Pickles. Yum. I love pickles…the husband loves pickles…and we recently discovered that Monkey loves pickles! Being the crunchy/natural/cloth diapering/attachment parenting/etc etc etc momma that I am, it pretty much seems natural that I would be interested in the concept of baby led weaning. Have you heard of it? Well, it’s the practice of pretty much skipping over purees and moving to solids right away. The thought behind it is that baby’s really don’t need purees. The first year, babies still get their nutrition from breastmilk, so exploring solids is really just that…exploration. They don’t actually need them for nutrition, so instead of force feeding purees, why not just slowly introduce solids so that baby can eat when they’re truly ready?
At first, I was hesitant so I thought we’d do a mixed approach. Offer some purees (mostly homemade) and some solids…see what Monkey likes. I’ll admit the thought of choking
had has me scared to death. I haven’t quite gotten over it yet, but I’m trying. Babies have a natural gag reflex that allows them to spit out larger pieces of food that they might not be able to swallow. I also bought the book Baby Led Weaning and after reading it, the concept just made sense. The book explains the safe way to introduce solids (cut things into the shape of french fries, etc), and It even explained what probably goes through a baby’s mind when they are force fed purees. I also learned that babies don’t really get any nutrients from things like rice cereal, and they especially don’t need anything in addition to breastmilk (or formula) before 6 months of age.
I didn’t completely buy into it at first and kept trying to spoon feed Monkey. But of course (just like the book said) he wanted nothing to do with it. And I mean nothing. We tried sweet potato, apples, prunes, carrots, bananas, and meat. Both homemade and store bought (you know, because when he didn’t like my home made sweet potato+breastmilk puree, I thought for sure the store bought must have some magical powers that would get him to eat it.) Until finally, I gave up.
Since then we’ve been safely skipping the purees and feeding solids – true solids. We’re going crazy slow as we’re mostly just letting Monkey explore the textures and flavors of food. We are also making sure not to introduce any dairy (I’m still dairy free!) or any of the other high allergen foods. He likes it so much better than those dang purees! He’s had asparagus, sweet potato fries, eggs, bananas, apples, peaches, avocado, ground beef, turkey, and the ultimate favorite…pickles. I’m pretty sure he’d eat pickles all day and all night if he could. We actually discovered them when we were out to lunch and the husband offered Monkey his dill pickle spear that came with his sandwich. We thought for sure he’d give a disgusted face and want nothing to do with it. The result was quite the opposite. Now, we regularly buy him organic dill pickle spears and he gets one every couple of days.
You may wonder if I’m worried that he’ll end up behind in eating because we’re not feeding him baby food at every meal. But, I’m not! Not in the slightest. I am confident that he’s getting all of the nutrition he needs from me (and a recently introduced homemade formula due to a dip in my supply… that will be getting it’s own post soon.)
Do you practice baby led weaning? What’s your experience with introducing solids? Did your baby take to purees right away? I can’t help but wonder if it’s common for babies to hate purees, but they just learn to tolerate them as parents keep offering them. Thoughts?
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