Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby Led Solids

When Kaya was a baby, the advice was to start solids at 4 months old. I think we waited a week or so after she turned 4 months, and by then everyone around me seemed to think she was going to starve to death. So I started her on baby rice. Yuck. Have you ever tasted that stuff? It's disgusting, processed, tastes horrible, runny, much less healthy than breastmilk, and babies usually don't even know what to do with it.

She ate it, but it took a long time to get it in her, and she cried a bit. It would have been much faster to just pick her up and put her to the breast. In fact, that's what some of the advice at the time said; if baby gets frustrated, take a half time break and breastfeed them, then give them some more when they feel calm and their tummies are filled.

It all went completely against my natural instincts. She did ok with it, and we eventually got her onto fruits and veg. I must admit, I really enjoyed using my Annabel Karmel books to make up my own healthy baby purees, and I felt like mum of the year. But looking back, I realize now there's a much better way to go about it.

It seems God figured out the baby weaning process far before we ever did. He's built it into us to know how, what and when to eat if we are left to do it in our own time. Baby led solids is all about letting your baby eat when they want to, skipping on the frustrations of spoon feeding purees and letting them skip to finger foods and self feeding. Contrary to what you might think, it's actually been shown to reduce risk of choking.

Gill Rapley from UNICEF conducted research, backed by the World Health Organization, which concluded that the baby puree stage is unnecessary. Previous research had found that introducing solids before 6 months could be harmful to baby's health, and after 6 months there is no need for pureed food. The benefits of child led solids include better chewing skills, reduced risk of choking and improved motor skills and hand eye co-ordination.

Read a news article,
a blog post,
another article or listen to a discussion for more fascinating information on the topic.

Glenn is 6 months now, and right on queue, he decided it was time to start solid foods. We were eating lunch, and he started fussing, so Daddy picked him up and sat him on his lap while he ate. For the past few weeks Turtle has been watching us eat, while he drools and pretends to chew. He's been building up to this for a while. And Saturday was the big day. As Daddy was eating a banana, Turtle yanked it out of his hands and started chomping down. He knew exactly what to do, like a pro.

Of course I ran for the camera.

So we've started letting him sit in the high chair at meal times, and giving him some finger foods to play with.

This morning was the first try with a spoon. It's all just experimental right now, figuring out textures and playing around. I may have scarred Lana for life when she walked in on me squirting breast milk into a bowl of porridge for her baby brother this morning. But it made the porridge nice and creamy, and Turtle didn't seem to mind.

He didn't quite know what to do with it at first..

But he figured it out eventually...

What a big boy. Where is the time going?


Snobound said...

Well, he is a Docherty - its not like eating is going to ever be a problem for him. Great photos - can't believe how big he's gotten.

Morgan said...

How fun! Thanks for great links about feeding too... I'm off to check them out. I've always waited until 6 months and with Aggie we skipped rice and oatmeal and went straight to veggies and fruits. So I'll have to brush up on my research for the twins as Abby Lu is watching us eat now and moving her mouth and drooling. :) How adorable he grabbed his daddy's banana!

Rene said...

Im so proud of my boy!

Close To Home said...

i really appreciated this post- this allll sounds great to me. new things to ponder. we have our 3rd child, he is 4 months old. i am nursing, and we plan on keeping it that way for over a year, and we also do not want any other food for him for a couple more months. thanks for the info and links!