Have you wondered how you are going to introduce solid foods to your baby?
Maybe you are nervous about where to start. What foods to start with. Or worried if they will even like it.
When Lilly was ready to start eating foods we started with whole, real foods in their nature state, also known as Baby-Led Weaning. We never introduced purees until after she was a year old. My life was made easy as I knew that anywhere we would go she could eat the food that was being served. We never salted our food while cooking but we still used different spices. Having Lilly try various foods allowed her to have such a great palette. She will eat a variety of foods, and of course, has her favourites.
It is important for babies to learn about different food textures and be able to learn to eat various textures. Here are some tips and reasons why we followed a baby led weaning approach with her foods.
- Encourages independence: You are allowing your baby to feed themselves. Does most of it end up on the floor? Absolutely! But you are also increasing their independence for them to feed themselves. It allows babies to be independent and learn.
- Allows a child to make their own choices: Baby gets the choice if they want to eat more chicken over green beans or maybe they only want the peas tonight. Babies get very little say in what is happening in the world around them and this is one way to let them have a little say in what they are eating.
- Difference between gagging and choking: A baby’s gag reflex is much closer up their tongue than ours is. When a baby is starting to learn to eat they will gag. I always used the 10 second rule when Lilly was eating. If she would gag I would encourage her to bring the food back up with words while counting down in my head to 1 from 10. Usually by the time I got to 5, she was back in control of the piece of food and was fine. There was never a situation where she was actually choking. You can tell when a baby is choking as there is no sound coming from their mouth or nose.
- They have control: Just like making choices, babies aren’t in control of most things in their life. When you allow them to have control they are able to make the decision as to when they are done eating. Allow them to have the control to know when they are done which will also help them as they get older to read the signs of their body.
- Fewer dishes: We only used a fork or a spoon. I never had bowls or plates to wash. Just her tray and her. It was a lot messier though!
- It’s easy: No making or buying special baby foods. No making different meals. One meal for the whole family. Serving it will look different. Foods will be cut into strips for picking up.
- Encourages family eating times: Eating together is important. It gives family time and allows parents to eat hot food together. Once Lilly was in her high chair eating during our meal time I felt like a new person. I could eat my meals at the same time and eat while food was still hot. This also allows you to keep an eye on the baby while they are eating, something that is most important.