Baby's first taste of banana! About two months ago people started asking me if/when Chico was going to start eating solids. I asked my mom when I started eating solids and she shared that I was around 4 months old when she began grinding up her own homemade baby food for me. Friends and websites seemed to all say 4-6 months, but I continued searching for more information because the idea of giving Chico solids before he was able to sit up on his own seemed like an accident waiting to happen.
In my searching for information for all things solid I came across the practice of "Baby-led Weaning," (BLW). Not to be confused with "weaning" your baby from milk - BLW is the method of starting your baby directly onto actual solid foods and skipping purees.
To be honest my first reaction to BLW was disbelief. It sounded incredibly insane and dangerous to me - Wouldn't he choke? He has no teeth - how is he supposed to chew anything? But the student in me wanted to learn more about it so I ordered a used copy of the book on Amazon.
Meanwhile I spoke to our pediatrician who confirmed that there is no nutritional benefit to eating solids until a baby is 9 months to 1 year. This allowed me to relax and have some breathing room to be able to take the time to decide what we would do with Chico.He loved it!
Since he recently turned 6 months and is sitting up a little better I knew we should start introducing solids soon. Since he has been struggling with teething recently I decided to bake some homemade teething biscuits. I figured I'd see how his aim was or if he would be interested in it at all. At first all he did was bang the biscuit on the table. I put the cookie to his gums and once he got a taste of it - it was on! He gummed the crap out of that teething biscuit. Not only did it seem to soothe his gums, but he seemed very pleased with the fact that he was chewing like I was! You see, the book recommends that one person always have a meal or at least snack on something simultaneously so that you can model chewing for them.
The hardest thing about BLW is that you aren't supposed to sit there staring at them while oooh-ing and ahhh-ing. It breaks their concentration and ruins the experience. Super hard NOT to do this because it's amazing watching a 6 month old eat solids!! Watch me break this rule below in this video.
Clearly I hadn't read that chapter yet. There I go breaking the first role of BLW - back off Mama...give the kid some space! Oops! :)
The day after teething biscuits were a hit I decided to throw a banana in the mix. it was so cool to watch him grip the banana in one hand and with the other hand guide it towards his mouth. He didn't give up even though it was slimy and kept falling out of his hand. His determination was amazing! He didn't get frustrated or fuss - he was dead quiet and seemed to love the challenge of it!
So the following day I gave him a piece of garlic bread and he gummed and sucked on that for at least 30 min. That day he tried his first piece of organic free range chicken! He also gummed on a yellow bell pepper. Nothing was rejected. He explored, played, tasted and grabbed it all.
I am considering creating my own method that is mainly BLW but also includes some homemade purees. My grandmother gave us a Baby Bullet at at our shower and I have really been looking forward to making some yummy, organic purees. I also saw this Infantino product called "The Squeeze Station," that helps you put your homemade purees into re-usable self-serve pouches! I think it'd be really good to have these on-hand for car trips, snacking, when someone else watches him, etc.
It's an exciting, messy time in our house! Watching Chico enjoy all of these firsts is a lot of fun. Different "methods" and products aside, what I really want for my son is to enjoy a healthy, well-rounded diet and to grow up to have a good attitude about food and mealtimes. I want him to eat when he's hungry and stop when he's full and BLW seems to be the key to this. BLW is also a great way for us to sit together as a family and enjoy eating at the same time instead of one of us having to scoop food into Chico's mouth before being able to eat ourselves.
I also see how quickly feeding himself is giving Chico pride and a feeling of independence. Who would have thought that a baby being able to bring food to their lips would be so meaningful? Certainly not I, but it is completely true.
Happy Eating Babies - however you do so!