Baby-Led Weaning Has Begun

It’s been two weeks now, of Fae grabbing fist-sized chunks of food to try. She slowly brings a piece to her mouth, tastes-sucks-gnaws it, makes an adorable face, and then drops it–most of what she’s had has been somewhat slippery. She’s tasted avocados, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and a piece of baguette. I heard a little saying about baby-led weaning–“food before one is just for fun,” and that’s exactly what she’s been doing, having fun.

I’ve known for a while that when introducing Fae to solids I, obviously, wanted to do it as naturally as I could. That seems to be my going theme when it comes to raising my baby. I like to imagine what I’d do if we three were living in a little village, right off the train tracks and fading into surrounding hills, with gardens and sheep, in a small cottage where we have only the basics of life. We’d be following William Morris’s view, to “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” When I picture my life this way it’s easy to realize my most natural, instinctual way of doing something. I don’t see myself trying to get Fae to swallow spoonfuls of mush. What’s the rush–she’s a healthy breastfed baby that gets all of her nutrition from my milk, and will be continuing to do so until she naturally begins to eat more and nurse less. A slow process. I prefer to let the chewing and swallowing happen as it happens.

Baby-led weaning (when you allow your baby to begin solids when they’re ready, skipping the spoon-feeding and food processing and instead letting them grab appropriate pieces of food from your plate, or what’s placed in front of them) seemed like the best fit for our family. Knowing that I’m planning to allow my child to wean herself from my breasts when she’s ready, I also wanted to allow her to begin eating foods on her own time. This way of introducing foods has been working out great for us. Fae is in control of what goes into her mouth. She tastes and experiences the food, plays with it, and is just now beginning to occasionally swallow (in baby-led weaning babies learn to chew before they swallow, a great habit to instill from the very beginning I believe). She’s learning about the textures and flavors of food and the differences between it and everything else that she puts in her mouth.

I’m so proud of Fae, and she’s proud of herself. My husband and I are completely amazed as we watch her learn how to eat. The best moments are when she gets a good grip on something, sucks on it for a bit, gnaws off a chunk, and gives us a huge smile–just as the food slides out. It’s been a little adventure for her, and for us too.

Here are a couple of resources about Baby-Led Weaning:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby-led_weaning

http://www.babyledweaning.com/

Fae is kicking her feet on our table bench, she’s ready for me to be done, and to post this post.

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8 responses to “Baby-Led Weaning Has Begun

  1. Great post! Thanks for the links. My baby is not quite 3 weeks old yet, but Baby Led Weaning is something we’ve been interested in. We just need to learn more about it. However, what we’ve heard of it makes so much sense and seems so much more natural! From what I’ve read, mushy baby food was invented in the 1930’s by Gerber. So obviously plenty of babies survived without the mush!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Baby-Led Weaning has been a lot of fun for us, and watching her little facial expressions–when she gets proud of herself–is so rewarding.

  2. Thanks for this post! I have been considering eventually doing this with Jehryn, who is only 3 months now. People have already been asking if I’ll make my own “baby food.” I share the same conviction about breastfeeding, and allowing my baby to wean when he’s ready—whether that means a year or 3 years. It seems to me that pushing “baby food” mush results from a focus on early weaning.

    • Yeah, I agree. Letting Fae feed herself has been going so great. She’s 7 1/2 months now and nurses just as much as before, but now she’s eating a little food at dinner too. It’s just so amazing to watch little babies feed themselves. They really know exactally what to do.

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