For those of you that don’t know – I am a HUGE advocate of breastfeeding and ‘natural’ weaning – which has lead me to being a HUGE advocate for Baby-led Weaning. Goose breastfeed until he was 3 and 1/2 years old and I was 3 months pregnant with baby Pickle. He was born in Spain and, though at times I really wish I had my family/friends around me, being a new mother I had the wonderful luxury to research different weaning approaches without any advice. It was through this research that I stumbled upon such concepts as elimination communication (early toilet ‘training’) and baby-led weaning.
At this time I didn’t have access to the wonderful book – which I have now read and HIGHLY recommend – Baby-led Weaning – by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, but I did have access to online parenting forums. These forums offered fantastic personal support and advice, even when baby Goose didn’t quite fit exactly into the precise guidelines for weaning, i.e. wanting to eat earlier.
Quoting from the back of the book – ‘Baby-led Weaning explodes the myth that babies need to be spoon-fed and shows why self-feeding from the start of the weaning process is the healthiest way for your child to develop.’
Basically, baby-led weaning involves offering your 6 month old baby a variety of different finger foods – either raw or cooked (usually I roast or steam) – eating what the family is eating (with-in reason) and together.
The emphasis, especially in the beginning, is not on eating but on exploration of taste, smell, texture and baby’s own co-ordination abilities as well as choice in food. When you eliminate the stress of quantity, meal times are a lot of fun! It is an amazing, if messy, thing to watch your child explore good food. Baby’s want to be independent, they want to be able to do things on their own and make their own choices. It is natural to allow them to do this with food as well.
Goose took to baby-led weaning with such enthusiasm. There were never any forced meals, demands to finish his plate or eat what he did not want. Perhaps this is why he loves food, as mentioned in my previous posts – Our Foodie Family: Part One and Our Foodie Family – Part 2 . He is not a picky eater, though he has his preferences, and will happily eat almost everything. As an added bonus, Goose also prefers drinking plain water or milk and detests fizzy drinks (something our dentist is so proud of).
Hopefully, with Pickle, we can continue our foodie family tradition of exploring different cultures through food. It is a journey we are all enjoying immensely. Pickle has already enjoyed a HUGE assortment of fruits and vegetables, Indian curries and Mexican chicken. Obviously we have lowered the heat and salt content in our cooking for her, but she really does prefer flavor and seems to detest anything bland. For now we will just continue on our new foodie journey, enjoying her excitement as she tries new foods for herself. YUM!