Monday, March 02, 2009

Baby-Led Weaning

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.


Jessie V. said...

Ah.. we're doing this research now :-)

I really do want to get to the point where I have the courage to write about my "hippish" parenting styles without offending my friends who parent very differently than I. I think it'd be a good thing to get my views out there to encourage someone else.

Maybe one of these days :-)

Anonymous said...

With Thomas (my first child) we did the whole pre-packaged "organic" baby food thing. With Anna we went with the same approach as you are taking. Good news, they are both healthy and happy. I'm glad you are doing what feels right for your child :)

Marianne said...

You go girl! Parenting is full of choices and really you just have to do your best. We chose baby-led weaning, too as I found it made so much sense. But that doesn't mean we didn't spoon feed her some things too just for variety. Mostly things adults also eat with a spoon, though.(Except sweet potato & turkey baby food which she LOVED and so I always kept a jar in the diaper bag in case we were out somewhere and didn't have anything else she liked/could eat.)

christianlady said...

That's right momma! You got it...feed her what you think is best. I have probably fed each of my children differently because it just works to do what works for the time.


Emily said...

I can't help but be in awe of a baby who instintively knows what and when to eat. Where can I get one of those? Adorable video, btw!

barefootkangaroo said...

I like it! Bowden would throw up every time he ate anything chunky- up until 18 months! We went a little crazy feeding him...and then we had Lucy, who HAD to feed herself...chicken, mostly.

(I discovered when I had the first baby that the parenting choices I made are the most judged out of all the decisions I have ever made. Holy mackerel.)
Sarah Tate, (signed in as Josh)