Most people are familiar with the image of parents trying to coax their children to open their mouths and eat a spoonful of mush. Baby led weaning or self feeding is skipping the puree stage and going straight to finger foods. Babies work on their hand-eye coordination, explore the different textures of foods and choose for themselves how much they want to eat.
Would you try baby led weaning, or do you prefer to stick to more traditional methods of feeding?
We had been giving my first child solids for a couple of months before I first heard about baby led weaning and switched over to it. I found it saved me heaps of time because I no longer had to make food just for our daughter. She just ate bits and pieces of what we were having. With my second child we skipped purees and rice cereal completely. They have gagged on bits of food once or twice, but gagging is not choking. They were able to cough them back up very easily and learned not to put too much in their mouths at once.
It is very messy. It helps if you have a dog to eat the bits that they drop. My parents' dog is very fond of my kids when they visit because she knows if she hangs around sooner or later they will drop something edible.
We tried it with our first son and ended up doing a half and half approach which worked well. Initially I was concerned with choking risks but this never happened; he seemed to just have an innate ability to not bite off more than he could chew (literally). We're planning on doing it again with our second son. I love that the baby can pretty much eat what you're eating and can select the foods they want to eat. The downside is that it is soooooo messy and meal times can take forever whilst they select and chomp on their food of choice. This is why the half and half method worked for us as I didn't always have the time to allow over an hour for lunch.
Oh, you lucky young parents! If only I could retrieve the time spent with the mouli grinder. I donated my Mothercraft (a compulsory subject for Grade Nine girls) project book to the State education history library. It's worth a few laughs today. Any of you still giving your babies a bottleof water containing a spoonful of Vegemite? Had to replace salt lost in our sub-tropical climate, you know. I don't remember too many babies navvying in those days.
Babies tend to taste as part of the brain development. I introduced food to my oldest child early because I realized she was just not getting enough being fed every 1 hours. And by then, she was on formula. After that, I would allow her to try different fruits and veggies but only after I had sterilized the "hell" out of them! LOL.
I think it's best to feed a baby bits of what you are having yourself. We used to wash the potatoes to remove spices and mash it with a fork, mix it with cheese and made bites of it. Same with rice or chicken roast.
They do gag sometimes, but they're actually probably less likely to choke than when being spoon fed, because the food on the spoon gets stuck further back in their mouths not giving them a chance to deal with it properly and learn to regulate how much they have in their mouths at once. And mess is a given with babies. Don't own anything you can't machine wash.