I really didn’t feel drawn to giving Joshi something like rice porridge on a spoon as a way of introducing him to solids, so I was pleased as when I came across the idea of baby-led weaning (BLW). Rather than mashing, processing or pureing foods and feeding them to your baby on a spoon, BLW is more about putting food (often in a wedge-like shape) in front of them. Then they can decide whether they’d like to pick up and chew on it. It’s usually done once your baby can sit unsupported and put food into his/her own mouth. I also heard that a baby’s digestive system changes as soon as they get that first tooth, so we decided to wait until Joshi was able to sit on his own with both hands free and have at least one tooth before putting solids in front of him.
Funny enough he started crawling as soon as he turned 5 months old, 4 weeks before he could bring himself up to a both-hand-free sitting position. And then it happened – on the day Joshi turned 6 months he came up into sitting position, lifted both his hands up and gave us a huge smile. Wow. It was so exciting. I just love watching him move through each milestone. It’s a real privilege, witnessing each step.
So we did it … when Joshi was exactly 6 months and one week old we went out and bought him a high chair. That afternoon we put him in it and placed a long wedge of avocado on the tray in front of him while we sat with him and ate avo on toast. As with almost anything he sees, he picked up the avocado and put it in his mouth. Wow. His very first taste of food after 6 months and one week of boobie milk! It was so much fun watching him experimenting with that avo and being able eat together as a family. But boy was it messy! OMG. BLW really gives the word ‘messy’ a completely new dimension. Joshi smeared that avo all over the tray, put it back in his mouth, over the tray again, into and around his mouth. By the end of lunch time not a single inch of that tray was left un-avo-fied.
He’s still breastfeeding as much as he was before of course. I love the no pressure vibe of this approach – it’s really about letting him have fun playing with and exploring food rather than trying to meet his nutritional needs … and it’s great not to have to think about what to make for him – he usually just gets something from what we’re eating (unless it contains sugar or white flour, which I’m keen to avoid giving him at this stage). Too easy.
Since then, in the two weeks, Joshi’s enjoyed experimenting with sweet potato, potato, homemade humus, raw apple, rock melon, steamed apple and cinnamon, fresh coconut flesh, banana smoothy with rice milk and mesquite powder (my latest favourite addition to smoothies) with a few pecans and hemp seeds thrown in, green beans, rocket, brocolli, kitchery, mango, pear, pumpkin … oh, and coconut lentil vege curry (very mild). The idea behind BLW is that for the first year of their life food is for fun! While it’s obviously fun for Joshi, I think it’s a whole lot more fun for me … all those really special, super messy, unforgettable iPhone-camera moments. Gotta love them.
Any experienced mammas out there got any good BLW tips to share with this new one?