and lots of good fats). So B’s first food was egg scrambled in grass-fed summer butter (we chose to softly scramble it because raw eggs still make me a bit nervous), which B fed herself. She loved experimenting with the textures and had a great old time getting it everywhere and sometimes into her mouth. Seven months later, we still generally feed her the same stuff that we eat; but, now she eats grains (it is recommended that they wait until they get their molars, but we just waited until about 11 months of age and still eat it minimally. Because she didn’t get her first tooth until she was 1!) We still give B lots of good traditional fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and a good dose of olive oil on all of her vegetables, like the book recommends. And she eats a lot of meat but in small pieces.
The last book I read, which I found very helpful, and I think it cemented my attitude towards B’s diet (just what we eat) was French Kids Eat Everything. It is in a similar vein as Bringing Up Bebe, which I also liked a lot; but, is more about parenting philosophy. French Kids Eat Everything was very helpful in giving me confidence that B’s taste buds would benefit from me exposing her to everything. It also gave me the conviction that it is important for B to have a complete food education, and that she would learn to like flavors. Some people say that you have to expose a kid to a taste 20 times before they dislike it!What books did you read that helped you decide what your kids eat? I am probably on the over-researched side of the bell curve; but, I actually like reading about different theories and find that it helps me make educated decisions about what works for us.
UPDATE: Just previous to my posting this article, Joanna Goddard, one of my favorite bloggers wrote a little about her experience both with BLW and Real Food be sure to check it out! She explains that it was very liberating experience to give your baby real food, which I completely agree with!