The main difference between feeding my fourth child and the others is that I am skipping over the baby food stage. What I mean by that is the baby food jars, or the pureed food. I am simply giving my baby girl finger foods she can pick up and hold with her hands. I’m offering her foods that are soft enough to mush in her mouth and swallow, but not too soft to hold. It’s been only a few weeks of feeding her and it’s been amazing to watch how quickly she has developed the dexterity of her hands and fingers and also how quickly her mouth, tongue and jaw are getting the hang of it. She is also taking sips of water from a cup and from a water bottle with a straw. The goal is to give her a gentle transition of exploring foods’ textures, smells, and tastes, with her hands and mouth. When she’s ready she can swallow any amount of the foods. She often spits it out several times before she chooses to swallow some of any given food.
I’m mostly feeding her fruits and vegetables. Some of the foods I’ve given her so far are avocado, banana, yams, potatoes, carrots, and peaches. She also chews on cucumber slices and only swallows the soft part of them, but she really seems to enjoy them. She often sucks on the food, but is also biting down with her gums more frequently. I can see her tongue getting better at lateral and horizontal movements. She’s still nursing a lot and if she’s too hungry, feeding herself can frustrate her. But if she has already nursed then she loves exploring the food and I’m surprised by how much of it she actually eats. I have at times mushed up bananas and spoon fed her, like when I don’t feel like dealing with mess or when she seems like she’s still really hungry even though she has nursed. Additionally, my other kids really love to put the food in kher mouth. So I try to encourage them to leave her alone and let her eat the food at her own pace. But much of the time she seems not to mind being fed. She loves spoons too, so she’ll probably explore spoon feeding herself not too long from now. Right now I foresee that being too big of a mess for me to deal with. She already gets messy enough with this method of feeding.
One of the biggest aspects of this method of feeding is that it occupies her for long periods of time and it frees me up to prepare meals for my family as well as to sit down and eat meals with my family. And the baby has become part of those meal times and can sit with us and enjoy the same foods that we’re eating. If you’re embarking on feeing you baby for the first time, or even if you’ve already started feeding your baby mushed up food, I highly recommend this method of eating. I’ve head that it can help with picky eaters, as well as over eating. It takes the pressure off the mom and dad to finish the food in the jar, or to fill up the baby’s belly. It puts the emphasis on the exploration and experience of eating, rather than how much gets in there. It puts more of the control in the baby’s hands and makes eating more enjoyable for everyone.
If you’re interested in learning more about this method of baby feeding keep an eye out for my upcoming interview series. In it I interview an old friend, Daniella Silver, who is also a nutritionist and holistic health coach. It will be a package of interviews geared to new as well as seasoned mothers. It may be a perfect gift to buy for someone who is expecting her first baby. The series will also discuss childbirth and effective coping methods, as well as the latest, cutting edge information about breastfeeding. You can also find some great online support for baby-led weaning at http://www.babyledweaning.com or you can feel free to ask me specific questions about baby-let weaning by leaving a message below.
For now, wishing you joy in feeding your children.
Do you wish to use this article on your website, blog, or newsletter? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Rachel Sacks is the author of “My Baby Is Eating Solids”. You can download her special report on how to “Achieve a Strong Postpartum Core in Just 15 Minutes a Day” by going to www.newmotherwellness.com