19 June 2012

Adventures in Eating

A eating potato wedges (7 months)
We've been practising BLW (Baby Led Weaning, or more accurately - Baby Led Solids) with A from around 6 months. The basic premise is that your baby will show you when he or she is ready for solids by: 
a) being able to sit unsupported 
b) being able to pick food up and bring it to his/her mouth 

The understanding is also that your baby should be about 6 months old, since that corresponds to the WHO's recommendation on when to introduce solids to baby's diet. 

The thinking is that when baby is outwardly ready to eat (ie, can sit and bring food to their mouth), they are also ready on the inside (ie their digestive system). Many people are concerned that the baby will starve if you don't feed him/her pureed food after (at the very latest) six months of age, but this is simply not true. Before the age of one, breastmilk provides all the nutrients that your growing baby will need. 


A eating soup with toast fingers (6 months)
And this is the beauty of BLW - baby gets to experiment and 'play' with food at an age where they don't really need food yet for nutrition, so it's fine if they mess and it's fine if they just play and don't get much (or anything at all!) in for the first few months. It's perfectly fine. By the time they start to understand that food can actually fill their tummies (which is thought to be around 9 - 10 months), they are already quite good at getting food into their mouths, chewing and swallowing. Another big bonus of course is that you don't have to prepare separate food for your baby. Baby can eat the same food as the rest of the family (for the most part), making it easy to include them at mealtimes. 

I LOVE having A join us for supper each night and find it fascinating to see how she's figured out so much already about eating in the last month and a half. She can pick food up with ease, she has figured out how to chew (or gum) and swallow, she knows that she can suck on certain things to release their juices/flavour (ie meat), and she has figured out that if she is chewing something, she can hold her other hand in front of her mouth to prevent the food from falling out of her mouth - she hasn't yet mastered the art of chewing with her mouth closed. She also knows that if I hand her fingers of toast with a topping/spread on, she can suck the topping off. The same goes for soups. And she is even figuring out how a spoon works - she can guide the spoon into her mouth correctly about 70% of the time. She still needs to figure out that she needs to keep the spoon upright so that the food doesn't tip out though, but she'll get there! 
A eating steak (7 months)
It is so much fun to watch her and the amazing part is that she's figuring these things out all by herself, just by being included in family mealtimes and watching how we (her dad & I) handle the food on our plates. I love that mealtimes are stress-free - as they should be. I wouldn't like it if someone forced spoonfuls of food down my throat and I'm sure A wouldn't enjoy it either.  

And boy does she love to eat. She's really been getting into foods for the last 2 - 3 weeks or so. Her favourites include sweet potato, guavas, chicken (or any meat really), potatoes and egg mayo on toast. We give her a wide variety of foods though, she's had everything from prawns to roasted lamb, Thai butternut soup, vegetarian sushi (she wasn't a fan!), steak, potato wedges, mushrooms, celery, quince and risotto, to name just a few. Can't wait to see what she figures out next!

Useful resources: 

2 comments:

  1. So cute! JP loves eating solids too and we have started giving him things in his hand to put in his mouth himself. He also figured out how to dislodge food that doesn't go down right on his own so he doesn't choke.

    Have you tried giving her yoghurt? JP LOOOOVES yoghurt and cheese.

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  2. @Hila Yes, we've done yoghurt a couple of times - it is superduper messy though as we don't spoonfeed her, but allow her to feed herself. She loves it though! Haha. And she enjoys nibbling on cheese too.

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