Tuesday Tips: About Baby Food

Do you want to know about baby food and feeding made easy without using commercial baby “junk food”?  Today’s tips are for you!

I made purees for the boys.  While it was great to have them to mix-in to other foods and sneak veggies in everywhere, it was time consuming.  It took two days dedicated in the kitchen to make 30 days worth of purees.  With Otter being our fourth Sweet Pea, and two kiddos to homeschool, plus all the activities our three older kiddos needed to be ferried to and from, I was ready to try a feeding theory that was going to save me time.

Both Cassandra and I ascribe to the concept of Baby-Led Weaning.  It is not, as it sounds to our ears here in the USA, a method by which a baby stops breastfeeding and goes straight to solids.  It is a theory of feeding that proposes to skip purees and start with foods when a baby is ready, typically between six to nine months of age.

One of the reasons why our family decided to go the Baby-Led Weaning route:

“Feeding practices such as introducing lumpy foods before ten months of age and consuming family meals have been shown to lead to healthier eating patterns through childhood.”

The other reason is that it is actually insanely easy…you feed them what you are eating, with the exception that anything you serve to them is cut up into pea-sized pieces as they learn to feed themselves.  You still take the usual precaution of introducing one food at a time, so that you can identify any potential allergies.  We would also space 2-3 days between food introductions.

How do you know your baby is ready for Baby-Led Weaning?  A baby demonstrates they are ready for solids when:

  • They can sit independently – that means no props, folks.  Your baby can get from a prone position to a sitting position all by themselves, without the support of a chair or pillow to keep them in a seated position.
  • They have lost the tongue-thrust reflex, which means that they don’t try to suck at anything and everything you put in their mouth by reaching forward with their tongue first.
  • They have developed their “pincer-grip”, which is the ability to use typically their thumb and forefinger to grasp at objects (anyone else have a Sweet Pea that practiced on your arm while they were nursing – that was one of the clues for me!)

It does require some thought and planning.  You want to take into consideration any food allergies that run in your family, and possibly delay the introduction of those foods into your child’s first or second year.  You may want to look at food introduction schedules to make sure that your baby is going to be open to trying lots of different foods, not just stick to the sweet tastes.  Click on the links for a couple to check out from La Leche League and Dr. Sears.

The other tip I like to share was shared with us when Night Owl was a baby.  After his RSV scare, we saw a lot more of his specialty pediatrician, and this is what they told us: introduce new foods in the morning.  Why would that make sense?  In the event that your Sweet Pea has an adverse reaction to any food you introduce, care facilities typically have their “A-team” on staff during the day.

Most of all, have fun with it.  Remember that in most cases, your breastmilk is providing complete nutrition for your Sweet Pea up through their first birthday.  One of our students has a great little saying that I love to share: “Food before one is just for fun!”

If they play with their food, let them! They are exploring the smell, the texture, and the taste.  Some of it is making it into their mouth…and for whatever doesn’t, your breastmilk is still there providing complete nutrition.  Neat fact: your breastmilk changes flavor according the the food you eat, so they have already been exposed to all the flavors you will probably be offering them.

If your Sweet Pea sees that you have good eating habits, they will mimic you.  Before you know it, you will have a well-fed toddler that eats just about anything and everything that (s)he is offered.

I still have to migrate our Baby-Led Weaning posts over from our Sweet Pea Births site – it’s an 8-week chronicle of Otter’s foray into food.  Check it out HERE.  Want to see what the results of this type of feeding?  Cassandra has done some awesome posts on feeding her toddler.  Check them out HERE and HERE.

My favorite resources: Introducing Solids
Baby Led Weaning
La Leche League
Dr. Sears

The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Cassandra Okamoto, Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.