|Thatbaby used to pull the cheese off his pizza, now I order him his own slice and he eats it like...pizza!|
|Broccoli is still one of his favorites|
Yesterday Thatmom came down for a visit and we went to the Farmer's Market and to lunch. She brought up the topic of Thatbaby's eating and said she thinks that the way we introduced solids was so smart, convenient and the best way to do it. A health care professional, she had never heard of Babyled Weaning when we started. She was a little skeptical about it. But now, after watching it in action, she is completely won over.
|He likes green beans - even though they tickle his throat|
We've really had a great experience with BLW. Thatbaby just loves to eat. There is very little he dislikes, although he certainly goes through phases where he prefers one food to another. Right now he is a watermelon fiend.
|Thatbaby has yet to meet a meat he doesn't like|
Eating with him is just so easy. I've heard complaints about how difficult it is to find time to introduce solids - "Who has time to feed their kid 3 meals a day? We can barely fit in one solid feeding!" With BLW, we don't have to feed him, he feeds himself. Which means he can join us in every meal without us having to do any work. It makes sense from a busy parent standpoint. And there's no extra time in making his food, I just make sure I make our meal large enough to feed 2.5
|Corn on the cob tastes delicious, but is hard to eat.|
There's also the benefits of cost (none) and caregiver ease. I don't have to leave instructions or special food out for Thatmom when she sits. She can just raid the fridge. And his daycare providers love how great he is with food. His love of eating makes him a very easy baby. And although they also were unfamiliar with BLW when we first started, they quickly fell in love and want me to speak to other parents who are reluctant to move on from purees.
|With foods like yogurt, I put it on the spoon and hand it to him. He loves yogurt.|
In terms of introductions of foods, the benefit of waiting to introduce solids at 6 months is that you don't have to worry about introducing one food at a time. The AAP has determined that the risk of allergic reactions is drastically reduced by waiting till 6 months when the digestive system is more mature. Their new advice? Just go for it - unless of course you have some sort of family history. Which means, we didn't have to do one food at a time - Thatbaby started out with full meals! And we didn't have to worry about strawberries or shellfish. Thatbaby had shrimp during his very first week of eating - and loved it. He adores strawberries and eggs - both of which we were able to introduce early on. The only 2 things we've held off on are nuts and honey - and honey is because of the botulism risk - not for allergic reasons. Basically what he's been introduced to has really been dependent on whatever Thatboy and I are eating. Tonight he's having fried chicken and cornbread.
|Thatbaby loves tomatoes - like his mama!|
Cooking for Thatbaby has meant we've had to make minor modifications -
1) Salt: Babies really need to watch their sodium intake - even more than you or I. So everything Thatbaby eats is as sodium-free as I can make it. I stopped using salt when cooking meals we'll share and Thatboy and I add it to our own portions. If he wants a snack because Thatboy and I are snacking he gets Trader Joe's Freeze-dried fruits, which have nothing in them but fruit. No extra salt or sugar. (I keep an eye on his sugar intake too - but that doesn't really involve our cooking that much. It does mean he doesn't really eat any processed foods.)
2) Honey: As I mentioned, honey is a no-no for little ones under 1. So while Thatboy and I use it for our tea, or a meal Thatbaby won't eat because of the spice factor, anything he eats we use molasses instead.
3) Spices: Thatbaby is very intolerant of things that are spicy hot. So if we're having something that uses a lot of tabasco, sriracha, chili peppers, etc. I make his portion before adding the spice in. Conversely, since we don't use salt while cooking, I tend to throw in a lot of other spices like garlic, cinnamon, cumin, and basil. So the food is still flavorful for him.
4) Presentation: Beginning BLW the rule of thumb is to give all the food in a french-fry shape - long enough to stick out of their fist. Because the pincer grasp isn't developed yet, they grab at the food. In order to get it in their mouth, it needs to be larger than their grab. And the french fry shape is perfect for holding and eating. As their motor skills develop, this becomes less of an issue. Small slippery things like grape halves Thatbaby has figured out that if he squeezes his fist with the right pressure will pop up to the top of his fist and he can eat it from there. Pizza and tacos used to get dissected and then eaten, but now he has figured out how to lift the whole thing to his mouth and eat just like you and I. He used to dump everything out of bowls, but now he eats right out of them. It's been kind of fun to watch this progression.
|Sometimes BLW requires a little bit of brainstorming|
BLW is very much a "learn as you go" experience. It definitely requires patience and a certain amount of "let it go" attitude when food gets tossed to the floor. I was very quick to tell his daycare that it didn't matter how much food he ate - and they've noticed that he eats much more now than the earlier days. You find what shapes work best (like the corn pictures - Thatbaby couldn't handle the whole cob and got frustrated, so you'll see in the picture above we cut it down to something more manageable). But in general, I highly recommend this method of solid introduction.