“To feed or to let eat, that is the question.”
At some point and for many reasons, (I let you study the question because this post will already be long enough) your child must start to eat food. And then it gets scary. When shall we start?? What can he eat?? Can he eat solid food or only purée?? Can he eat meat?? What should I prepare?? Do I have to wait 8 or 9 months to introduce tomatoes?? Should I start with potatoes or carrots?? Do I have to wait 1 year before to introduce eggs?? How long will I last before to get crazy????
Depending on your country, on your pediatrician, the answers to these questions are all different. Seriously. So I suspected something was wrong and I started to study the question. Then I heard about baby-led weaning. And everything made MUCH MORE sense. Before to explain my point of view I want to insist on the fact that it is exactly that: a point of view, mine.
- In English: baby-led weaning
- In Italian: autosvezzamento
- In French: diversification menée par l’enfant (DME)
The best thing about baby-led weaning is: no stress.
His main “food” will remain milk (yours or artificial) until 1 year, so you don’t have to stress him or yourself to eat a whole meal immediately.
Baby eats everything that YOU eat.
…unless you eat hambuger and fries every day. Yes, if you think you eat healthy enough, then he can eat what you eat.
You don’t FEED him, he eats alone.
Yes. You won’t spend hours and hours trying to get the spoon in his mouth. You place the food on his tray and he gets to discover it. Baby is curious. Looking, touching, tasting. And again. You don’t force him. It might take time but patience is only what you need.
What are the risk for baby to choke?
Oh my god, from only milk to food pieces?! How do I know he won’t choke?? That was my big fear too. Like I have been said, they are babies, not dummies. If something goes in the wrong hole, they cough, they vomit. In conclusion, they find a solution. Plus you always watch baby while he’s eating, you taste consistency to be sure it’s not too hard. For example you don’t give him raw apple wedges or raw carrot sticks. You boil, you steam, you roast, you make his food easy to grasp and to eat/suck on.
My Lobster vomited the 2 first times that food pieces went down, probably because he had too much (he was always asking for more and I was too excited!). Therefore we tried again but less, and it stayed down. He also coughs now and then if a big chunk is in the way (like when we tried mozzarella which was a really bad idea!) or if I can I take it out myself of his mouth. In the end, I’m glad I trusted him because he’s improving very quickly.
What about salt? Allergies?
First of all, you’re not supposed to eat too salty. Well for baby, you try to season your food after, but just because he will taste a (tiny bit of a) pasta, like fusili, it doesn’t mean you can’t put salt while cooking it. Just try to limitate salt, for his good and yours.
Everyone has a say about WHEN to introduce a type of food, but since everyone (which means also every pediatrician of the same city!) has a different opinion… I personally prefer to believe the studies that says that introducing as soon as possible every type of food, especially the allergenic ones, reduce the risk of future allergies. Like a vaccine that puts mini amounts of disease in your body to become immune.
So baby can REALLY eat everything?
Everything healthy yes, which is already a big limitation. You don’t give baby fried, salty, sweet or chemical stuff. For the rest you are the judge. It won’t be perfect but you will do your best.
When to start?
It should be about 6 months but some babies are ready before and others later.
To know if your baby is ready there is a test called the banana test… tadaaaam! (Don’t worry it does not imply torture)
- baby should stay sit on his own
- you present him a (piece of) banana
- he should be able to grab the banana
- bring it to his mouth alone
- and taste it.
So. Concretely. How do I start?
This is the tricky part. There are no rules. So it is a good thing AND a bad thing because you don’t have to follow them but you cannot follow them either.
Keep on following me and I will tell how it is going so far for us in my next parenting quote! ;)