Feb 9, 2011

Baby-led Weaning (Janssen)

Merrick wrote a post a while ago about making your own baby food in order to keep the costs of feeding your baby lower.

My problem is that not only do I not like to spend money, I also can be kind of lazy. And Merrick had said the amount of mess that making your own baby food created was anything but minimal.

Enter Baby-led Weaning (I read this book about it after hearing about it from Kayla and Jenna).

The basic idea is that there is no reason that babies need to start with cereals or purees (the APA's site backs up this idea) and that your baby will be able to feed themselves things that they are capable of eating. There are supposed to be a ton of benefits, such as increased hand-eye coordination, family bonding over food, and a baby who develops a wider range of foods they'll eat.

That all sounded good to me, but really the part about just feeding your baby what you're eating rather than dealing with baby food sounded exceedingly appealing to me.

And for our baby, it's worked like a charm.

We have still not gotten around to buying a high chair, so we don't do much of the "sticking food on her tray and letting her eat what she can" part.

Instead, once she started showing interest in what we were eating, we put things on a spoon or our finger, offer her some and let her decide whether or not she wants to eat it (thus far, except for two days when she was sick, she has never rejected a single thing. In fact, I'm amazed I still have all ten fingers because this baby loves to eat).

This morning, she put about half a square of waffle in her fist and ate it bite by bite until there was only the part left inside her hand that she couldn't get to. She also has started grabbing the spoon and guiding it to her mouth on her own.

I don't spend time or money buying or making extra food, and I know exactly what's going into the food she eats.

(Also, you have no idea how cute it is to watch a six and a half month old chew a blueberry).


Nicole said...

I didn't read that book, but we basically did the same thing. Not only because baby food can be kind of expensive, but compared to what Nate and I were eating (we like to cook...and we're pretty good at it), pureed peas in a jar just seemed cruel. So far, so good!

Lisa said...

Since Miss L is my third I'm completely laid back on all this. I did start her on rice cereal but am not planning on buying much baby food at all. Once she's a little more adept with her tongue I plan to just use our stick blender to mash a tiny bit of whatever veg we're having and giving her that. I'm also going to keep a bit of already puree'd sweet potatoes on hand for meals that don't seem baby friendly. She's still nursing, so it's more for practice than for nutrition. Today I was planning to give her a bit of toast to hold, but forgot and accidently ate it all myself.

Lady Susan said...

Yes...this is me too. I mean, part of me is like, well, what have mothers been doing for generations? They aren't feeding them jarred food? And then part of me was lazy--I didn't want to have to make a whole bunch of stuff.

I also think that it is a good method to tell whether your baby is ready for solids. At six months, Finn was not ready. However, just in the past week (at 10+ months) he has taken off and now really loves to eat. No more gagging fests! He even chews! It is amazing. Some babies just aren't ready and I don't think we should be shoving food at them just because we can.

Chelsea said...

Just adding another "Amen," to everyone else. My 2nd child had ZERO interest in cereals, but wanted the things we were putting in our mouth. So we just moved straight to soft-cooked diced veggies (we didn't get around to starting solids til about 7 months, so he already had the coordination and pincer-grip to self-feed) and then on to our regular diet. Sometimes I would grind the food, but mostly he just liked to gum and chew things like the rest of us. Now he completely self-feeds with a spoon and fork at 16 months, and that started at 12 months or so...all by his own volition.

Kayla said...

I'm such a believer in Baby Led Weaning. It's just about the best thing ever, in my opinion. SO much easier than the jarred junk I fed to Stinky!

Freckles in April

Steph said...

I have never read the "official" book, but this it how we are with our kids, as well. When my oldest gave up on baby food at 6 months old, we were kind of "forced" into it, but we LOVE it! I love that they are eating whatever we are eating. I love that they get FLAVOR in their food! (What's wrong with a little garlic and rosemary? Nothing! In fact, they have health benefits) I love that we don't have to take food with us where ever we go with our babies, because I know I'll be able to find something at the meal to feed them. I love that when people ask what my kids will eat, I can say "Anything! No, seriously, they will eat whatever you are serving." It is a fabulous method and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

Missletoe said...

Skip the high chair, buy a booster. Babies like to eat at the table. ... same stuff you eat.. sometimes tossed into the blender.

Deidre said...

I too went this way--not because it was cheaper or benefited my baby--but because I was SICK OF FEEDING THE BABY MESSY BABY FOOD!!! My boys are 14 months apart and with the second one when I had to sit and stuff that gunk in almost killed me...I don't know why. Then I had the bright idea...why not just give him real peas? My life was simplified and the interesting thing is that he's a much better eater than my older baby food fed boy! GREAT IDEA!!!