As Valerie's six-month birthday approached, I did a lot of reading on the subject of introducing solid foods. It was rather an overwhelming undertaking. There are about as many different approaches to feeding as there are different babies. Oddly enough, the more I read, the less overwhelmed I became. It all seemed to blur together into one great, big, educated guess. There are advantages to every theory, but in the end, it all seems to pretty much work. Once the pressure of finding the "perfect" method was off, I relaxed, and stumbled upon a theory that just "clicked".
I always hesitate to discuss my parenting choices on my blog, because the Internet is full of people who don't know how to disagree peacefully. So, before I tell you which feeding method we have chosen and why, I want to let you know that I don't think the method you have chosen is wrong, I don't think you are messing your kids up for life, and I don't think you are a bad parent for choosing to feed your child according to conventional guidelines. Really.
Okay, so here it is: We let Valerie eat real food. We let her feed it to herself. We avoid major allergens and choking hazards and chemical-laden processed foods, but otherwise, we just let her eat normal food, cooked to gummable softness and cut into spears for easy handling. The method is called Baby-Led Weaning, but I like to think of it as "What our great-great-grandmothers did before there were handheld food mills or Gerber". There are a lot of developmental and nutritional advantages to this method, and if you're interested, you can read up on it here or here or here. I'm not here to convince anyone, though. This was all just an elaborate preamble to an adorable video of Valerie eating broccoli.